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

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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  6,677 ratings  ·  203 reviews
The stirring sequel to Crown Duel finds young Meliara at the center of a deadly court intrigue.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah
I've revised my opinion of this book (or should I say these books?) after a second reading, so instead of editing my old review I shall write another here.

I enjoyed it much more than I did the first time! Actually I couldn't remember reading Court Duel at all previously, only Crown Duel, so unless I have a very short memory I must not have read the second part/novel very attentively. But anyway...

I thought Shevraeth was great, very clever and mysterious and suave. I do like a drawling hero! Alt
...more
jade
I imagine if I could be more neutral, I might've given this book 3.5 or 3 stars. Despite its flaws, I liked and cared about the characters. Therefore, I couldn't bring myself to give it anything lower than a 4 star rating. Yes, I liked the book, but it could've been so much better.

The book had some of my favorite elements: an intelligent, sensitive, yet tough heroine; an entertaining court life full of intrigues and power struggle; and a very, very attractive hero. I admired Meliara's courage a
...more
Valerie
I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the author for keeping everything fairly simple and great but I’ll keep it at a minimum. There were more politics in this book instead of the action present in the first book. I still really like Mel and she is still true to herself. She is headstrong, aware of her ignorance, and an all around nice girl.

Even though there was more politics in this book it wasn’t half as cumbersome as in other books I’ve read. There were a few times when I had to t
...more
Katie Hutchison Irion
Cute, cute sequel to Crown Duel. If you pick this up, pick up a copy where both stories are in one book. I would have loved reading the first book and just flowing right into the second book. This one picks up right where Crown Duel leaves off and eventually finds Meliara in the captial. I really enjoyed the story and just loved that darling, elusive Marquis. I will admit, even though he was described as having very long light, blond hair, I just had to imagine him with dark hair because I could ...more
Parvathy
Court Duel is a much better read than its prequel the Crown Duel. Usually I don't get to say this because if the first book is not an engaging read I don't bother with the next in the series. Even though Crown Duel was a slow read it really did pick up the pace towards the end and stopped at an interesting juncture that I had to read Court Duel. I do not regret it at the least.


The story picks where it left off from the revolt coming to an end and the evil king put to rest. Now Meliara wants noth
...more
Angela
This book is very, very difficult to rate. I liked it - I really did, but there were just some things that drove me crazy about it, along with a nagging feeling that it just didn't live up to its potential.

Meliara spends most of this book in a vastly different setting from the last one: Rather than running around in rags and boys clothes, wounded, sick, and hunted, she finds her wealthy and successful self in the glittering court of the capitol. She still has a couple of minor adventures and pas
...more
Punica
Reasons Why I Enjoyed This Wonderfully Written Duology:

1. Very likeable characters.
2. The adventure & magic.
3. The humour.
4. The letters & the Secret Admirer. *squeels*
5. The Romance. NOT cheesy AT ALL!
6. Maliara. Girl, you crack me up! XD And because I kept reading your name as "Malaria". Fail! haha
7. Vidanric. So mysterious & cool & collected... *sigh*
8. Maliara & Vidanric's constant bickering! Guaranteed LOL fest! Haha!

"I am very much afraid," he said presently, "that
...more
Elaney
Aug 23, 2013 Elaney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I was not expecting much when I started this book. I was not expecting to like it at all. Boy was I wrong! I don't know if it was because I had such low expectations, but I LOVED it. I actually liked Meliara, which I was not expecting at all, and I enjoyed the story a lot more than Crown Duel. I enjoyed the intrigue, the politics, and, surprisingly, the romance. There are many ways the romance could have been over done, but it was perfect. It wasn't underdeveloped, or overly mushy. I think it wa ...more
Metaphorosis
Court Duel is better than its predecessor, Crown Duel, though it shares some of the same flaws. The story is a harmless young adult adventure, though it focuses more on court politics than I might have wished. On the pedantic front: the language is sometimes careless - several times, there are variants of "he had bade her to ...", where "bidden" would have been correct. But generally, it's a readable light fantasy.

More of a concern, even in a YA novel, are substantial flaws in court behaviour. F
...more
Lydia Presley
Original review posted here

Sherwood Smith, why oh why are your covers so horrifically bad? Because girl… you can write oh so good. Seriously, as I read this fantastic gem of a young adult fantasy duo I felt like pumping my fist and shouting GIRL POWER quite happily. Because this girl, this Meliara, she knocked my socks off.

