Hi all! We’re excited to kick off 2019 with a review of a book that we were kindly sent (two copies, too!)
Alexis: Read 12/29/18
The Crowns of Croswald is a fast-paced, solid middle-grade fantasy read. The fantasy world is well-developed and detailed. It’s very Harry Potter-esque, in a good way: the world has creative and alliterative names, a castle-school full of magical students, and fantastic beasts. I enjoyed learning about the history of the world and the crowns.
I found Ivy to be a likable and interesting main character. This is the first book in a series, and I’m interested to see how her relationships with Rebecca and Fyn continue to grow. Besides Ivy, my favorite character was Humboldt.
I only have a couple of criticisms. The plot is pretty predictable; however, this is middle-grade and it was still a fun read, so it wasn’t a deal breaker. I’m a harsh critic of dialogue, and I found the dialogue to be weak at times. I also wasn’t a fan of Night’s use of exclamation points and question marks together (?!).
All in all, this was a fun read that I definitely recommend for middle-grade readers who love Harry Potter.
VERDICT: 4 out of 5 books
Anna: Read 12/27/18
The Crowns of Croswald made me remember how good middle grade can be! I loved the worldbuilding in this. Alexis is right; it is slightly reminiscent of Harry Potter. I thought Professor Fenix a thinly-veiled Flitwick, and Woodley Butterlove. But I know it’s difficult to write anything fantasy without being compared to Harry Potter.
I loved the little details that made Ivy’s new world so magical and creative. Ivy’s allergen-ridden porcupine and her dim hairies are adorable, and they added to her overall scrappiness. There are also some hilarious scenes that made me literally laugh out loud, and I haven’t had that reaction to a book in a while.
Like Alexis, I guessed beginning, which is pretty standard for middle grade. I thought the beginning, when Ivy works as a squaldron maid, was a little rushed, and we don’t quite get to see much of Ivy’s unhappy situation before her world is changed and she goes to The Halls of Ivy. But we get the idea.
I’m confused by Ivy’s age. She is supposed to be fifteen, but reads as much younger. I think the intended audience would also be significantly younger than fifteen, so I don’t know why she wouldn’t be younger.
Overall I enjoyed this. It had all the elements of magic, innocence, and creativity of middle-grade fantasy that I didn’t realize I was missing.
VERDICT: 4 out of 5 books
Thank you to Stories Untold Press for sending each of us a copy to review!