The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
I received a free copy of this book from Stories Untold Press in exchange for an honest review.
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Lovely lives a life of drudgery as a scaldrony (scullery) maid. She has never been far from the very unspecial Castle Plum where she has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When she finally crosses the border, her powers awaken.
This book is aimed at Harry Potter fans, a dangerous trajectory to take unless a book is stellar. This one is not.
Within the first paragraph, this MG fantasy garners one strike against it: a tense shift in the second sentence. This is followed by a muddled and unnecessary 10 page prologue—yes, a 10 page prologue in a MG novel—the second strike. The third strike is a more generalized one: The details and names are slightly ridiculous and so reminiscent of HP that my eyes hurt from rolling. As in baseball, three strikes and you’re out.
I did not finish this book. I stopped reading at page 124.
I asked my 11 year old to read it.
She put it down after a few pages: “The prologue is confusing.” Yes it is, young jedi. I have taught you well.
My husband read a few pages (I wanted to be sure I wasn’t judging it too harshly):
“There’s a tense change in the first paragraph.” He put the book down.
The premise is interesting and the writing is not bad but the execution and editing are. It felt like a second draft that had not seen many critique partners, let alone a good editor. I feel guilty for abandoning this book, but I have a huge pile of worthy ones to read and my own second manuscript to work on.
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