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Crown Duel (Crown Duel / Court Duel) Mass Market Paperback – June 10, 2002
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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 www.sherwoodsmith.net.
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Top Customer Reviews
Overall I didn't think this book was anything great, but it was entertaining enough to keep me interested through to the end.
I thought the parts with Meliara on the run in the first book were exciting. In the second book, building the world of the Court of Athanarel and all of the court intrigue was fun.
The ending was actually kind of anticlimactic for me. I mean, the final hurrah seemed to get wrapped up really quick and easy.
As for the romance, I would have liked to have seen the two interact AFTER the big revelation. Everything building up to it was nice though.
Make sure you purchase the duet, not just the first part (also called "Crown Duel") or the second part ("Court Duel"). When you buy them both together in the Kindle edition, there are several delightful "epilogues" that go back and show you key parts of the story from a different character's viewpoint. My favorite is the conversation between Russav and Vidanric -- I won't tell you why!
The bulk of this part of the book concerns Meliara's capture and escape and her desperate attempts to elude a huge hunt to recapture her. IWe admire her courage and resourcefulness and this part of the book is quite suspenseful and exciting.
Part II of the book is a complete change of tone. Meliara is now a full-fledged duchess trying to learn the ways of the royal court -- the manners, the dress and the shifting and opaque political intrigues, alliances and plots going on. She embarks on a correspondence with an anonymous adviser and mentor -- although the identity of this unnamed personage has to be perfectly obvious to every reader. Meliara's admiration for her pen pal begins to deepen into love -- although this is one of the soggiest, least passionate lover affairs I have yet come across.
In Part II, magic and mages suddenly enter the plot. There is a climax -- and all is resolved.
Of the three parts, the first is by far the best. The second is the longest and the most boring. The third is the most incongruous -- seemingly tacked on to the rest of the book like an unwanted appendage.
But somehow, always the same. Romantic fantasy, stock characters. Maybe young teens will like it (in these cynical days, who can tell?). Give me Simon Green's Hawk & Fisher/Blue Moon series any day!
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.