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Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1)

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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  6,437 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
A deathbed promise to their father sends a daring girl and her brother off to war. Filled with intrigue, romance, and magic, this spellbinding novel is a dramatic coming-of-age story about a girl who rises from impoverished beginnings to take command of her own fate.

“Smith tells a fast-moving tale of adventure, intrigue, and honor, with Mel a likable heroine and a lively n
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Caralyn
Aug 22, 2011 Caralyn rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This book for me did have some good points, but the bad points far won out. I will start with what I like about this book: the courage of the main character is admirable, in the end I am even impressed by her realization of her ignorance, but that is where my like of this novel ends. The hero and heroine of the book are not fit to hold the name. The main character, beyond courage which might more aptly be described as willfulness, has no qualities to set her apart from any of the other character ...more
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
First posted over at my blog where you can find more book talks and general book nerdery.

Crown Duel was a quick paced adventure for sure that, despite a slow start for me to warm up to, really pulled me in and made me eager to grab the conclusion at the library and check out the novellas. It really hit the ground running with the father dying and with Mel and her brother quickly having to go war against a tyrant king who is threatening their kingdom. It was quite the adventure from the start an
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Angela
Jan 22, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it
Recommended to Angela by: Emily Peterson
Shelves: fantasy
I would have given this a 3.5, but the anticipation it has kindled for the sequel rounded my rating up. The book is beautifully written, with a vivid landscape and culture. I enjoyed the adventure, the magic, and especially the Renselaeus characters.

Meliara is, in many ways, a fantastic heroine - clever, determined, brave, and fiercely loyal. Unfortunately, her mistrust, anger, and sometimes outright rudeness became a little exhausting at times. In very brief moments, and then at the very end, y
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Lizzy
Sep 28, 2015 Lizzy rated it it was ok
** 2.5/2 stars **
Crown Duel is a fantasy story that involves a young woman coming of age story. It was my first experience with Sherwood Smith, and it was good that I began reading it without a good idea of what it was about besides a fantasy tale.

In brief, it’s about Meliara ‘Mel’ Astiar, a noblewoman from an impoverished province, who along with her brother Branaric or ‘Bran’, starts a desperate war to depose the tyrannical king Galdran. After a short period of battles, she is captured and
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Parvathy
This was a difficult read. I don't know whether it was because it was different from my usual genre or because I was not in the mood for such a book when I started reading it. Either way I am placing the blame for not enjoying this book entirely on my shoulders as I am not the targeted audience for this.

I never felt this frustrated while reading any other book. Not because of the story or anything but because it didn't finish sooner. That was exactly my thoughts during the first 100 pages or so
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Cathy
Rating and review to follow, once the Young Adult/Middle Grade battle kicks off!

2.5 stars

I read this for the YA/MG battle, and my review and comparison to the other battle book can he found here.

This is book I of a two-book story, and even though the ebook I read had both books combined into one, I'm still going to rate and review them separately. Mostly because they are very obviously two separate books, but also because my reaction to each part was vastly different. I struggled with the begin
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Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

Crown Duel is really two books, Crown Duel and Court Duel. I have both the paperback and the ebook. I read the paperback then went to the ebook because it has some truly priceless snippets at the back. They tell part of the story from the perspective of Vidranic.

Anyway, I'm glad I read A Stranger to Command before this book. I think I enjoyed it more because I understood the character of Shevraeth (Vidranic) so much better than I would have without it. His motivations and persona
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 Simply Sam ツ
Sep 14, 2015 Simply Sam ツ rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-light
This book manages to both exceed and fall short of my expectations. It's a strange phenomenon. I was expecting a fantasy with a strong female lead. In fact, I perused GR lists looking for just that. You know there are lists for everything here on GRs and several with "fantasy" and some derivative of "strong female lead" as the topic. Surprisingly this book, unbeknownst to me at the time, was in the top running on several of the lists I found. Needless to say, I had high hopes. So let's start wit ...more
Metaphorosis
Feb 15, 2013 Metaphorosis rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, 2013-rev
I first encountered Sherwood Smith in an excellent anthology (Firebirds), where I was taken with her story "Beauty". Purely on the strength of that story, I went right out and bought the related double novel, Crown Duel. I'm sorry to stay the story was far better than the book. In fairness, I note that the story was written several years later.

