I was kindly sent an ARC of The Crowns of Croswald by the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. It arrived in a lovely box, with an assortment of pretty goodies, curated by the author herself!
This immediately had me curious about the book, and especially the Glanagerie bottle fascinates me! I have to say, after reading the book, I hardly dare touch it… 😉
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.
Going in, I immediately loved the richness of the world building, with all its magical details. It took me a while to really get hooked on the story though, mainly because there’s a lot left unexplained for a long time. It’s clear that D.E. Night has been highly inspired by Harry Potter, and Ivy feels like a female Harry at times, but the story is definitely a very different one, and original in its own way. If I were to compare it, I’d say it’s ‘Disney princess goes to Hogwarts’!
One thing I really liked about this book is the writing! It’s clear enough for middle-grade readers without ever being simplistic. And there were some really fun finds when it came to naming some magical items or phenomena! When a debut is written this well, that’s very promising for the next books:)
As I said, it took me a while to get immersed in the story, but it all has a purpose! After reading the first half of the book, I found myself having difficulties putting it down, and all my questions were answered. The plot was clearly very well thought-out, and all the puzzle pieces fit together towards the end.
I did have one issue with the book, however, and that is that Ivy didn’t feel like a distinctive main character to me. I didn’t feel connected to her, mostly because her emotions weren’t clear to me. The side characters were all really good though, and I especially liked Rebecca en Derwin Edgar Night!
The Crowns of Croswald is a magical read, full of fun details and with a well thought-out plot. All in all, this was a highly enjoyable book by a very promising debut author, and I’m definitely curious about the next installment!