(The following post is a review I wrote in June.)
(A big thank you to StoriesUntold and NetGalley for supplying a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!)
Do you love the Harry Potter stories? Are you intrigued by stories involving magic, fantasy, mystical creatures, and royal kingdoms? If so, you’ll likely love “The Crowns of Croswald”, an imaginative story about a 15-year-old girl named Ivy. Early in the novel, Ivy is invited to a magical boarding school, where she studies to become a “scrivenist” for a royal family.
Overall, “The Crowns of Croswald” tells an enchanting story based in a magical world. As other reviewers have mentioned, this book (especially the first few chapters) are quite reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. For example, Ivy, an orphan enduring a difficult home life, receives a formal invitation (with a quirky school supplies list) and spends an afternoon in magical shops searching for her school items. The school itself is in a castle filled with eccentric teachers.
However, the strongest parts of the book are the unique elements the author (D.E. Night) created, and these parts are what kept me reading. The story really begins to take root after the first couple chapters, with Ivy developing friendships with the characters of Fyn and Rebecca.
Some of my favorite bits included:
– The assortment of creatures (Scaldron dragons, animals which are used as sort of “castle oven.” How creative! Also hairies, magical “lantern” creatures I wanted to learn more about.)
– The glanagerie (a sort of alternate world students can practice magic in)
– The Compass Individualis (a magical record of a student’s actions)
The book is intended for younger readers, but the story’s flow might be a bit difficult for middle-schoolers to follow. At times, I had trouble determining the character’s goal. Another reviewer suggested an extra round of editing would have been helpful, and I agree. Perhaps additional developmental editing would have eliminated confusion about certain elements.
I do think this author clearly has a great imagination, evident through many details (like magical tea blends for student ailments). I’m sure Night’s future books will really highlight those unique creative abilities, strengthening their writing voice and story structure techniques!
I rate this book three crows.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Add it to your TBR list?