Saturday, September 20, 2014

{Book Talk} The Ring and the Crown #1: Melissa De La Cruz

Rating: 8.9/10
Series: The Ring and the Crown
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Romance,
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Page Count: 372
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Disclaimer: Here at Loving the Language of Literacy, the term "Book Talk" means that there will be spoilers, while the term "Book Review" refers to a review having NO spoilers. However, if you would like to still read a "Book Talk" without being spoiled, all questions answered are non-spoilery, and spoiler-filled paragraphs do have stars next to them. As a disclaimer on the disclaimer, I was trying out a new type of review where I discuss individual plot points, which is why this particular review has so many spoilers.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of the Titanic, Turn-of-the-Century type stories
Shatter Me, The Selection,

Would I Buy It?
So a few weeks ago, I had stumbled upon The Ring and the Crown where shopping in -of all places- Coscto. While there, I resisted the urge, knowing my wallet couldn't take it. You don't know HOW MUCH I freaking regret that decision now. I know that the next time I see it, for even a fraction off of normal price, that I would purchase it because of how much I loved this book.

Background & Backstory
So I've only read one other book by Melissa De La Cruz and that book was Blue Bloods. My friend was obsessed with the whole series, so I read it on her recommendation, and it was an okay book. I was pretty indifferent. But let me tell you, there was SOMETHING about The Ring and the Crown that made me want to read it, some "it" factor behind it that I'm still unaware to.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
That's the end?!? *sniffles*

Something magical happened with The Ring and the Crown. I took detailed notes. I know a lot of book reviewers take notes and/or go back through the book to take notes, but I am usually too lazy to do that. Lately, I have been sticking Post-Its on the backs of my books so I can jot down all of my feels towards it without having to hunt down a piece of paper. Now, not only did I take notes, I took A LOT of notes. So I have a lot of individual plot points to discuss.

*P30 ~ So I know that Merlin is magical and has incredible powers beyond human imagination, but seriously. How the heck did the Queen get pregnant? Merlin waved a wand (or something like that), and presto, an a hundred or something woman is pregnant with two children, one from him and one from her long-dead husband? The questions I have as to how the magic in De La Cruz's world works are endless and I hope that she goes into more detail with that in the sequel.

P38 ~ It took until around page 38 of The Ring and the Crown for me to realize how amazing Melissa's writing is and the contrast between Blue Bloods and this was incredible. She created a new world with extremely detailed rules about how society and magic works. The descriptions were vivid and rich without distracting or boring the reader. And I felt transported to another universe while reading.

P43 ~ This is when we were first introduced to Ronan and I must say that she was my favorite character because of how much she was like me. She was witty, humorous, had a fiery spirit, and her motives weren't always pure. She knew how to work the system and play the game (you know, the one where you end up with a husband). 

P52 ~ Then we have Wolf was my favorite male character, probably because he seems like a guy I would want to date. (I'm sensing a pattern between liking/being like the character and having them be my favorite) He's strong and loyal and most certainly handsome, but he was so sweet and flirtatious when it came to Ronan, and his relationship with Marie -which we learn about later- was such a sincere one. 

P43 ~ Interestingly enough, De La Cruz made it so I wondered if technology could hold a candle to magic. I presume you have read a few fantasy novels where magic is so awe-inspiring and made you with it was in our world (come on, we've all read Harry Potter). Yet, in The Ring and the Crown, magic was only something of people of certain status were able to obtain, and therefore paled in comparison (at least in my opinion when it came to technology) to electricity and inventions like the steam engine.

P78 ~ Something I would want to warn people about is that the plot isn't too hard to follow, but the characters are. There were six main characters that each had their own third-person Point of View. Page 78 was where I was actually beginning to grasp and understand the complex interworkings and dynamics between all of them. So if you're a bit confused.... hang in there.

*P81 ~ I honestly want to know, did you guess that Gill was the bad guy? While I never suspected treachery from him, I was never a big fan of Gilrie (their ship name) and something felt off about them.

P97 ~ In my extremely messy handwriting, I say, "Romance in the olden days *SWOONS*" I actually remember trying to describe (and failing) what olden days romance was in my How to Say Goodbye book review. Things were done so much properly and politely, so when romance actually did flare up, it was made all the more exciting and special. The feels in The Ring and the Crown when it came to romance were unlimited. *squeals*

*P113 ~ That little sh*t known as Leopald. I hated his guts and character because of his pristine "good guy" reputation that proved to be so untrue and I was thoroughly exploding with glee when he died. End of story of my (not-so-high) opinion of him.

*P153 ~ My heart almost broke in two when Ronan rejected Wolf because she didn't think he was rich. I know it was all for plot's sake and it would have changed the entire story, but the tears ;(

*P169 ~ I still think the decision De La Cruz made, making Marie marry Wolf, was insane. They are waaaay too much like Laurie and Jo from Little Women. They are good friends and they should have stayed good friends. What did you think of that ending?

*Ending 5/10: The reason The Ring and the Crown was downgraded to a 4 out of 5 star book was because of the ending. The explanation of the last 40 or so pages was too rushed and I disliked it.

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
I think I will have to re-read this book because the darn sequel isn't coming out until SEPTEMBER of 2015 *curses the world* I have a discussion post coming soon about how I hardly ever re-read books, which is why the percentages are always so low. So by the Sofia scale, 50% is pretty good for re-readability.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?
Absolutely, YES! The Ring and the Crown is one of the best books I have read in 2014 and the fact that there is a sequel makes everything even better. 


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