Using a re-imagined European and American history as the social construct of an entire society, Melissa de la Cruz brings to the page a blend of aristocratic life and Arthurian legend in her newest novel The Ring and The Crown, set to hit shelves April 1.
Queen Eleanor of Great Britain, with Merlin by her side, conquered France and has ruled over the Franco-British empire for over 150 years. But not even magic can keep her alive forever, and Eleanor is forced to begin making preparations for her daughter, and sole heir, Princess Marie-Victoria to take over as Queen. But with war still hanging over her kingdom’s head, the Queen makes the decision to marry Marie off to the young Prince Leopold, heir to the Prussian throne, to ensure peace between the two nations. The pending marriage doesn’t just cause heartbreak for Marie, but for several other members of this 20th century society as well.
It’s a creative idea, full of fantasy and romance, that keeps up with the theme of most hit YA books on shelves today. But the question remains – does The Ring and The Crown keep pace with its competition?
The answer is yes and no. The world de la Cruz has created is incredibly crafted and imagined, bring to life a blend of magic and modern that truly is one of a kind. But in her focus to describe the history of a re-imagined society, and to make her world feel real, the characters and storyline are apt to fade into the scenery. At times, the descriptions of ball gowns and fine jewels feel more colorful and dazzling than the characters wearing them. Which is a bit tragic, really, because the conclusion of each character’s storyline is fascinating and heartbreaking all at once.
That’s not to say that this makes The Ring and The Crown a book to pass up. In fact, I’d recommend grabbing a copy to read. De la Cruz uses five characters as narrators for the tale, Marie being one as well as the mage Aelwyn, the rough-and-tumble Prince Wolf, a betrayed French girl named Isabelle who holds a dark secret and Ronan, an American socialite who’s family has fallen on hard times. Each character brings an interesting twist and turn to the tale, even if the reader is never really given a chance to get to know each one, and you’re never quite sure what the end of a chapter will bring. Also, if you’re big on romance, especially the not-quite-cut-and-dry kind, you’ll be satisfied with the relationships foraged within the pages of this novel.
So yes, even though the storyline can feel a bit sparse and the end too quick and dry, The Ring and The Crown is still worth the read for the history alone. And good news! It appears as though de la Cruz has plans to continue this novel as a series, so if you’re not satisfied with the end, it’s because the stories of the five narrators haven’t really ended yet.
To find out more about The Ring and The Crown Series watch the Official Trailer below and visit the Official Site. To find out more about Author Melissa de la Cruz, you can follow her Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.