By: D.E. Night
Publisher: Stories Untold
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
The Crowns of Croswald was a delightful magical ride from start to finish. We meet 16-year-old Ivy Lovely, a scualdron maid in Castle Plum. She dreams of one day of attending the magical school, the Halls of Ivy, and fulfilling her dream to become a scrivenist for a royal family. Ivy loves to read and her best friend, a dwarf named Rimbrick, gives her books to read by the famous scrivenist, Derwin Edgar Night. She sits in the slurry fields at night listening to Rimbrick’s stories. The slurry fields suppress magical ability, so Ivy feels her dream will never come true since she feels no magic inside her.
When an accident forces her to leave the castle, she finds herself alone. Rimbrick had gone, leaving a note saying goodbye, along with money and books. Once out of the castle realm and the slurry fields, Ivy feels her magic. She is found by a flying carriage from the Halls of Ivy. They have been looking for her and she is accepted to attend the school to study to be a scrivenist. The book takes us on Ivy’s adventures in her first year at the Halls of Ivy. She is smart, curious and has a magical ability far greater than she understands. Ivy, along with her new friends, must solve the mystery of finding a man she has dreamed about all her life, while evading the evil Queen that rules Croswald.
I received an eBook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Summary (from Goodreads)
Ivy Lovely is 16 and she has no idea who she is—or what her powers could be. When she crosses a magical boundary, she discovers a whole new world of enchantment and mystery. Making friends that will last a lifetime—and save her life—she steps into her own abilities and discovers more about her hidden past, magical blood, and the power of Croswald’s mystical stones. But all is not well: a dark history and an evil Queen threatens all that is good. Will Ivy’s bravery and wit be enough?
The World of the Crowns of Croswald
Croswald is a land of castles, magical princesses and princes, and other magical practitioners called scrivenists. There are quaint towns that are reminiscent European. Croswlad is ruled by the Evil Queen, a mysterious royal that is rarely seen. In fact, no one knows what she looks likes. The fact that she is rarely seen is a relief to the townspeople who would rather not have to deal with her. To enforce her rules are The Cloaked Brood, who will come for those that break her rules.
The vast majority of the book takes places in the magical school called The Halls of Ivy. Both royals and non-royals attend the school to learn various magical skills. They live at the school while they study. Ghosts cook and serve meals in one of the three dining halls. Most students avoid that one, as well as the Jester who is quite annoying to them. Lanterns are lit by Hairies (no, not fairies, hairies), which are basically fairies with hair. They will glow with the color that the hairies are.
Outside is Longfellow Loch, where, in the center is the Hollow Shaft. This is where scrivener’s go when they are ready to pass on. While there is a little Harry Potter vibe to it, Croswald and the Halls of Ivy are unique.
Ivy: Ivy is clever, smart, intuitive and also has a rebellious streak. She wants to solve the mystery of the man who appears in her dreams, and this gets her into some trouble at times. Ivy is a sweet, lovable character. Having a young female protagonist is refreshing for the YA fantasy genre. Readers will find Ivy is funny and relatable.
Rebecca: Rebecca is Ivy’s roommate and becomes her best friend. She is a princess but would love to be a scrivenist. Her crown stone gives her the power to shape shift. As the school year progresses, she and Ivy grow close. Although reluctant, she does accompany Ivy as she tries to solve the mystery.
Fyn: Fyn is a third year scrivenist student and class facilitator. We meet him in the shop where Ivy is getting her school supplies. For the first few months, they keep accidentally running into each other. It becomes clear that the two of them have feelings for each other. Eventually, he is drawn into helping Ivy solve her mystery.
Ivy, Rebecca and Fyn make a well-rounded trio of friends. I’m sure we will be seeing more of them as Ivy’s story develop as the series continues.
Rounding out the Halls of Ivy is the strict (maybe even a little stuffy) Selector, who is basically the dean of the school. With eccentric and funny professors, other scrivenist students and royals, it sounds like it would be an amazing school to attend.
This is where The Crowns of Croswald excels. It is difficult to write a different kind of magic system. We all know about witches, wizards, wands and spells. It is how the author is able to develop the use of magic in a unique way that makes a book stand out.
We first encounter the scrivenists. Ivy is studying to be a scrivenist. They do use magic and spells that are learned at the Halls of Ivy. Their most important object is their feathered quill. It helps them do magic and write down all of the knowledge they attain. It is also used to accurately draw pictures. Ivy loves to draw and her pictures are so accurate, it leaves her teachers wondering how she came to have such talent. Upon graduation, they will be assigned for life to work at a castle to become the official scrivenist. They are unique in the use of the quills for magic and the assignment to a royal family. Scrivenists are very important and not looked upon as having “lesser” magical skills. The head of the Halls of Ivy is a scrivenist.
Prince and Princesses also attend the school. The difference is that they are given crowns. Each one contains a special stone that allows them to do some special magical skill that the scrivenist cannot. Ivy’s friend Rebecca is a princess whose stone allows her to shape shift. The scrivenists do not possess these skills. However, there is no “class” system in that royals are better than the scrivenists. They are all treated equally.
I found The Crowns of Croswald unique and charming. It was a little slow at the beginning, but it picked up once Ivy went to school. The pace was even. There were not times the story dragged. The story unfolded in step by step and you are drawn into the mystery of who and what Ivy is to become. I loved the use of the quills for magic, writing and drawing. The idea of the special stones in the crowns of the royals was a clever way to give them some unique magic.
This book is a wonderful addition to the young adult fantasy genre. It is a series and I am looking forward to reading the next installment of the adventures of Ivy Lovely.
You can find the Crowns of Croswald on D. E. Nights Website: https://denight.com/Follow Me on Social Media