Series: The Ring and the Crown #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1st 2014
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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.
And it didn’t!
Taking place in an alternative version of London, The Ring and The Crown focuses on two girls, Marie and Aelwyn. The sick and frail Marie. The head-strong and powerful Aelwyn. Marie was born to be the next Queen, but it is Aelwyn who has the true potential to be a leader. One must rule while the other serves. Two girls, one uncertain future. Who will it be?
From the very beginning, I was in love with this world. The alternative version of history which leads our world down a completely different path… all thanks to magic. Now, I won’t say the world-building here is perfect. It certainly is far from it. However, in this case, I can almost overlook it. The history and changes from what we know to be true are important, but The Ring and The Crown is more than just about the history, it’s about these girls and their future.
While I originally thought The Ring and The Crown was only going to be just about Marie and Aelwyn, it isn’t. Adding to the mix are two other girls. Their stories interwoven with Marie and Aelwyn, their futures often shaped by the actions of our two main characters. I did love Marie and Aelwyn, but I think it is Ronan Astor who really steals the show. Her romance and trials made this book leap from really good to amazing! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I love me some Wolf.
The ending to The Ring and The Crown ties everything up nicely. It appears that there will be a sequel, so I am a little on the fence with that. Personally, I thought everything tied up nicely in the end, no true strings left hanging, so I vote for this being a stand alone story. However, I would not be sad to see more of these characters.
A little fluffy. A little bit magic and romance. A lot of fun!