A part of me really wanted to believe I would not like this enough to give it 5 stars.
I don't know why - the hype, perhaps - but it did.
The writing I...moreA part of me really wanted to believe I would not like this enough to give it 5 stars.
I don't know why - the hype, perhaps - but it did.
The writing I liked the most - wry, philosophical ponderings, unrestrained cleverness, dramatic sweeping statements and all. The characters were not entirely realistic to me, and nor could half the things they sprouted out ever fit into a reality that I know, and yet, I adored them. I cherished every moment Gus and Hazel shared, and valued each little and not-so-little contribution from characters like Isaac and Hazel's parents.
I don't like cancer stories. I do what I can to avoid them. But this one, this one I drank in greedily. This one, despite it not being entirely perfect, like Augustus and like Hazel, was nothing less than extraordinary. The humour, the emotion, the inevitable ending... I did not stop once, and did not ever feel like I could possibly regret reading it.
Did I cry?
Not at first. Not when IT happened. Not immediately after. My vision, admittedly, got blurrier, but still, there were no real tears. It only happened afterwards, when I decided to go for a drive. To put it simply, I came very close to attaching the windscreen wipers to my eyes.
I guess it hit me like Hazel fell in love: slowly, and then all at once. (less)
Well. I have to say, this was nothing like what I thought it would be. It’s unexpectedly light and simple – fluffy, even – more entertaining...more3.5 stars
Well. I have to say, this was nothing like what I thought it would be. It’s unexpectedly light and simple – fluffy, even – more entertaining historical romance than politically-driven fantasy. There’s plenty of courting, dancing, flirting and frivolity, with an underlying plot that is somewhat shadowed by the glamour of dinner parties and balls. It’s not a bad read. It lacks some depth and world-building, yes, and the story itself is not particularly memorable, but there is a lot of quick fun to be had with this book, and entertainment is entertainment.
Most surprising of all is how well the multiple perspectives work. It’s almost effortless easing into the different voices, all of which are clear and distinct. We have the heir to the Franco-British throne, Princess Marie, and her friend and the bastard daughter of the Merlin, Aelwyn. There is also Wolf, the cheeky and confident younger brother of the crown prince of Prussia, and Ronan Astor, a spunky young lady on her first experience of the London Season. The supporting cast is large and diverse, and although very few of the characters in The Ring and the Crown are truly memorable – the sort of characters you would want to treasure in your thoughts long after the final pages – the personalities created throughout are miraculously easy to track of.
The romantic ties are endless and many, with the most attention given to Marie and a young member of her personal guard, Gill, and the perfectly-matched Ronan and Wolf. The relationship between the latter pair builds quite well, is very amusing in places, and mostly enjoyable to follow. Gill and Marie have the whole childhood buddies thing going on (which I can never resist), and although the pacing falters and takes a mad dash forward at one point, it is also not too difficult to root for them initially. Admittedly, neither of the romances here succeeded in triggering the fangirl mode in me, but that’s okay. They were still fun to read.
Although I did largely enjoy this book, I do simultaneously wish that certain world-building opportunities had been fully embraced. There are far too many scatterings of snippets of information, and not enough of an attempt to pull them all together. It’s infuriating to get a taste of something – something good – only then to be denied anything that delves further and deeper. The alternate historical setting is a fascinating foundation in itself, and with the sorcery and magic intertwined into this fantasy world, there really could not have been a better basis for creating something truly mesmerising. It’s a definite shame that it never quite delivers on that front.
The plot is also not a very strong aspect of the book – in fact, nearly all of it is summarised in the book description – and that contributes slightly to the lacklustre (and kind of lame) ending.
Nevertheless, The Ring and the Crown is a good rainy-day pick. Something easy and light to pass the time with, even if not likely to be a momentous read. I certainly liked it more than Melissa de la Cruz’s previous books, and wouldn’t avoid trying something new from her again. (less)
So incredibly entertaining. Fun and light, and exactly the sort of book that I needed to recharge. Jessica Darling's narration is downright h...more4.5 stars
So incredibly entertaining. Fun and light, and exactly the sort of book that I needed to recharge. Jessica Darling's narration is downright hilarious - chaotic, cheesy and dramatic, yes, but never not hilarious.
Plus there is that Tutti Flutie. Enough said. (less)
Exciting plot, great writing, and two BRILLIANT main characters. I seriously cannot get enough of that romance. Thomas does funny and...moreVery, very good.
Exciting plot, great writing, and two BRILLIANT main characters. I seriously cannot get enough of that romance. Thomas does funny and swoon-worthy incredibly well, even when everything else is all high-stakes doom and gloom.