Title/Author: Crown of Feather by Nicki Pau Preto
Page Count: 496 Pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Obtained: I borrowed a copy from my local library
GR Summary: I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
Character | Atmosphere | Writing Style
Crown of Feathers is an intense, slow-burning YA fantasy novel. It is told in multiple perspectives, mainly switching between; Veronyka, a young girl who is desperate to become a Phoenix rider, Tristan, a young Phoenix Rider eager to prove himself to his father, and Sev an animage serving in the Empire’s army at risk if his powers are found. There is also a chapter written from Veronyka’s sister’s point of view which I don’t know how I feel about yet. xD
The world building is incredible. I feel like Nicki Prau really took her time to weave the history and the political climate into the characters’ lives and reasonings for what they’re doing. There are letters between the sister queens, forensic reports, and even history book excerpts which just furthered the realism of this fantasy realm and made it feel more plausible. I really enjoyed Prau’s writing style, it’s that descriptive without dragging type of style that always tickles my fancy.
Despite the fact that Sev isn’t my favorite character, he has my favorite character development. Veronyka and Tristan fall into their trope easily and without feeling gimmicky, but I felt that their development was a little predictable. Sev on the other hand, was so wishy-washy and intent on saving his own skin that I wasn’t really sure where he fit into the story for a while. And then he makes some decisions and grows into his own and it made me feel so happy. I do wish that his development had been shown a bit more rather than just the quick sentences we got. But I know I might be the only one who thinks that.
Plot | Intrigue | Logic | Enjoyment
There is SO much going on in this story and it’s not always clear how they work together. First, there’s Veronyka at the beginning with her sister and they’re trying to hatch phoenix eggs. One hatches and the other doesn’t, deepening the rift between the two of them. Then Val makes some crappy decisions and Veronyka sets off on her own to find other Phoenix riders. Second, there’s Sev who is just trying to survive being an animage by hiding who he really is to avoid becoming a bondservant and instead becomes a soldier. Except, he’s not really a soldier and he’s not really an animage after putting a damper on his magic for so long. So he’s just trying to figure it all out. Thirdly we have Tristan, the Commander’s son desperate to prove himself and torn between the traditional methods of using animagick and treating the animals like friends and equals. And you spend the entire book wondering how everything is going to come together. Which, I’m not going to lie. The first 75% of this book is very slow-burning. It’s a lot more training montages, relationship/world building, and Sev’s internal struggles than exciting battles. Until the last 25% which is just incredible. There are plot twists and intense battle sequences. And it’s just incredible.
This book does employ a natural progression of events for the most part. I think the only time that I was confused was when the Eyrie manager said something about going supernova and I wasn’t convinced that in this world that supernovas are actually a thing, you know? But they could be. Who knows?
Obviously, I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy slower burning fantasies, especially for initial books. My lowest rated section was character and even then it was still a 7 out of 10 which is fine. It was just a predictable progression of character development for the two Phoenix riders. I would definitely recommend this to people who enjoy more plot-driven fantasies, girls disguised as boys to get what they want, and wishy washy characters who eventually redeem themselves. Definitely hoping that there is a second one and if there is as soon as it is announced it’s going on my TBR.
Total Score: 7.1 out of 10
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars