I’m back with another review! Recently, I was able to review The Crowns of Croswald via NetGalley. After some obstacles in my personal life, I’m happy to have finished it!
The Crowns of Croswald
By D.E. NightPublished 27 July 2017 by Stories Untold Press
fantasy | middle grade | magical school
My rating: ★★★★☆
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
What I Liked
So the first notable aspect about this book is that the main character is a little older than most middle grade protagonists. At first, I was unsure about this, but then I realized that 11-year-old me was able to read about 17-year-old Harry Potter.
The Crowns of Croswald takes place in a fictional world, where two of the most important peoples in society are Royals and Scrivenists. The Royals are exactly what they sound like, and can harness the magic of gemstones that are found buried in the earth. Scrivenists work for royal families, and are kind of like record keepers. They have magical quills and draw and record everything in their life.
Right from the beginning, this book had an air of mystery to it. Ivy lives in a castle, but works as a scullery maid. One day, she crosses a magical border and she is immediately whisked away to the legendary Halls of Ivy, a school for Royals and Scrivenists. What I loved about this book is that the magic is so whimsical and absurd. There are really no limits to what the magic can do, which makes it really funny sometimes.
Ivy is incredibly inquisitive. She doesn’t really adhere to the rules, and is more focused on figuring out who she is. Because surely a simple scullery maid couldn’t belong at the Halls of Ivy? However, sometimes I thought she was a little too impulsive. Even though she doesn’t care about the consequences for herself, that also means sometimes her friends are dragged into her shenanigans.
What Could be Better
My only slight gripe with the story is that it takes while to get to the main plot. Ivy is being threatened by the Dark Queen, but we don’t really get a sense of that until about halfway through the book. This doesn’t mean that the first half of the book was boring. The first half was really whimsical, but it didn’t yet tell a story.
My other point is that the last pages were a little on the predictable side. At one point it wasn’t hard to guess what would happen next. I did like the ending, though. There are three books in this series, and the last pages of The Crowns of Croswald set the scene nicely for the next book, The Girl With the Whispering Shadow.