The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Note: I received a free copy of The Ring and the Crown from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Ring and the Crown was a cute little historical/fantasy novel that actually kind of reminded me of a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Twelfth Night). The story is Shakespearean in a way because almost everyone pretends to be someone they aren’t, some in disguise and some just through their actions, and they all begin the story in love with the wrong people.

The main story is set around Princess Marie Victoria and her newly returned friend Aelwyn who has been away at Avalaon to learn to control her magic. When she returns Marie is affianced to a Prince Leopold who both girls knew when they were younger. There are also side plots involving Leo’s lover and her cousin and lecherous uncle, Leo’s brother and an American girl who he’s expressed interest in, and Marie’s guard Gill.

It was very interesting to see how author Melissa de la Cruz envisioned a world where royal families had the help of their Merlins or Morgaines, aka sorcerers and sorceresses who can use magic to help change appearances, influence others, and basically help save or sink an entire nation. But it wasn’t just the magic that intrigued me, it was the lively characters.

Even though the “cast” as you might call it was large (even the secondary characters had full chapters dedicated to them) it was nice to see each of them fleshed out with motivations of their own and even resolutions to each of their stories. I also liked that each and every character learned something new about themselves and that, though they didn’t necessarily get the endings they had wanted, most of the good characters got relatively happy endings and the bad characters met endings they deserved.

Sometimes it’s just nice to read something that ends in such a nicely tied up way.

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