Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1)” as Want to Read:
Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  4,954 ratings  ·  207 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
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryTo Catch a Pirate by Jade ParkerThe Seer and the Sword by Victoria HanleyWildwood Dancing by Juliet MarillierWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Best Lesser-Known Books
44th out of 905 books — 1,155 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCourt Duel by Sherwood SmithCrown Duel by Sherwood SmithPoison Study by Maria V. SnyderPrincess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Ugly Duckling - Makeover stories
3rd out of 43 books — 72 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
Jan 22, 2010 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rachel Carter
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.
Amy Aelleah
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
Anggia Retno
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
Valerie Hunt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Virginia Evans
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!
Herman Gigglethorpe
Is it wrong that I cheered when I returned this book to the digital library? I read half of it before I decided to throw in the towel.

¡Caray, caray, caray! The main character of this story was one of the most useless protagonists that I've ever seen. Meliara dismisses the only useful characters in the story as "fops" and "court decorations", because they don't run around in rags like she does. This attitude changes a bit toward the middle of the book, but by that point, it's too late. She is sup
Jun 10, 2012 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
i'm not sure how to rate this book. it had quite a few qualities : a strong and sensible heroine, who for once does'nt save the world all alone. A great male character, who in a very funny way manage to always give the wrong impression to the girl he loves when in every other way he manage everything perfectly. And side characters whom you just love and want to hear more about. i think what saved the book for me was really the amazing characters!
what decresed my good opinion was the pace of the
I think there are a lot of readers who would like this (I guess that's rather obvious, seeing how many five-star ratings it's gotten here on Goodreads), but it didn't quite work for me. The one warning I would give (and I've seen this in several other reviews here, I believe): if you're looking for a proactive, strong, intelligent main character, you're not going to find that in this book.
Kingstowne Library TAB
What I love about this book duet is the main character Meliara, who is neither the damsel in distress or the always angry heroine. She is simply a poor countess who, along with her brother, fight to save their people from starvation and ruin. Much to their surprise, they are actually successful! Not only that, but their revolution keeps gaining momentum, which might not be a good thing. In the second part (Court) Meliara discovers that war and politics can be equally dangerous, especially when y ...more
YA Fantasy Missing something

I can't pinpoint the exact problem, but there is something about the manner of Ms. Smith's writing that just doesn't hold my interest. It's so rare that this happens to me, but I felt like I was sounding out words in a primer, they didn't seem to fit together into a proper sentence, much less a meaningful story.

After over an hour of reading, I felt nothing, not one drop of empathy in me for any of the characters.

I thought it might be just the mood I was in, but the ne
Samuel Lubell
This is a fun book. Meliara and Branaric, young impoverished nobles, grew up thinking the Court was evil (although they have a claim to the throne through there long dead mother.) When they find out the king was going to break the Covenant, they launch a rebellion that is successful at first, but then Meliara is captured. She escapes with help but refuses to work with the Marquis of Shevraeth.

What makes this book interesting is how Meliara keeps making mistakes because she misinterprets everyth
I really fell in love with the characters in this one. They pushed me to get through it.
Yogesh Jain
A very small book considering it is abt the rebellion of a kingdom.

The book missed quite a lot of things and most of it was the war planning. The rebellion felt like a small joke when I finished reading this book.

The book was mostly abt a running rebellion who is shown as a hero at the end but I didnt find it much enjoyable and even there were too many questions as about why things were done this way.

Her escape from the king was the most questionable thing which happened in the book.

Last ver
Such a great read for the road trip. I hate the cover. Cheesy and embarrassing if you ask me, so I covered it up and enjoyed the story without the cover art getting in the way. I love the clueless heroine and the way the reader is left as much in the dark as she is much of the time, though you suspect her judgment is a bit hasty. Nice surprises at the end, too. I love politics and good guys taking on bad rulers so much more than romance. So this was just right for me. I'm excited to read the res ...more

I have to admit, this book was entertaining. She was not the smartest heroine, but she wasn't dumb either and she but she made me laugh. out loud. Thats a really good thing. I must confess that the book started out the tiniest bit slow for me, but it picked up as it went along. I don't really understand the attraction between these two characters (at least on his part) but I enjoy the dynamics it makes. This book might not be the most outstanding piece of literature, but it put a smile on my fac

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mairelon the Magician (Mairelon, #1)
  • The Seer and the Sword (Healer and Seer, #1)
  • Summers at Castle Auburn
  • The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)
  • The Decoy Princess (Princess, #1)
  • Star Crossed (Thief Errant, #1)
  • The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, #1)
  • The Perilous Gard
  • Star of the Morning (Nine Kingdoms, #1)
  • The Blue Sword (Damar, #2)
  • Queen in Exile
  • The Lion Hunter (The Lion Hunters, #4)
  • Plain Kate
  • Goose Chase
  • Hero's Song (The Songs of Eirren, #1)
  • Northlander (Tales of the Borderlands, #1)
  • The Glass Maker's Daughter (The Cassaforte Chronicles, #1)
  • Vessel
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)
Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2) Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2) A Posse of Princesses Inda (Inda, #1) Wren to the Rescue (Wren, #1)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Memory warps time, as it does the sights and sounds and smells of reality; for what shapes it is emotion, which can twist what seems clear, just as the surface of a pond seems to bend the stick thrust into the water.” 51 likes
“Despite how entertaining certain stories were, at the bottom of every item of gossip there was someone getting hurt.” 20 likes
More quotes…