The Crowns of Croswald (The Crowns of Croswald #1) By D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald (The Crowns of Croswald #1) By D.E. Night

Title: The Crowns of Croswald (The Crowns of Croswald #1)
Author: D.E. Night
Published: July 27th, 2017
Length: 314 pgs.
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Publisher: Stories Untold

The Crowns of Croswald is the debut book by author D.E. Night; it’s the first in a magical new fantasy series. I received The Crowns of Croswald from the publisher Stories Untold Press free in exchange for a review through my bookstagram page.

The premise of the book is Magic known in the world of Croswald as Scrivenery. After all, what’s more, magical than writing. Magicians are known as Scrivenist and study scrivenery in Ravenshollow, training at the Halls of Ivy, a school for scrivernist. There are several branches of royal families each producing princes and princess with limited magical ability. The main royal branch produces the Queen who rules Croswald. Croswald is currently under the rule of the Dark Queen. A cruel Queen who is leading an unnaturally long life and causing misery whenever she and her minions go. The Dark Queen is the Villain of this story, and that’s about all I’m going to give away.

The book opens with a rather vague prologue but as the plot concludes everything begins to come together. The main story opens with Ivy Lovely taking the stage. Ivy is a bright young girl who dreams of a life filled with adventure and magic, a stark contrast to Ivy’s reality at the start of the book, living the glum life as a scaldrony maid at Castle Plum surrounded by magic dampening Slurry fields.

Ivy is a lonely orphan with one friend, a Dwarf named Rimbrick. Rimbrick occasionally brings Ivy gifts and indulges her with stories of Magic and Mischief. Rimbrick has only a small part and is the second character we meet, but he is integral to the plot of the story.

On Ivy’s 16th birthday everything changes. Everything Ivy has ever dreamed of starts happening for her. Ivy is transported by Cabby to Ravenshollow and enrolled as a scrivenist studying magic at The Halls of Ivy.

But it’s not all rainbows and gumdrops. Once Ivy arrives at the school the action begins. From the moment Ivy arrives in Ravenshollow strange things start to occur. Quills take on minds of their own and leave their Scrivernist. Paintings begin to change things are going on that Ivy doesn’t understand, but she’s determined to get to the bottom of things.
Rebecca is a princess, she wants to study scrivenry, but her mother won’t have it. She’s a very down to earth girl she and Ivy are roommates; she eventually becomes Ivy’s best friend and partner in crime along with Fyn. Fyn is another Scrivenry student. A budding romance occurs between him and Ivy. Fyn always seems to be in the right place at the wrong time, just as Ivy is getting into mischief Fyn seems to pop up out of thin air going along for the ride.

The plot revolves around the mystery of the Dark Queen, the wandering family, and a mysterious scrivernist named Derwin Edgar Knight who no one can remember except for Ivy. Ever since Ivy’s arrival at Ravenshollow, the Dark Queen has been stirring. The Dean of the school is known as the selector. She is the ultimate authority at The Halls of Ivy, but she’s hiding something.

One of the things that stood out to me in the book was the world building. The worldbuilding seemed effortlessly achieved, descriptive and original. Fairies are known as hairies who have glowing hair and are used as Lanterns. Giant Seahorses. Quills instead of wands. Dragon Caldrons, A forgotten room which causes any item or person within to be forgotten forever.

That being said if I had to pick the worst thing about the novel it’s the world building. Because this is a first book set in a world straight out of the author’s mind, the extensive world building was required. Because of this, the world building took up about as much literary real estate as the plot and action (Sad Face). However, the world building was well done and necessary. And I only noticed because the plot/action parts were so interesting I wanted more.

The character development was done well, and I appreciated the level of mystery shrouding Ivy’s story. But I was left with questions at the end of the book. Like what are the roles of the other princes and princess, what purpose do they serve maybe I’ll get my answers in book two?

