Cover of The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night. Glowing fairies trapped in glass light fixtures.

About the Book

Title: The Crowns of Croswald (The Crowns of Croswald #1)
Published: 2017
Series: The Crowns of Croswald

Cover Story: They Love It. Trust Me.
Drinking Buddy: Sure, Why Not
Testosterone Estrogen Level: There’s Desert
Talky Talk: Distracted
Bonus Factors: Boarding School
Bromance Status: Night School Classmate

Cover Story: Trust Me, They Love It

Those creatures are Harries, magical glowing creatures the students use as illumination. They’re somewhat intelligent, but the author never really delves into how they feel about being used as living light bulbs. I’m sure they’re fine with it.

The Deal:

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Lovely is a poor orphan, abused by those who are supposed to care for her. This all changes when she receives notice that she’s been accepted into the Halls of Ivy, a boarding school where she’ll learn real magic! After purchasing her books and supplies at several zany magic shops, she arrives at the castle-like school where she befriends some other young magicians, takes classes from a series of unusual professors (geez, that one really seems to have it out for Ivy), meets the school ghosts, and learns to control her powers.

But all is not well. The mysterious head of the school is keeping some strange secret locked up in a vault. One of the kids from a powerful magic family has taken a dislike to Ivy. An evil sorceress seems to be after her. And Ivy may be more powerful and special than she ever imagined.

Hang on…

Drinking Buddy: Sure, Why Not

Two pints of beer cheersing

Scrappy heroine, morally straight, fighting the bad guys. etc, etc. There’s a boy named Fyn and there’s a little smoulder.

It’s just that there was nothing to really distinguish Ivy. Her roommate is sucked into another dimension and she seriously thinks about ways to save her. Oh, wait, she’s back. She’s rescued from a life as a slave kitchen girl. Hey, neat. Transported to a magical pirate ship. Wow.

I like you, but in a world of Hermiones and Katnisses, it’s difficult to get excited about the English major down the hall.

Testosterone Estrogen Level: There’s Dessert

Lots of exciting bits with spells and flying carriages and porcupines. In this world, magic is commonplace and no one has to hide it from the muggles. I liked this quasi-medeival world where quills have magic powers and ovens are powered by friendly little dragons. And there are magic pies. I’d love a magic pie.

Talky Talk: Distracted

The book had a few issues. A lot of the chapters seemed disjointed, making it difficult to figure out what the overarching conflict was. Ivy’s obscure parenting? How she fits in with her classmates? The evil queen?

Also, while 90% of the book was from Ivy’s point of view, we’d randomly switch over to some other character’s POV for a few paragraphs, which I found unnecessary and confusing.

Still, I liked Ivy, her friends, and this book’s universe. There will be more books in this series and I’m anxious to read about Ivy’s further adventures.

Bonus Factor: Boarding School

Regal old boarding school building with turrets and ivy on the stone walls

While I’m not sure I’d enjoy wearing a school uniform, I think it might be a neat experience to live with other like-minded students. Ivy’s roommate, Rebecca, is wealthy but cool. Ivy gets to keep her scaldron (the friendly cooking dragon) in her dorm. And the whole building sounds awesome. For a kid who didn’t have a home, this must have felt great to Ivy.

Bromance Status: Night School Classmate

It’ll never measure up to Hogwarts, Camp Half Blood, or the University of Missouri, but I’ll always enjoy my time in the Halls of Ivy. Go, fighting Scaldrons!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy (packaged in the most adorable box) from Stories Untold, which would be a great title of a literary compilation. No money or magical pies, though.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.