My heart hurts. That's the only coherent thing I could think after closing this book for the final time. I loved this story about two teens falling inMy heart hurts. That's the only coherent thing I could think after closing this book for the final time. I loved this story about two teens falling in love in the year 1986, but (view spoiler)[the open ending left me broken-hearted, because I desperately wanted a happily-ever-after for these characters. Still, I guess that's what my imagination is for! (hide spoiler)]...more
**spoiler alert** Originally two novels, Crown Duel and Court Duel, this was an enjoyable YA fantasy featuring Countess Meliara, a plucky heroine remi**spoiler alert** Originally two novels, Crown Duel and Court Duel, this was an enjoyable YA fantasy featuring Countess Meliara, a plucky heroine reminiscent of many of Tamora Pierce's YA heroines.
In the first novel, Meliara and her brother Bran promise their father on his deathbed that they will lead a revolt against the their corrupt king, who intends to break a treaty that her family was sworn to uphold. The first novel consists of a lot of traveling and fleeing, with Mel being captured, escaping, being recaptured, gaining allies, and then finally facing the king in combat.
The second novel is more of a political fantasy taking place at the royal court in the aftermath of the first book. Mel becomes drawn in to court intrigues and romances swirling around her brother's upcoming marriage, and the crowning of the new king. She must decide who to believe amidst conflicting information and confusing courtiers.
Overall, the characters were well-crafted and drew me in to the story. Although I vastly preferred the second novel, I'd recommend them as one cohesive tale. This edition also contained a cute short story about Meliara and the husband she chooses at the end of the second novel, which I'm glad was added to give a taste of their happily ever after....more
This is one of those books that I read and enjoy as an adult but wish I had discovered as a teen. This would have had a tremendous impact on my teenagThis is one of those books that I read and enjoy as an adult but wish I had discovered as a teen. This would have had a tremendous impact on my teenaged self.
Almost as much as a romance, this is a story about Jane crafting an identity for herself. As a heroine, Jane is almost ridiculously passive in the beginning of the story. Her mother is overbearing and domineering. "She has a lot of opinions, which is restful, as that way I don't have to have many of my own." Her friends are all implied to be much stronger personalities than Jane, even the oft-mentioned but never-seen Chloe and Davideed. She is content to go with the flow, happy to let others take the lead.
That's what makes her sudden actions in the middle of the book so powerful(view spoiler)[, first going to the EM headquarters, and then selling her possessions to try and buy Silver back from Egyptia and Clovis (hide spoiler)]. And oh, Clovis. First I hated him, but I grew to love him too, by the end of the book.
(view spoiler)[I almost cried reading the last chapter at work. Beautiful, not only what happens with the ouija board, but just... Jane has grown so much as a character from the beginning. She has a backbone now. I'm almost sad that we don't get to see what Demeta makes of the new Jane. Jain. (hide spoiler)]