Mini-synopsis, adapted from Goodreads: Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean.
The blurb compares it to Across the Universe and A Handmaid's Tale. I don't really see the former at all, except for the spaceship setting, though I can see the latter, as the book does have a strong feminist bent. The book that it reminded me most of was Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Both books featured intelligent, inventive futuristic worlds and beautiful writing.
by Melissa de la Cruz
To be published on April 1
Source: Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read an e-ARC for review purposes.
Mini-synopsis adapted from Goodreads: Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard. The court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.My Mini-Take: The Ring and the Crown is an addictive alt-history paranormal soap opera. Think Downton Abbey + Gossip Girl + King Arthur. Secret romances and royal pageantry abound, and the narrative has a fun, chatty feel. The alt-history premise is very cool. My European history is a touch shaky, but the way I understood it, England defeated France at the time of the Hundred Years War using magic -- the powers of Merlin beat out those of Joan of Arc -- resulting in an early twentieth-century world in which the Franco-British empire holds onto its power through supernatural means. This worldbuilding is done with a light, deft touch -- don't be afraid if you're not a big historical fiction reader -- but it all made sense to me.
The Ring and the Crown features a large cast of characters, each quickly sketched and each madly in love with the most inconvenient person possible. Like Downton Abbey, the plotting in this book is brisk to the point of breakneck. On the positive side, you're never bored. On the negative, there isn't a lot of time for reflection or character development.
I found this one pretty fun -- a great antidote if you've been reading a lot of slow or serious books. If you love breathlessly narrated, multi-character historical soapfests like the Luxe series or Downton Abbey, you should definitely check this out!