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Crown Duel: The Crown & Court Duet, Book I Hardcover – April 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Series: Crown and Court Duet (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152016082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152016081
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A girl in Remalna traditionally spends her Flower Day being feted, dancing with friends, and celebrating her passage to womanhood. Countess Meliara spends hers on the front lines of a war. She and her brother promised their dying father to free Remalna from the oppressive rule of Greedy Galdran and to preserve the vital Covenant with Remalna's aloof, unhuman Hill People. Courageous, stubborn Meliara, honorable and sharp-tongued, is determined to win or die fighting, and her hardships, uneasy alliances, and fondness for daring (foolhardy) tactics make anxious, unstoppable reading.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10. Short-tempered and unbelievably obtuse, Countess Meliara is a prickly and hostile heroine. Her combination of ignorance and bad judgment leads her into some sticky situations, providing occasions for her to glare, slam doors, or otherwise behave like an ill-bred child while her country is being exploited by a greedy king. Long before 200 pages end, many readers will be thoroughly tired of her. Intelligent readers won't get past the huge logical gap in the prologue: the Hill Folk had such powerful magic that Mel's people made a Covenant with them rather than face a fight, so why isn't that magic used to defeat the evil king who wants to break their Covenant? (In fact, it suddenly is, 21 pointless chapters later, just as Mel wakes up to how wrong she has been, on almost the last page.) An utterly predictable plot involving battles and strategies follows, featuring stupid mistakes and incredible rescues (feisty as Mel is, she still needs a prince, actually, a marquis here, to bail her out), is unredeemed by any felicity of style: Anglicisms ("Must say, he's been decent enough"); archaisms ("mayhap," "affright," "besorceled"); and slang ("blab," "ain't," "Looks like you got eggs in those shoes") jostle uncomfortably, often in the mouths of the same characters. The action is told, rather than shown. Reluctant readers face a plot of confusing intrigue, and some difficult vocabulary. Spare me Book II.?Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend them for most age groups who enjoy fantasy and action.
Nancy E. Merrill
It has everything a great book must have - great writing, fantastic dialogue, very well developed characters, and intriguing and unpredictable plot.
Ella
Still a very satisfying read that will leave you eager for the even better sequel.
B-Track

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Zoe on April 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Quite simply, these books are fabulous! I would recommend them to anyone who has enjoyed the works of Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley or Gail Carson Levine. Not only is the 'Crown Duel' duet an absolute page-turner, but they are also uniquely written, taking a refreshingly different perspective on the usual 'Medieval with Magic' setting that we all know and love so well. The heroine here - 16 year old Countess Meliara - is so feisty and full of anger but at the same time so wryly humourous and self-depreciating that it is impossible not to like her. Taking the duet to a whole new level however, is the Hero. To name him would be a spoiler for those who have not yet read these (in which case, what are you waiting for?) but he really is so...indescribably...obnoxious, that it is a wonder how Mel refrains from strangling him with her bare hands. Which of course, is why he's so utterly fabulous. Not even Tamora Pierce's Duke Roger can equal him for sheer slipperly sexiness. Sigh...

Anyhow, I would definately count these as some of my favorites, and they now hold a space on my keeper shelf. I await anything and anything else written by this autor with bated breath.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a veteran fantasy reader, I was a amazed by the sense of realism and believability Sherwood Smith instilled into the 'Crown Duel'.
So many other fantasy stories just drop you in wherever, and expect you to take the magic, the powers and the different races for granted. In Remalna, you see here growth for a frightened rebellious youth, to a mighty and skilled young woman. It was a new experience to see how a Thlanthian comes about, how normal people in fantasy worlds feel about magic powers and other races. How trees are sacred, how they can't even be killed for wood.
I have never had another book move me to the same depths of emotion as the 'Crown Duel'. Like others, I stayed up all night, not being able to put the book down. I remember clearly it being about 4am that I burst into tears and sobbed for about 15 minutes. I was not the only time I cried in the book. I also laughed at times, and grew to love Meliara and her friends.
If you love fantasy books, then this is a must read. A hint though, don't read the second book of the duet until you read the first! You won't be able to romp around with the characters, watching their personal growth, and emotions arise.
I don't know how many times I have read the books, too many times to recall. I pray for more books about Meliara and her world! From, Blythe
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. Merrill on December 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though this book is supposedly aimed at a much younger age group (I'm in my mid-30's), I picked it up about a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed reading both it and its sequel, COURT DUEL. Sherwood Smith has the rare ability to write fully realized characters, flaws and all, and interesting action sequences. I wish more authors and screenwriters would acquire this talent. Usually, when I read a book written for this age group, I find myself skimming sections of description or dialogue. That didn't happen with either book. If you enjoy reading fast-paced action and characters who actually develop and grow over the course of a story, get both books. My mother, who is well into her 60's, also enjoyed them very much. I would recommend them for most age groups who enjoy fantasy and action.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I could hardly put down this book once I started it. All of the characters, from the clever but at times naive Meliara and her loyal and friendly brother Bran to the intelligent and dangerous Shevraeth (what a fabulous name!), are compelling, interesting, and engaging. The world with its troubles is well-drawn, and the scope of the book allows many tantalizing glimpses into various aspects of life that Smith has imagined.
Although the plot is definitely exciting with its twists and turns and high stakes of the adventure, what makes this book are without a doubt the characters. Smith never generalizes about them nor makes excuses for their problems. As the book is written in the first-person from the point of view of Countess Meliara, we see her character the most clearly. Though she can be quick to judge and sometimes incredibly wrong about others, we cannot help but be sympathetic to her struggles and to her great spunk and honor throughout. Her perceptions obviously color her experiences, but on some level that makes the journey more interesting. We see her try to start a rebellion, get injured and captured, and deal with a whole host of people outside of her provincial and fairly sheltered life, and we are able to experience her insecurities as well as her triumphs. She is a compelling character, and the circumstances in which she, her brother, and her friends find themselves force them all to live to the best of their abilities. One cannot help but be drawn in.
I definitely recommend this book for lovers of good stories. As an adult, I enjoyed this book enormously, and I cannot thank Sherwood Smith enough for writing it. I'm starting Court Duel today, and I am thrilled that there is more ahead of Meliara, Branaric, Shevraeth (a fantastic character in this novel, and I can't wait to see more of him ahead), and the others.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beth Jones VINE VOICE on May 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Upon a recommendation, I read this book. Elegantly written with splendid character development, this book shines with a depth hardly expected from a fantasy novel. Meliara, hardly of age to be going to war joins her brother in a quest to rid the kingdom of a tyrant. Poor and without support from the rest of the nobles, the two miserably plod along on a trial/error basis until Meliara is caught by the enemy. Melaira, a hardy, but sensitive heroine begins a slow and rough but enlightening journey with Vidanric, the leader of the bad king's army. As she shows him her passion to protect the kingdom, he reveals the faults of her logic and revolution. The two while at odds begin to respect each other for their views, even as misguided as they are. In the end many revelations are made that only lead to many unanswered questions that can only be answered by reading "Court Duel." This book is great for girls looking for a lead female without the feminine stereotypes.
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