Emily's Reviews > Crown Duel

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
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's review
Aug 15, 2011

it was amazing

There are my favorite books, and then there are the books I tell people are my favorites if they ask. This is one of the former.

The writing's not great, the plot's mostly trite, but that doesn't matter. The characters all have real personalities, complete with flaws and manners of speaking and skills and likes and dislikes, and it's amazing how easy it is to imagine them as real people, and their relationships as real relationships.

Crown Duel also has just about everything you could want out of a fantasy novel: a little magic, an evil king, violence, war, rebellion, court intrigue, secret messages, fabulous parties, gossip, home remodeling... the list goes on. And there's a romance that sneaks up on you but stands as one of my favorite fictional couples to date, and I've read a lot of both "romance novels" and novels-with-romances.

There's a nice thread of realism that really makes the book, for me. You get just enough detail on the kingdom and its history and customs so that it feels real, and every action has consequences. The heroine makes some terrible choices, the rebellion led by spunky-but-untrained country folk is anything but a success, and little reveals throughout the book give it a little bit of a mystery flavor.

Meliara is a fun protagonist with a lot of energy, her brother Bran is down-to-earth and a little dull, his bride Nee is sweet but cunning, Shevraeth is chilly and precise, and the ladies of court are as devious as they are well-dressed.

Really. If you like fantasy, or romance, or intrigue, or maybe even war stories, or any combination of the above, read Crown Duel. It's not that long. It's not a difficult read. It's just good.
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Isabella Enjoyed your review. Have to disagree with you about the writing not being too great though; I really did like the writing too:)

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