Wealhtheow's Reviews > Crown Duel

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
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it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, ya
Recommended for: fans of Tamora Pierce

Raised in obscurity and poverty, Countess Melaria vows vengeance against the tyrant ruling her country. She and her older brother embark upon an ill-advised guerilla war. Despite the naivete of her side (they consider itching powder in bedding a particularly successful tactic), they drive off the first commander--who is replaced by Shevraeth, a Scarlet Pimpernell type. He easily defeats the ragtag peasant army Melaria leads, then uses his triumphant return to the capital to stage an effective coup. The second half (initially the second book, entitled Court Duel) chronicles Melaria’s time in the capital, where Shevraeth has been trying to bloodlessly consolidate power and create an effective and fair system of government.
This could have been a funny, meta look at fantasy tropes, in which the feisty but jejune heroine keeps accidentally fouling up the true hero’s plans. Unfortunately, even though Melaria is completely useless at everything, everyone falls in love with her. So what if every battle scene ends with Melaria fainting or getting thumped upside the head—she’s a courageous warrior! So what if she trusts all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons--Shevraeth admires her uncomplicated thinking. Shevraeth is in love with Melaria, of course, and near the end of the novel Melaria begins to realize this and fall in love with him as well. Their romance was at least as unbelievable as the earlier war scenes.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 20, 2008 – Finished Reading
February 21, 2008 – Shelved
February 21, 2008 – Shelved as: fantasy
February 26, 2008 – Shelved as: ya

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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KIKA omagosh! This is exactly how I felt about these books! I even had to put it down for a little bit out of sheer frustration with Melaria. I felt like it had potential in the first book as the story was just beginning to unfold, but of course those feelings didn't last long, and then the second just seemed like a repeat of the first. bummer, I really wanted to like them.

Wealhtheow Right! It's precisely the kind of book I adore, so I was pretty disappointed. But I love YA fantasy, so I fully intend to try another book or two by Smith before giving up.

KIKA Amen :)

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