In closing, I enjoyed the book. D.E. Nights world of Croswald has a little something for everyone. Magic and a slew of fantasy creatures. I found the book to be well written, well edited, and original. It’s a Fantasy novel suitable for middle-grade readers and above. I give The Crowns of Croswald 3 out of 5 stars and recommend this book to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

The Author D. E. Night is contracted for a total of 4 books in The Crowns of Croswald series with the second book The Girl with the Whispering Shadow (The Crowns of Croswald, #2) to currently set for release on Jan 23rd, 2019 and currently available for pre-order on Amazon. I look forward to reading book two.

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab a.k.a V.E. Schwab

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab a.k.a V.E. Schwab

Title: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab a.k.a V.E. Schwab
On Sale Date: August 28, 2018
Ages: 8-12
Grades: 3-7
Length: 304 pgs
Genre: Horror & Ghost Stories, Paranormal, Action & Adventure
Publisher: Scholastic Press

              City of ghost is the first book in Victoria Schwab’s new Cassidy Blake grade school book series. The main Character is Cassidy Blake your average 12-year-old girl, except she can see ghost. Cassidy’s backstory is the cliché brush with death leaves me with the ability to see ghost origin story, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring or unoriginal. I mean how many different ways can a person get that type of ability, you’re either born a medium, or you almost die.

 Cassidy doesn’t understand her powers and is flying by the seat of her pants. She has this ghost radar that goes off when there’s a ghost nearby. Cassidy can also cross into the land of the dead. Jacob is ghost and Cassidy’s best friend, he’s a major supporting character; and aside from being dead he’s just like any other 12-year-old boy, he loves comics and ironically scares easily. There’s some mystery surrounding how Jacob died and some things he’s been keeping from Cass about the day he saved her, and about her powers.

              Then, Of Course, we have Mom & Dad who are sort of background characters they’re utterly clueless about Cass’s powers. They write a paranormal book series. Cassidy’s parents eventually get a deal to turn their books into a show where they travel all over the world visiting haunted places. And that’s when the story begins.

              Cass travels to Edinburgh Scotland with her parents who are shooting the first episode of their show. Edinburgh is ripe with paranormal activity. Edinburgh is where Cassidy meets another girl like her Lara. Lara can also see ghost and travel through the veil.  Lara knows much more about her abilities and their purpose and reluctantly indoctrinates Cass and Jacob into her world.

              The Plot of the story revolves around ghost, dangerous ones who gain power by preying on the living or doing dark deeds. The Major Villian is the Raven lady a distraught ghost who lures children to their icy death during the winter stealing parts of their souls for power. Cassidy trips the Raven Lady’s radar and becomes prey; Cassidy, Jacob, and Lara race against time to keep Cassidy in the land of the living.

             There were many things I loved about the book. One is that the Author managed to capture the essence of the main characters they were perfectly balanced, realistic and believable. The second thing I loved was that the author takes the reader on a tour of Edinburgh’s most famous haunts and landmarks, tossing out a bit of history to go with it.

             The last and equally important things I loved about the book is the writing style. I love that the writing isn’t super basic. I don’t have kids yet. But if I did this is the type of book I’d want them to read. Something interesting, but with a vocabulary that is challenging enough to put the brain to work. I didn’t feel like whoa why I am reading this it’s way beyond my reading level. I felt like wow, even though my reading level is way more advanced than this, the level of writing doesn’t make me feel like I had no business reading the book. City of Ghost is an engaging read which becomes more entrancing as the story reaches its climax.

           Your child may be old to enough to read on their own, but this would also make a good read for quality time with your kids, remember, it’s a bit of a spooky tale.

           I give City of Ghost five out of Five stars. I encourage you to put this book on your child’s reading list. If your kids are into spooky stories and ghostly adventures, City of Ghost is the book for them. Look for this title wherever books are sold Aug 28th 2018.

Interested in more from Victoria Schwab?

 Victoria as Victoria Schwab On Goodreads

Victoria as V. E. Schwab On Goodreads