Hi! As we’ve established before, I’m terrible at intros and like to go straight to the point (just to absolutely meander later on, because when do I make perfect sense?) and it’s time for another review, so let’s just get into it.
- Publication date: July 21st 2017
- Publisher: Stories Untold
- Genre: Fantasy
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been in a big Middle-Grade mood for quite a long time now, so when I was approached with an offer of reviewing this book I jumped on it immediately. The blurb sounded magical and like something right up my alley. Unfortunately, after reading the book I was left with some mixed feelings.
I’m going to jump right in and not give you a synopsis, because that’s just how I roll. While the idea for the book was great, it wasn’t too original. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is new anymore, everything has been done before in some shape or form, I know that, but the amount of parallels between The Crowns of Croswald and Harry Potter was astounding. Ivy being an orphan, who sleeps in the cupboard, going to a magical school, does that ring a bell? The one mention of money is so reminiscent of J.K. Rowling’s system it made me do a double take. The letter of acceptance with a list of things needed for the school term and the street on which Ivy does her shopping… I mean, one of her teacher’s name is Filbert Fenix and he’s so small he has to stand on a chair and a stack of books. If that’s not a reimagined Filius Flitwick, I don’t know what is. There’s even a Peeves of sorts, he’s just called Jester. I could go on for a while, but I think I’ve made my point.
There are many original bits of the story, too, which could make an incredibly rich and magical world if not overshadowed by he aforementioned things. The story itself definitely had a potential and maybe develops more in the next books. I enjoyed the magic system (though I wanted to know more about it), the way the Startus works, and people turning into tomes, and the bits and pieces we got of the world was quite interesting. Minus the slurry. It’s never really explained what it is, and a mention of slurry fields make me think of manure slurry. Was it on purpose? Is it just about fields heavily fertilised with… shit? Or am I wrong? Please tell me I’m wrong.
Ivy was not my favourite protagonist. She was selfish and made a lot of terrible decisions. She wasn’t a particularly good friend, either. I think has she been younger (12 or 13) or if the book was more YA than Middle-Grade, I would enjoy her more. I wish we got more depth from the supporting characters, a bit more Winsome (unfortunately he turned into a plot device) and less mentions of Woodley Butterlove loving butter.
Overall, I thought the book had a really huge potential that just wasn’t reached. The plot, though busy and exciting, seemed choppy and all over the place. Everything moved too smoothly. The whole middle part of the book was one event blending into the other, and suddenly we were nearing the end of the year – it did not feel like months have passed. I wish the story flowed better, because it’s definitely one that could be read in one or two sittings. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would and I found it slow to get through. Too bad, because as I said, the potential was sizeable.
Thank you for reading! I’ll talk to you soon.