This is a page-turning fantasy in the tradition of fairy tales, whimsical worlds, and coming-of-age stories.
The Crowns of Croswald invites young readers to explore themes of stepping into their own magic, discovering their true selves, and battling evil head-on. Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as “an action-packed treat […] with a relatable heroine facing challenges in a vivid world of magic and mystery,” and called a new classic by readers, The Crowns of Croswald series is a magical romp through a fully formed universe with dragons, magical quills, potions, and mythical creatures.
Ivy Lovely is 16 and she has no idea who she is—or what her powers could be. When she crosses a magical boundary, she discovers a whole new world of enchantment and mystery. Making friends that will last a lifetime—and save her life—she steps into her own abilities and discovers more about her hidden past, magical blood, and the power of Croswald’s mystical stones. But all is not well: a dark history and an evil Queen threatens all that is good. Will Ivy’s bravery and wit be enough?
Curious and whimsical, both shy and brave, Ivy is a hero that connects with readers of all ages. For those who wished that Narnia, Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland could go on forever, Croswald opens a whole new world of magic. Recommended as a read-aloud for families and a first middle-grade fantasy read, The Crowns of Croswald is a four-part series that will carry readers to a whimsical world that they won’t want to leave.
I received this ebook free from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I have difficulty reviewing this novel because my opinion continues to ebb and flow. This story is magical and whimsical in every sense. Whether it be the writing, the characters, the settings, the world, or the general aesthetic of the cover/chapter illustrations, everything surrounding this novel is enchanting and magical. Everything is pure fantasy to the extreme and I loved that. In fact, I couldn’t help but think of the Harry Potter series when I was reading this novel due to the eclectic names of magical creatures and general items found in this particular world.
The Crowns of Croswald is the first book in a four book series. Ivy is a sixteen year old girl working as a scaldrony maid. One day she is banished from her home and discovers she has magic and is whisked off to magic school. There she begins to uncover her past, the reasons why her magic has been kept hidden all these years, and why the Dark Queen seems to be after her.
If you are a harry potter fan, magic boarding school fan, and lost princesses who don’t know they are queens then this book is the book for you. We have a lovely character named Ivy who for the first part of the book is slumming away in a kitchen and we get the pleasure of meeting the unique Scaldrons dragons who bake in their mouths. While we are meeting these we get a real glimpse in to the misery that is Ivy life and how she is thrust out into the world quite suddenly after a hiccup with one of these Scaldrons and Helga the kitchen head staff person.
This story is set in a fantasy world of magic named Croswald with its own rules, creatures, spells…From the start of reading I was thinking of Croswald as a mix of Harry Potter and Throne of glass, but it is so much more than that. The story of Ivy is well told, and one finds him/herself lost in this magical world along with the protagonist. The author set a fascinating base for the ongoing series which is a great read for young adult readers who like to lose themselves in a world of fiction and fantasy. Even though some parts left me a little bit confused* I enjoyed reading this story and I can only wish I would read it sooner as I would probably enjoy it more when I was a few years younger.
Once Ivy is thrust out into the world all the exciting magic stuff begins to happen, we get to find out all about these queens and scrivenerist who all study at this magic school. Scrivenerist are the discoverers who sketch and record all that see and have photographic memory. Ivy loves to sketch and so she is happily immersed in what she loves and then the queens are who the Scrivenerist get assigned to serve once they graduate from school.
As the book progresses poor Ivy get her self in more and more trouble and you have this wonderful companion Fyn who has no problem breaking the rules but loves to remind Ivy all the time about how she should not be breaking them nor should she be attempting things that are beyond her training as she just a first year.
The pacing of this book is very fast and full of action, especially once Ivy finds herself in school. She does make some friends while she’s there, but I can’t help but feel that she doesn’t treat them very well while they’re busy helping her in all her endeavours, however dangerous or badly thought out they may be. For this reason, I found it quite hard to bond with her as a character – but the world building and intrigue was enough to keep me hooked in the hope that she’ll become more likable as she matures.
The Crown’s of Croswald is filled with whimsical magic and world building. Fans of Harry Potter may love it, or not so much. For me, there were far too many, and too close, parallels to HP, with the antagonist, magical creatures, premise, and overall story line. For folks who just can’t get enough of the magical world, this may be a perfect read.