So basically this story starts with an impoverished member of the court and his two kids, a boy and a girl. The girl has been left to her own devices, she’s run wild, and she
...more
Josie
I love that the romance is slowly, slowly built up over these two novels, and I also love Shevraeth, who is cool, calm and collected at all times (and very well dressed!). Mel thinks he is disdainful of her, or at the very least, indifferent, but not so! A good Darcy-Elizabeth type romance in a story will always get me, and this is no exception - initial dislike leading eventually to love...sigh... I also always enjoy the court intrigue, the outfits, the balls, the language of fans and of course ...more
Emily
I really enjoyed this book and have read it a few times out of nostalgia - it is fun to read books that you know have a good ending after reading something like the hunger games or any of the other post apocalyptic settings (where half the characters die) that seem to be all the rage haha.

I enjoyed it mostly because of the way meliara narrates and thinks in the book. She analyzes everything and not only does this keep the reader guessing about what is going to happen next but it also helps them
...more
Susan
These books (COURT DUEL and CROWN DUEL) are so delightful. I read them years ago and loved them (Vidanric remains one of my favorite heroes!), and I reread them only to love them even more. Mel is just SUCH an appealing character--she's sympathetic, funny, tough, and someone you'd want as your best friend. And Vidanric...well, let's just say "SWOON".

Be sure to check this series out! Sherwood Smith is one of my favorite authors, and her writing is always of the highest quality.
Krystal

I actually didn't realize that this was the second book in the series as my copy of Crown Duel included both books in one binding. The fact that I scarcely even noticed the transition from one to the other is either a sign of how invested in the novel I was, or how polished the segway was. maybe it means both. Either way, my first thought is that Court Duel was better than Crown Duel. Because there was more character interaction and less "this person did that and then this happened, etc".

I real

...more
Elizabeth
I have to say, Court Duel is one of the best books I've ever read. One of the reasons was that Meliara was a likable protagonist. She wasn't too girly, yet the author didn't make too much of an effort to make her annoyingly tomboyish. she was a perfect blend. I also liked how she was spunky, but didn't have an attitude. She was smart but not egotistic and she was clueless at the appropriate time.
Speaking of clueless...!!! This was one of my favorite romance plots in a book. I noted that it took
...more
Sherwood Smith
Jun 06, 2009 Sherwood Smith added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: my-books
The second half (Court Duel) I wrote in my mid-twenties.

Mel and I shared only one thing: being emotionally backward. I did try to keep that when I rewrote her story, in my forties.
Thenia
Mel's story continues where Crown Duel left off.

Court intrigue, various characters with their own agendas and a new set of rules are only few of the things Mel has to face. She remains obstinate and prejudiced against Vidanric mainly because of her pride, which was a bit frustrating, but she eventually realizes she was wrong and becomes a better version of herself.

An enjoyable light fantasy.
Rachel
While this book, compared to its predecessor, seemed more meaty and significant, it lacked in some components and fell short in characterization. The plot is not as intriguing, nor exciting, as the setting focuses primarily on the Court rather than the ruthless battles of the countryside as entertained in the previous book. We do get some exciting plot points, but the majority seem silly and petty (as one would expect a frivolous court plot to be), and the ones that are intriguing are rushed and ...more
Tatiana
The sequel in the Crown and Court Duet was a huge turn around. I loved this book. I am more of an action oriented reader, but this book had barely any. However, it managed to make the drama surrounding the people of the court extremely engaging.

Meliara Astir is quite the strong heroine. We got to know her more on a personal level in this book, and I really loved her wit and bravery. Plus, her scene where she stood up to 20 wagons with just a sword and little skill had me chanting her name. Her b
...more
Lauren
Jun 26, 2012 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lauren by: Lynzee
preread---OK this kiss better be good!
postread---OK that kiss was way good.
a couple of notes.
I think that there were too many natural breaks in this book. It seemed like the author couldn't commit to any one scene for longer than a couple of pages. This is partly due to not using actual dialogue very often and to the fact that the actual writing felt very choppy, like the comentary had to come in little bits and pieces instead of one continuous flow.
The reading level is an interesting subjec
...more
ala
This is the same as my review for Crown Duel. Sorry if I offend with a re-post...

I'm pretty sure this was my second time reading these books, but if I might have vaguely remember any part of them, it didn't stop me from enjoying them again. That being said perhaps my foggy recollection is some indication of the books' memorability...