This first book was disappointing. For one thing, some of the language is careless. Early on, a pair of characters are described as having hip flagons. Fl
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Carol
Sep 16, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This book was originally published as two separate volumes: Crown Duel and Court Duel, and is, I think, intended for a YA audience. It is the story of Meliara Astiar, a noblewoman from an impoverished mountain province, who, along with her brother Bran, initiate a desperate revolt against the tyrannical king Galdran. Along the way, she is captured by the enemy and begins a complicated relationship with Vidanric, a nobleman who has long been engaged in a covert attempt to topple Galdran. After Ga ...more
Katherine
Apr 10, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: sywcoalm-recs
So as it turns out, I am a total and complete sucker for: Pride and Prejudice/North and South + strong young woman comes of age + strong/silent/tall love interest + secret admirer/courtship by letter a la You've Got Mail + magic + court politics. TOTAL SUCKER. Whatever, I still loved it.

I liked the second half with the court politics and intrigue (Court Duel) better than the first half of battles, but the first half is necessary for setup. There are a few characterizations that seem a bit force
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Jolanda
Mar 09, 2012 Jolanda rated it it was amazing
Crown Duel is a fast paced book that opens with subtle magic, sword fighting, pranks, cross country adventure, horseback riding, knife throwing heroes and court intrigue. The empathetic character development and confidence conveyed by the author’s familiarity with her setting pull together with the plot for a very compelling read. The first time I picked up CD I chose it literally by the cover the combination of art and blurb were enough to interest me immediately. I read it again now because it ...more
Kathleen
3.5? Can't decide how to rate this book, I liked the story well enough but my feelings for the main character kept getting in the way. Sometimes I liked her, most of the time she got on my nerves. But then the story flowed the way it did because of all her actions so I guess it's thanks to her that I liked the story? Okay, whatever. Of course I'm going to read the next book because I want to know if she's going to learn to make mature decisions. (She better.)
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
I read a great deal of kid and YA lit and I'm always interested in a good adventure story. Several people had suggested I read this book so I boogied over here and read the reviews and was simply captivated by the love-it or hate-it take people had.

Once I read "Crown Duel' I figured out why that might be. Simply put, Sherwood Smith's book is a romance for the MG/YA crowd. (Not that adults couldn't enjoy it, but that wasn't the target market that Smith and his publishers likely had in mind.)

The s
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Maqluba
The Idea of the plot was a good one... too bad the execution didn't match. I've been on-hold in reading the second book of this series but I've now realized I'll never go back so I'll just rate this one and move on.

We read thru the heroines POV which wasn't too bad until the hero is introduced and I get really annoyed at not knowing what his true motives are. Because we weren't given the heroine's age I couldn't decide if her immaturity was due to age or stupidity. I treated her as a teenager a
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Tatiana
Aug 12, 2011 Tatiana rated it it was ok
This book was not what I expected. The cover is misleading, the summary is misleading. I was quite disappointed. Don't start reading this expecting lots of action and adventure and a brave heroine. That's not what you'll get. While the heroine does have some endearing qualities (and she is quite likeable) she doesn't DO much.

The thing that bothered me the most about this story was that their wasn't much action from the heroine and the "good" side. Instead the story was filled with their "reactio
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Katie
Shhhh. My opinions are secret due to the YA/MG Battle.


I just couldn't get into this. :( I KNOW.

Okay, so still didn't love this, but I liked it better. I still sort of feel like a lot of the details were lost on me and, ugh, I wish Mel had LISTENED more,

Re-read March 2016

Book battle re-read.
Rachel E. Carter
Mar 28, 2014 Rachel E. Carter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-paperback
Sherwood Smith & Tamora Pierce are the queens of YA medieval fantasy. That is all I have to say about this series. I really need to read more Sherwood, her writing is brilliant;) Oh, yes, and I am a sucker for Shavraeth.
Daniel
Apr 11, 2017 Daniel rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Aelleah
Jun 08, 2015 Amy Aelleah rated it did not like it
Warning: angry rant. I was going to review this on my blog, but I tend to leave my more ranty stuff here and the better thought out, critical things on my blog.

Bran sighed. "I thought it a good notion, but obviously you don't. Here. You do whatever you think best. I'll bide by it." He dropped the wallet into my lap. "But I wish you'd give them a fair listen."

