While I’m not usually a fan of the fantasy genre in fiction, I do love historical fiction especially ones with strong female characters. In her latest book, The Ring & the Crown, Melissa de la Cruz has done an amazing job of mixing historical fiction with magical elements. The Ring & the Crown was such a captivating read from start to finish.
One of the things I loved about this book was that the story was that it was mostly told from the point of view of the female characters. This allowed me to feel sympathy for characters that I otherwise would hate such as Ronan, the social climbing American and Isabelle of Orleans who is willing to do anything to get back her lover who has become betrothed to Princess Marie-Victoria. As you can imagine there are a lot of characters in this book but surprisingly, it worked well for the story. Each of the characters’ voices were so distinct that there were never any confusion or mix up. I ended up loving all of the narrators, and couldn’t help but root for each and every one of them. Melissa de la Cruz does an excellent job of connecting each of her characters with one another; in particular, I truly enjoyed the relationship between Princess Marie-Victoria and Aelwyn Myrddyn who are the main players in this book as well as the friendship between Marie-Victoria and Wolfgang.
Although The Ring & the Crown is part fantasy, I felt it was especially accurate in how it portrayed the harsh realities and the fact that in real life there is no perfect happy ending for princes and princesses back then unlike the princes and princesses in fairy tales. This was the only thing I disliked about this book for the reason that I was starting to care so much for all the characters and I wanted them all to be happy. In the end it was extremely heartbreaking how almost all the characters just couldn’t seem to catch a break no matter what they did. I did however like the ending because it symbolized hope and optimism and signaled that there are more great things to come in the series. The Ring & the Crown is a novel filled with gorgeous prose and breath taking world building and descriptions. And while there was a lot of (mostly forbidden and tragic) romance in the book, I actually found it enjoyable since some of the pairings were actually sweet and there was more than enough magic, political intrigue and history in the plot to keep me hooked. The Ring & the Crown was my first book by Melissa de la Cruz and it won’t be my last. Overall I think this book has elements that would appeal to both fans of historical fiction and fantasy.
If you like this book, you’ll love: The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.