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Comment: A good, clean ex library issue hardback with a few usual marks. Has nicely clean, previously protected, dust jacket with minimal imperfection. A very faint spot of discoloration at the bottom edge of pages present. Rather light/little handling wear. Rip, crease and other markings free text/pages.
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Coronets and Steel (Dobrenica, Book 1) Hardcover – September 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

History aficionado and champion fencer Aurelia Kim Murray investigates her taciturn grandmother's European roots and her own identity in Smith's sweeping, feminist Ruritanian romance. Kidnapped by Prince Alec Ysvorod, who mistakes her for his not-much-beloved fiancée, the slightly-too-perfect Kim is thrust into the complicated and potentially deadly politics of a small, haunted kingdom threatened equally by its neighbors as by its scheming ruling families. Smith (Inda) engages readers with humor and rapier-sharp wit, and extensive details from Central European history (right down to a 19th-century method of stamping coins) make the nation of Dobrenica terrifically real. Though readers who prefer lightning-paced books may stumble over long sections of expository conversations, a lively heroine, mysterious ghosts, and a complex and intricate plot always get the action going again.
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From Booklist

Smith’s modern-day fairy tale, influenced by the current urban-fantasy rage, finds 23-year-old Kim traveling across Europe to learn about her grandmother’s mysterious past (Grandma has becomes terribly ill and refuses to speak). Kim’s questions are much more dangerous than she realizes after she is kidnapped in Budapest. Taking matters into her own hands, she travels to the little-known Eastern European country of Dobrenica; there she not only uses her language and fencing skills but also accepts her ability to see ghosts. With two darkly attractive men (not to mention her grandmother’s secret husband) pursuing Kim, the romance plot is nicely woven into the story, both its contemporary and past components, along with plenty of action and adventure. Enough plotlines are left unresolved that at least one sequel must be in the works. Highly recommended for all fantasy and general-fiction collections, as the potential readership is wide, from urban-fantasy readers looking for something lighter but still complex to young women who grew up reading the Princess Diaries series. --Jessica Moyer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756406420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756406424
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sherwood Smith studied in Austria, finally earning a master's in history--she's been a governess, a bartender, and wore various hats in the film industry before turning to teaching for 20 years. She began her publishing career in 1986. To date she's published over forty books, nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ancamna on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Coronets and Steel at Barnes and Noble the other day, since I had a B&N gift card I'd been saving, and a desperate urge for a new book.

I finished it last night at 1 am, and the only reason I didn't finish it the night before (really, earlier that day) at 5 am was that I had had a really long day and my eyes were fuzzing out on me. As I paged toward the end I glared in horror at the meager five pages awaiting my greedy eyes. What do you mean there were only a few pages left? The story couldn't be over, could it? Luckily, there will be a sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting.

Coronets and Steel begins with a Kim, a new college graduate, searching through Europe for traces of her family history*. A vague memory of her mother's and a couple theater tickets have brought her to Vienna, where she resumes her quest in a genealogy office. Leaving the office, she sees her first ghost, though she doesn't know it at the time, who leads her into an encounter with a man who swears he knows her. But she's never met him in her life.

He's handsome though, and polite, so she gets a drink with him...and ends up waking up on a train. And promptly escapes out the window.

A zigzag chase ensues with the handsome Alec finally apologizing and explaining his mistake. Turns out she looks just like someone named Ruli, who also happens to be Kim's cousin. A bit of Kim's family history is explained and she ends up traveling to Dobrenica, a small country in the Carpathian Mountains, where her grandmother was born. Where her grandmother was a princess.

I admit to being pleasantly surprised with much of this plotline. You're not going to get Princess Diaries here.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By florkow on October 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Only Sherwood Smith consistently writes YA books that I, being over 40, enjoy reading.

Again, here, a good intelligent story, cleverly plotted and creative good fast paced fun.

Additonally, and this is hard to do: The sense of place and history never missed, I live in Vienna and travel Europe a lot, also reading about history and economics. Here, all this is in the background, while an exciting, good story happens, and you read and read just for the plot and people, and yet - this book has a great sense of place and time, without ever boring and preaching, even a little, Ms Smith gives you a perfect view of the tensions and long reaches of a complicated history right in the middle of Europe, of Germans, Russians, Austrians, and centuries of powergames and wars - all that makes the choices of modern young people difficult. But Sherwood Smith never bores you, or tells you. She shows: Seeing how Kim learns and understands this was very good storytelling, wow! ( Like others, I found Kim very dense occasionally, but never unbearably so. )

Pantastic book - thank you!!!

I regret that I am left with half a story. The ending here is no ending at all, just a hiatus, at best.

While being willing - very willing - to spend money on Sherwood Smith, I feel slightly cheated when I get half a book. Long book, good book, but I want some closure when I will have to wait a while. This is my only complaint, and I have not taken away stars for it, as I do not know who makes decisions on book size, cutting of sequels etc.

Buy, read, enjoy this lovely book, just be aware that this has no real ending, you will want to know desperately what happens next.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gemma on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
But I was very disappointed by this book. In my experience, Smith's characters are so accessible; I usually breathlessly read through her story, desperately waiting for characters to realize their true love. I love her style and love reading her novels.

However, this one lacked so much. I respect her as an author, so I will only list the basic problems I found to give another view for avid Smith fans:

-The slang that Kim uses can be grating. I'm embarrassed when she talks at points, and I'm surprised when people fall for her. I could feel Smith trying to bring Kim to life with her language, but it throws you off more than makes you like her.

-My personal biggest problem was with the conversation between Kim, the heroine, and the prospective love interest. I expected to feel so much tension when Kim and this individual interacted - I wanted to believe they cared for each other, but except for spending a lot of time together, I sensed a familiarity with each other, no sparks.

-The characters: Many of the characters seemed to lack depth. I found Alec to be a little lifeless; I know he hides his emotions, but compared to Shevrath from Crown/Court Duel he is just...boring. I also felt like I barley know Kim. Hopefully Ruli makes a better show for herself in the next book, because the little I know about her wasn't great. Similar in personality to Eleandra from The Trouble with Kings, but flatter. Tony wasn't as bad, but he seemed to be to nice and mellow to be held to such a villainous regard.

I have an affinity for strong characters, and maybe that's where things fell out for me. The idea of the plot wasn't bad, but I just didn't find any heart in the character relations. Take what you will from my review and others, and give the book a shot. However, it's no Crown Duel in my book.
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