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Crown Duel Kindle Edition

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Length: 425 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sherwood Smith started making books out of paper towels at age six. In between stories, she studied and traveled in Europe, got a Masters degree in history, and now lives in Southern California with her spouse, two kids, and two dogs. She’s worked in jobs ranging from counter work in a smoky harbor bar to the film industry. Writing books is what she loves best. She’s the author of the high fantasy History of Sartorias-deles series as well as the modern-day fantasy adventures of Kim Murray in Coronets and Steel. Learn more at

Product Details

  • File Size: 1240 KB
  • Print Length: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Book View Cafe; 3 edition (February 7, 2010)
  • Publication Date: February 7, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,847 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Yasmeen Mandour-Brackin on July 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is easily my favorite book. I first read it in early high school and now, at the end of college, get just as much if not more out of it with every re-read. It combines a vivid, original fantasy world with realistic sociological and political portrayals and analyses, absolutely fascinating to any sociology or political science major. Neither the magic nor the romance overpower this book; the romance is fulfilling even while the book focuses on more important themes.

The most fascinating part of this book, however, and what brings me back to read it over and over again, is the heroine, Mel. She makes real mistakes, misinterprets practically everything, and is driven further into trouble by the very ignorance she strives to rid herself of. Mel is as real to any young adult (or anyone who remembers that age) as any heroine ever written. I can't count how many times I've read of her mistakes and winced myself in sympathy, knowing I've made the same mishaps and showed identical character faults. Anyone who enjoys realistic fantasy with a dash of romance and sci-fi will adore this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lynnie-Lou-Who on January 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow. I got this book for Christmas and I could not put it down! From the very beginning Smith hooked me with the way Mel was a Countess in a crumble-down castle, and she was fighting the good fight with no other noble to help her. Mel's brother is nice, but he doesn't understand her. The one person who understands her is her so-called "enemy," Shevraeth. He was sent by the king to put down her uprising.

I'm not going to give the whole book away, so let me just say that this has something for everyone. Girl tries to kick butt, but finds it is harder than it looks. Then she's a captive, and running from the bad guys. Later, she is playing a game of deception and secrets when she goes to court. And, last, but definitely not least, she falls in love.

I love the way Sherwood Smith's characters are all well-developed, no matter the role they play in the book. I am amazed and gratified at the incredible job she did.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By New in VT on January 16, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a bit shocked by the rave reviews for this book (originally 2 books merged into 1). The story tells the tale of Mel - a young, poor, tomboy of a noble who gets swept up into the bigger world when the evil King sets his sights on her little corner of the world. Eventually she makes her way to court where she strives to overcome her ignorance and succeed in the complex web of relationships that make up the court. Sounds promising, yes?

The first half of the book finds Mel largely on the run from the evil King and his minions. During this adventure she makes so many poor choices, including consistently being rude and untrusting to the one person who repeatedly saves her life, that it becomes difficult to continue to cheer her on. Also, somewhat humorously, Mel finds herself unconscious every time anything exciting is going on. Madcap escape from the dungeon? Well it happens but you don't really know how because Mel snoozed through the whole thing. So much of the adventure is lost as its basically happening "off camera."

Later at court Mel is supposedly learning to navigate the labyrinth of courtly manners and intrigue. But sadly there is absolutely no tension about it. Mel seemingly has nothing at risk, there isn't really much point for her to be there, and at any point she could happily return to her home without any repercussion. The given reason for her to be there is to decide if the heir apparent to the crown (Shevraeth who after saving her life repeatedly seems to be still highly suspect as a person - seriously?!?!) will be a good king. However she gives almost no time to figuring this out as she is too busy with pointless social outings and party planning. She also strikes up a pen-pal relationship with a mysterious person which supposedly develops over time.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...I absolutely loved this book!!! I can't write a book review to save my life but this was a 10 star book all the way. As soon as I put this down I was ready to read the sequel...only to realize it was out of print and was too expensive to buy... The action keeps you going, the bravery and heroism that young Meliara must demonstrate is an awesome experience. I was astounded by this book. I re-read it so many times I practically know it by heart. Read it! It's sooo COOL!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shari on February 5, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I give this book 2.5 Stars.

The idea for this story was a good one, promising. But. I read that this was originally meant to be just one book, but the author had to write it as two for some reason, then was allowed to combine them into one later on - the story suffered as a result of this, if it's true.

The first half (Crown Duel) is... well, it was just boring and does not feel like a complete story. The main character Meilara is on the run and it should be exciting, but it feels dragged out and her misplaced attitude and bad decisions are too frustrating for my tastes. In the second half, Mel's gotten a bit better, she's educating herself, but her judge of character hasn't much improved and her brother's obliviousness is, again, frustrating.

I wanted badly to like the love interest, but you're not given a chance to get to know him enough because Meliara is too stubborn, so when they do finally get together, you're left wondering why this guy still wants to be with her.

It's a pity that the whole tale wasn't written in Shevraeth's point of view - at the end of the ebook, there are some scenes retold in his POV and they're so much more interesting, you get to know him (he actually has a personality, and a sense of humor!) and see the side characters in a more interesting and revealing way, and you can understand why and when he fell in love with Meliara.

I will say that it got much better by the end of the book, I enjoyed it a bit as Mel got out of her own way, but it took quite a while to get to that point. If you are looking for a good read from this author, I would suggest The Trouble With Kings, instead of this one.
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