Well, no one can fault me for not giving this book a fair chance.

I don't know if it's because of the books I've been choosing, or if I'm ju
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Me
Feb 25, 2013 Me rated it really liked it
These are not the Wren books. The Wren books being the only Sherwoood Smith books I could get my hands on for ages, this was rather difficult news. It's still excellently written, but it's not Wren.

I love the world building. The names are easy to pronounce, but still unique. They're not train-wrecks, they're beautiful names with that just off feel. Same with the world building, it's amazing how we were fed the well thought out world without being told anything. The concepts are close, but not
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Elaney
Mar 12, 2013 Elaney rated it really liked it
Reread: 2/2/16
I enjoyed it much, much more this time around. I don't know if it's because I'm older or it's the second read, but my impression of the book and characters has essentially been flipped.

First read: 6/4/13
2 stars

So, my expectations were pretty high for this book. Because of that, it was harder for me to get into the story. I was slightly bored for the entire book and when you add that to the desire to shake the main character by the shoulders, it doesn't make for a very successful b
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Anggia Retno
Sep 30, 2012 Anggia Retno rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, ebook, english
Quite disappointing

This book have a lot of good quality that would make me love it but instead I found it boring and predictable

But let's talk about the good points first...
This book have a potential for a great plot, I like the story and the character is not too bad. The main character, Meliara Astiar is courageous, loyal and kind (she think about her people)

But the good points is end here, now for the bad points
The rebellion is totally stupid, she don't have a power, magic or swordfighting or
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Valerie Hunt
Jan 07, 2012 Valerie Hunt rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellen
Jul 20, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, female-leads, fantasy
Solidly written semi-epic (?) fantasy, with a female rustic noble POV. Like, solidly representing the genre. Meliara is constantly

I like Meliara, although there were points where I had to stop and say "Mel, you're so DUMB!". But she's fiery and good with math and ran wild, has the temper of the family but still manages to win people over. She's a goddamn delight.

she's got the beginning of a romance going with the slick-tongued court "dandy," and that's good, that's gonna be good. I am just alwa
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Natalie
Nov 02, 2016 Natalie rated it really liked it
Probably more of a 3.5 but I rounded up because I enjoyed this overall.

While it seems most books are dragged out these days into massive series, this book is refreshingly different. Actually, there were parts that I wanted more description or explanation as this is set in a different world. For example, I was very interested in the Hill Folk, a race of people in this world, but they were barely in it. I would have liked to know more about them.

I liked Mel as a character. While she was a little
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Lauren
Apr 05, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lauren by: Lynzee
Shelves: all-fantasy
The charecterization of Mel was splendid. She was extememly visible. There was action without a driving force, yes, she wnated to get home, but when was the last time the story of a girl on her way home was a whole book? In short? Charecters:very good. Plot:not very good at all. Setting:alright. It wasn't lacking anything, but it wasn't fantastic. And the main character was likable, which is always a plus.
Virginia Evans
Jul 15, 2015 Virginia Evans rated it really liked it
I love, love, LOVED this book. Throughout the book (mostly in the first 1/3) there were long sections of just riding and that made the book slow in parts but there was so much I wanted to find out about the characters that once the plot itself picked up I couldn't put the book down. It's a mystery, romance, political drama. Right up my alley!!

*update* it appears I read the ebook that included both #1 and #2. #1 I would rate a 3, #2 was my favorite part! 5 stars!
Rae Borman
Oct 23, 2016 Rae Borman rated it really liked it
I preferred the back half (I believe this was originally published as Court Duel) to the front half. The dialogue felt a little too forced into phrasing that seemed designed to make me think privileged aristocracy, which I did...however there were spots so stilted that it pulled me out of the story. However, that had no bearing on my overall enjoyment. It has that great mix of awkward teenage angst balanced with great responsibility. Almost entirely a pleasure to read.
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Gail Carriger Fan...: March 2017: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith 4 31 Mar 29, 2017 01:37PM  
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I am a writer, but I'm here on Goodreads to talk about books, as I've been a passionate reader as long as I've been a writer--since early childhood.

I'm not going to rate books--there are too many variables. I'd rather talk about the reading experience. My 'reviews' of my books are confined to the writing process.

More about Sherwood Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Crown & Court (2 books)
  • Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2)

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