- File Size: 1843 KB
- Print Length: 297 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: February 28, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B078PFFWWD
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Staff and Crown (Two Monarchies Sequence Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Staff and Crown follows almost three years after the events of Blackfoot. Annabelle, the Queen Heir, is being shipped off to finishing school to be, well, finished. She teams up with Isabella
(character from Spindle and Heroin from Masque), and they immediately become a dynamic duo of rule breaking and intrigue.
Unfortunately, school isn't all fun and games for the duo; The Old Parrassioners are not happy about some girl's claim to the throne and they do everything they can to keep Annabelle from taking the throne, from infiltrating the school with false heirs to attacking it with an army.
Malchior, Annabelle, and Isabella (along with both old and new minor characters) are set to use their fists, wits, pencils, and top hats to defeat the enemy, and along the way maybe, just maybe, Melchior will be able to convince Annabelle that he's not a cat.
Staff and Crown brings back many of the awesome characters from the other books. We get to see Poly, Luck, and Onepiece again, and, of course, Isabella, who plays an integral role in the plot. As a side note, I loved getting to see background for Isabella! Masque has a special place in my heart as it was the first in the series (and of W.R. Gingell's books) that I read, so I'm very excited to re-read it now that these other books have been leading up to it.
Isabella is one of my favorite heroins, so I enjoyed her strong presence in this book. She comes back with that signature unflappably sanguine quick wit and I think has the majority of the humorous and clever lines in the book. If she's not poking bandits with her parasol or wielding deadly hatpins, she's wreaking havoc for the headmistresses of the school.
While I may be marvelously entertained by Isabella, I feel that Annabelle is deeply relatable and easy to connect with. Whereas in Blackfoot Annabelle had to be pushed into action, in Staff and Crown she gladly throws herself in. I enjoyed seeing her growth and appreciated that she didn't become a different person, but rather built upon who she was to begin with. I love that Ms. Gingell's characters tend to stay true to themselves, having distinct personalities that can mature without becoming strangers to their original selves.
I adored Malchior as a romantic interest in this book, perhaps as much as I loved Luck in Spindle. If there was one thing I would change in this book, it would be that I would put more Malchior in it. Malchior is ridiculously roundabout in his dealings, while actually being quite direct. The dichotomy is perfect. It's a little frustrating that both Malchior and Annabelle feel the need to push each other away and that they have so many misunderstandings, but I'm willing to let that go because there needed to be something keeping them apart until the end. I still would appreciate more kissing, but that's just a me thing, and I appreciate that Ms. Gingell's romances are so sweet and grounded rather than cheesy or based around lust. It's a breath of fresh air.
The real fun of the book comes from the flouting of the school rules. Just the class names had me laughing out loud. Isabella and Annabelle take such classes as Advanced Polite Conversation and Correct Corsetry, where they learn invaluable things like to cover their ears and scream when a man begins talking about undergarments in their presence as well as the great risks of women having pockets
As always, I have to end by putting down some of my favorite lines. I'm limiting it to just two this time:
"It's a conspiracy," said Luck, removing the sausage from his ear with the wearied look of one who has had the need, habitually, to remove sausages from his ears."
"If a girl is incapable of pretending to tighten her corsets, there's no hope for her in today's society."
Luckily, Annabel’s new friend, Isabella, is experienced with hidden passages, smuggling, and setting up the important classes that the Trenthams staff somehow overlooked, such as Explosives and Lock Picking. There are mysteries afoot, magical mayhem, and a powerful royal staff disguised as a pencil. The royal pencil, ahem, staff, comes in handy, as Annabel never knows when she might need to sketch herself – and her friends – out of a dicey situation. That’s good, because everything is not as it seems; there’s a revolution brewing and Annabel hasn’t even been crowned. There’s a lot of deception and deceit going about, and as Annabel learns, most of it is accomplished by lying, otherwise known as carefully speaking the absolute truth, or a touch of skillful misdirection.
There’s a lot of fun dialogue, banter, and camaraderie in The Staff and Crown. The world-building is fresh and the characters are likeable. Although this is third in a series, the author includes enough information that readers won’t get lost if they are reading this as a standalone novel. W.R. Gingell’s writing gets better with every book. The Staff and Crown is a really fun, engrossing read. Highly recommended.
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). My opinions are my own.
The romance was light and sweet. The magic was consistent. The danger was repetitive but frequent. The mysteries didn’t make me too curious.
My favorite parts were Isabelle’s many ways to break the rules or what she would do at finishing school to keep it from getting too boring (like teaching girls how to pick locks and make explosives). She also has a delightful way of looking at the world, practical and exuberant at the same time. She really is a Firebrand.
From smuggling contraband in one's bustle to exploding wizards on the lawn it's a romp that none of the girls at Trenthams Finishing School will forget. The book also prepares you for the next book in the series, "Masqe". Where the firebrand herself, Isabelle, takes center stage.
I highly recommend all the books in this series. they were my introduction to
W R Gingells ' wonderful talent and I have now resigned myself to reading them only as fast as she can write them, since I have read them all. Some of them more than once.
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