Title: The Ring and The Crown
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Rating: 4 Stars
Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one. -Goodreads
The Ring and The Crown is a very pleasant surprise of a book. Though the promise of magic is whispered throughout its chapters; it is the delivery of an intrigue rich plot that makes the read mesmerizing.
The Leading Ladies
Princess Marie - spends a great deal of the book wanting to be someone else...somewhere else
Aelwyn - a mage on a mission. She is a girl wanting to prove her skill as a sorceress, but knowing that she is expected to serve the crown.
While Aelwyn does prove to be an interesting contrast to the rather frail and mosey persona presented by Marie, she proves to be more of a means to an end plot link as the story progresses.
Queen Eleanore II - puppet master extraordinaire.
Ronan Astor - an American socialite who is looking to "cross the pond and snag her one." Written as a supporting cast mate, her story becomes a tragic focal point near story's end.
Isabelle - the bold and the beautiful. Onetime heiress to the now nonexistent French royal interest.
Isabelle finds herself the victim of politics and circumstance; when she tries to come between her prince and his throne.
*There are only two men who are really germane to the plot line.
Princes of Prussia, Leopold and Wolfgang.
Leo may be the elder of the two, and as such, the next in line for the throne. It is however Wolf, who proves to be the more interesting of the two in terms of character.
The only good thing about Leo is his ability to carouse and manipulate poor Isabelle to distraction.
Wolf, on the other hand, proves it best not to judge a book by its cover. It is his charm, grace, and honesty of purpose that wins one over in the end.
What starts out looking like a magical romp through the "looking glass...princess and pauper style". Soon turns into a decidedly New Adult Game of Thrones. Add the English dominate "alternate history" angle into the mix and...viola! Great read!
This is a read for the older teen; due to an abundance of sexual situations.
This is a book to be savored and one that will cross your mind long after you have crossed it off your TBR!