Book Talk: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau PretoCrown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
Series: Crown of Feathers #1
Published by Simon Pulse on February 12, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 496
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

In all my years of blogging, I followed the release schedules really closely, so I rarely read books particularly early. It’s kind of fun, though, picking up an egalley about six months pre-publication, before there’s any sort of hype and before I have any preconceived expectations. I remember being a bit on the fence about downloading Crown of Feathers, because the lack of romance mentioned the blurb worried me, but I follow genderbending wherever it may lead. Crown of Feathers started off slow, but I was totally on board these phoenixes by the end.

Seriously, though, prepare for a slow start. That’s not uncommon with fantasy certainly, but I always like people to be prepared. There are three points of view: Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev. It took a while for me to feel remotely invested in either Tristan or Sev, and Veronyka’s plot line starts off very, very sad. However, by the end, I was definitely interested in all three, and there’s totally romance!

Veronyka has grown up with her sister Val. Though they’re vastly different, they’ve cared for each other with great ferocity, hunting for phoenix eggs, so that they can use their animal magic to become like the great phoenix riders of old. When they find two eggs and only one hatches, however, Val’s jealousy and darkness rips them apart, and Veronyka strikes out on her own, seeking what remains of the Phoenix Riders.

The dynamics between Val and Veronyka are intriguing, and there are aspects of their relationship that ended up surprising me. Val clearly has antisocial personality disorder, but Veronyka has managed to hold on to her goodness despite their difficult childhood. Val’s love is controlling and toxic, and I’m definitely curious to see where this is headed.

Veronyka ends up having to genderbend and introduce herself as Nyk, when she hears that the Phoenix Riders now only accept boys. This is basically my favorite trope ever, and there are some sparks between Nyk and Tristan before he finds out about her gender. Even better, there’s not a massive fight at the reveal. Tristan’s the only son of the captain of the phoenix riders, which means, that, even though he’s the best apprentice, his dad gives him an even harder time than everyone else. Tristan and Nyk have a fun hate-to-love dynamic going, and I super love that Nyk’s all about giving the animals a choice, not commanding them with your animal magic.

The third POV character, Sev, is the one that takes the longest to combine with the others and the one that bored me the longest. Like the other two, he has animal magic, but he’s been pretending he doesn’t, because the government currently in power enslaves everyone with animal magic. His whole plot arc is about fighting for what’s right rather than hiding out in safety, but it takes a while to get going. However, I am loving his hate to love ship with Kade.

I really liked the writing in Crown of Feathers, but the quality writing definitely hides the crack nature until later in the book. The world building is fun, though consisting of quite a lot of common fantasy tropes. However, partway through, I realized how incredibly indebted this book is to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, and I can’t stop laughing about it. TBH, I kind of love those books, so I was on board, but lbr total crack.

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Crown of Feathers is crack of the most fun kind, and I cannot wait for the sequel.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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