All told, Crown and Court Duel are charming YA fantasy books. Were I 15 again I would gush unhesitatingly. Now that I am old and I feel like I ought to get somethin
...more
Rachel
Court Duel by Sherwood Smith is an amazing fantasy book. I am not normally a big fan of fantasy books, but this really blew me away.
In the book, the nation is finally at peace, and Mel is content at her home. Then her brother Branaric returns home from court with his fiancée and his friend Shevraeth. Mel can't stand Shevraeth. He captured her and Branaric when they were trying to rebel against the old king. Mel and all the others return to court because a new ruler must be selected, but Mel d
...more
Marisa
I would actually probably give this book a 4.5, but I’m in a good mood so I rounded up. Overall, I found it to be better than the first book, Crown Duel. However, Court Duel still disappointed me a bit. Although the magic element was more present in this book...it was still so subtle (until perhaps the end) that really...this didn’t feel like a fantasy novel. This time I didn’t mind so much, like I did with the first book to this series. I knew not to expect it, so my hopes weren’t high in this ...more
Salina
Unlike the first part of Crown Duel, I thoroughly enjoyed the Crown Duel. In the second half of the story, Mel enters court life, where she meets new friends and foes, and learns how to deal with them in a courtly manner.

I really adore stories set in court life; royal balls, banquets, political-intrigue and the wits it takes to deal with two-faced individuals.

In addition to my love of castle life, Mel was also much more of a delight to read; she has become smarter and more tolerable towards unp
...more
Rachel
I found the intrigue and mystery of this novel very gripping. Despite Meliara continuing to annoy at times, her attitude is much improved by the end of the book and so has gained my redemption. I found that the author more effectively developed the characters in this installment so that at least her flaws were somewhat understandable. The characters really come alive for this book and I could picture everyone really well-- nothing came off as incredible or disingenuine.

The romance element struck
...more
Arya
Court is a dangerous place . . .

Meliara Astiar, Countess of Tlanth, has been happy to fade into the background. The adventures of the previous year were enough to last her a lifetime. Overthrowing a corrupted King, escaping from a high security prison – leading the Marquis of Shevreaeth over hill-and-dale looking for her? All in a day’s work . . . a day she would happily call in sick.

But her peace at Tlanth cannot last. The Marquis of Shevraeth is about the be crowned King, and when her brother
...more
TamTam
Part two/book two..depending on which version you read....um LOVED this book. I have to say it's really better compared to the first book (Crown Duel).

I love the mystery of the (love?) letters/gifts (and hoping that they were from a certain someone). Loved the uncertainty of who we should trust and what people's agendas really were. It's pretty much a love story (certainly not like the first part/book one).

I also love that these books are clean and I don't think they have any bad words in them
...more
Me
I read this book before the first (my mistake), but this book is so carefully written that it's able to explain to me what happened. I perfectly understand the events of the first (I did read it later) just from this book. The only problem I had was keeping Savona and Sharaveath apart, but I finally got a hold of that.

I can see why this would be better as an omnibus version.

Much of this book is spent learning court etiquette, which poses quite a few problems. Nothing in a physical plot really
...more
linhtalinhtinh
I ended up with 4 stars *sigh* even though I enjoyed the two books so much (stayed up til 3am for the first book, while having a test in the next morning...) But anyway, despite its enjoyability, there are certain problems that I just could not pretend that they don't exist.

Perhaps I am being a bit unfair to compare these books to those of Meghan Whalen Turner or Melina Marchetta, considering the others' books are soooo much longer. Marchetta's books are obviously geared towards older readers,
...more
Marie
Jun 24, 2008 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: YA readers, people who enjoy strong female characters, romance readers
As I began Court Duel, I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I did in the action-packed Crown Duel, but in the end, they are both well-written books, although for different reasons.

This novel begins where the first left off: Mel is in Tlanth, where she uses the newly-received fortune to help her townspeople rebuild: new roofs, homes, and of course, increasing her book collection (smart woman). While there, she receives a strange message from a Marquise of Merindar (sister to the former kin
...more
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12350
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)
  • Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1)
Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2) Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1) A Posse of Princesses Inda (Inda, #1) Wren to the Rescue (Wren, #1)

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“No, I don't think I could fall in love with him, handsome though he is, because I don't accept any of that huff he gives me about my great beauty and all that. I'd have to trust a man's words before I could love him. I think.” 37 likes
“It would have been funny if I had been an observer and not a participant, an idea that gave me a disconcerting insight into gossip. As I walked beside the silent Tamara, I realized that despite how entertaining certain stories were, at the bottom of every item of gossip there was someone getting hurt.” 32 likes
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