Title: Crown of Bones
Author: A.K. Wilder
Pub. Date: January 5, 2021
Pub: Entangled: Teen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Raise. Your. Phantom.
For fans of epic fantasies and sweeping adventures, this ensemble cast will immerse you in a world of unique magic, breathtaking action and unforgettable characters.
In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come …
A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.
A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms.
A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.
And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.
My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to surprise us all.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. There were aspects that I really enjoyed of this book, but ultimately it was underwhelming, long and just didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s not a bad book, and I’m interested in reading the second one, seeing as how this one ended, but I’m overwhelmingly meh about this first book.
This is one of those books that once you start reading and get invested, you’re into the story. But if you have to set it down for any reason, picking it back up again feels like a chore. Granted, that’s just my opinion. There were a few things that just annoyed me in this book and the two bigs ones were the length and the pacing.
At 490 pages, it’s not even the longest book I’ve read, but it felt like it was never going to end. By the time I got the end, I saw the reveal coming and I just didn’t care. I wanted the book to be over. In part, the pacing is to blame. I hated the pacing in this book. It was like sitting in stop and go traffic. A bunch of things would happen at light speed, and then everything would slow down, and mundane things would happen. The lack of fluidity in the plot kept pulling me from the story and I would quickly forget what happened before. Because the book lacked a fluid plot, things felt disjointed and incomplete.
Plus, the random one- off POVs from characters. Usually I don’t hate this, and I even utilize it in my own writing, but my utter lack of care or interest just made this annoying. It felt like a detour from the main story, even if it contributed to the main story.
My next complaint is Ash. While she’s not a terrible main character, and I did enjoy her in this book – I didn’t understand her emotions and feelings. Her relationship with Marcus was seemingly built up at the start of the book, for those feelings to go nowhere. It set up certain expectations that weren’t met, so I was confused as to why it was even included at all. Then there’s Kaylin and honestly, I wasn’t a fan. He just felt like eye candy.
Overall, I just didn’t really connect or totally love any of the characters.
I don’t even want to get started in on the Mar – how they’re introduced early on and then not mentioned again for like, most of the book. I get now that something bigger is at work in this world, but at the time, they felt like a useless inclusion.
But let me go back to the one thing I did really love, and it’s honestly what boosted my rating for this book. The Great Dying and the binary Suns. When this was finally introduced/explained at like, the 70% mark, I suddenly wished that this prophecy of The Great Dying had been the prologue or at least mentioned earlier in the book. Even if it were just for the reader to know, and not the MCs. This is arguably the best element of the book and the strongest and I wish it featured more heavily. I’m assuming book 2 will focus on the The Great Dying and what it all means, but I do think it should have been introduced earlier.
The ending was and wasn’t shocking. For the most part, it wasn’t. I saw the big reveal coming, hell, I’d seen it from the beginning, so when it happened, it was more like an exasperated “finally”. As for a few other things, I didn’t see them coming, and they were decent little plot twists. I do think the ending of the book is stronger than the start. While I didn’t love the book, I don’t regret reading it, and I’m definitely open to reading the next one and finding out what happens next or what might befall these heroes – because shit’s about to get messy.