Book Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night

  • Title: The Crowns of Croswald
  • Series: The Croswald Series #1
  • Author: D. E. Night
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Absolutely! A charming read, and not just for actual young adults.

From Goodreads:

This is a page-turning fantasy in the tradition of fairy tales, whimsical worlds, and coming-of-age stories.

The Crowns of Croswald invites young readers to explore themes of stepping into their own magic, discovering their true selves, and battling evil head-on. Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as “an action-packed treat […] with a relatable heroine facing challenges in a vivid world of magic and mystery,” and called a new classic by readers, The Crowns of Croswald series is a magical romp through a fully formed universe with dragons, magical quills, potions, and mythical creatures.

Ivy Lovely is 16 and she has no idea who she is—or what her powers could be. When she crosses a magical boundary, she discovers a whole new world of enchantment and mystery. Making friends that will last a lifetime—and save her life—she steps into her own abilities and discovers more about her hidden past, magical blood, and the power of Croswald’s mystical stones. But all is not well: a dark history and an evil Queen threatens all that is good. Will Ivy’s bravery and wit be enough?

Curious and whimsical, both shy and brave, Ivy is a hero that connects with readers of all ages. For those who wished that Narnia, Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland could go on forever, Croswald opens a whole new world of magic. Recommended as a read-aloud for families and a first middle-grade fantasy read, The Crowns of Croswald is a four-part series that will carry readers to a whimsical world that they won’t want to leave. 

My review:

This was a delightful read! In it, we meet Ivy Lovely, a scaldrony maid at the House of Plum. She’s in charge of the scaldrons, small dragons who use their flames to cook the food. An unexpected turn of events sends her fleeing, with the smallest scaldron, beyond the magic-blocking border that she’s lived behind her entire life. And thus begins the new life of Ivy Lovely. Whisked off to a magical school, learning she’s got magical powers, training to be a Scrivenist, and learning she may be so much more than a scaldrony maid – it’s quite the adventure!

I liked the magical system Night created. Scrivenists have the ability to recall everything they see and record it through drawing and writing. Once trained, they are assigned to a royal family, to act as that family’s historian and record-keeper. Royals are able to use different types of magic by means of different stones. It was fascinating to see the different types of powers and how the scrivenists worked.

I also loved that she named one of the scrivenists Derwin Edgar Night. I see what you did there, D. E.! Derwin Edgar Night is a very important figure in the story. Ivy has been dreaming of a man, and she realizes it is Night. She needs to find him to learn more about who she is, what her family history is.

The characters are delightful. Ivy is a young lady thrust into a situation completely different from what she’s known. She handles it like you’d expect a teenager to do – sometimes she is grace and class, sometimes she’s just muddling through, but she never loses her sense of humor and she never gives up. I thought Rebecca was going to be a snot, but she turns out to be quite a good friend to Ivy. I hope to see more of their friendship in future books. And Finn – there’s a little spark there with Ivy, I think. Will something come of it? I’ll have to read more and see!

There’s a touch of Harry Potter to this – magical school, Ivy going shopping for her school supplies, magical creatures and transportation. But Ivy’s story is uniquely hers. It’s billed as YA fantasy, but I promise you that I’m nowhere near “young adult,” and I was absolutely captivated by the story. I recommend this for fantasy lovers from sixth grade to 60 and beyond! Five stars, and bring on book two!

Thanks to the author and publisher for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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