Title: The Crowns of Croswald Author: D. E. Night Year of publication: 2017 Publisher: Stories Untold
This book was kindly sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Crowns of Croswald is a great fantasy book with a magical boarding school setting in which the main character, Ivy, gets to explore themes such as friendships, secrets, questions of identity and who she really is, spiced up with a lot of mystical and strange occurrences.
At the beginning, Ivy is a maid tending to the dragons in the castle’s kitchen. Her only friend and family is the dwarf Rimbrick. She is a dreamer, an escapist and an avid reader. The Crowns of Croswald is most likely the kind of book Ivy herself would have loved to read, because it is so dreamlike and the perfect magical getaway to another world. I myself would have loved reading this as a child, just as much as I loved reading it as an adult, so it is definitely a book for all ages.
She dreams of the same castle every night. She finally leaves her dreadful life as a maid behind, taking the dragon Humboldt with her. Rimbrick has left her some money and books of magic to bring with her as well. She crosses a magical boundary that has kept her hidden all of these years, and is immediately admitted to the Halls of Ivy boarding school, where she will be training to become a scrivenist.
The school distinguishes between sqwinches, such as Ivy, and the royals, who have crowns and magical jewels. Ivy is an underdog to begin with, but not for long, as it turns out she is very special. There is something mysterious going on in Croswald involving Ivy, the Dark Queen, and one of the most powerful secrets in Croswald history.
Ivy is a very likable main character and most of the other characters are lovely as well. The cover of the book is gorgeous and captures the feeling and atmosphere of the book and what you can expect from reading it, very well. It’s a magical story from the very first page, where it immediately draws you into the picturesque setting of The Town and Croswald.
The writing is beautiful, dreamlike and rich in detail and sensation. It is the type of book that would surely do well as a movie on the big screen, as it is easy to imagine the stunning visuals throughout the story. The worldbuilding is impressive, right out of a fairytale, although a bit slow and very detailed in the beginning, but it is a great introduction to the universe.
The book is reminiscent of Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling’s imagination and writing style, humor and whimsical feel. One should always be cautious with these kinds of comparisons, but there are quite a few similarities in that it is a story set at a magical boarding school and a world inhabited by magicians and fantastical creatures. It is a good mix between Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland I would say, but still in a unique way.
The Crowns of Croswald was everything I hoped it would be, namely a great adventure. Magical is indeed the best word to cover this entire book. In addition, it has many cool graphic details throughout as well, and I had a fantastic time reading it. I highly recommend I for anyone who loves fantasy, fairytales and magical adventures. It is a fun, well though-out, creative and clever read, which was just what I was in the mood for at the time of reading it.
I’m looking very much forward to the second book in the series, which will be out soon, because I am far from done with this story, the characters and the world of Croswald.