The Ring and The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz ( web | tweet )
Book 1 of a series.
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: royalty, marriage, friendship, obligation, magic
Format read: Copy sent to me by Small Girls PR. (Thanks!)
Summary: Bal du Drap d’Or is on the horizon — the biggest social event of the season where girls travel to London in their finest frocks to find not necessarily the man of their dreams but a man to marry. (For some, this courtship could make or break their family.) An engagement announcement, one that will unite two feuding kingdoms even if it means ruining the personal lives of these two individuals and those around them.
The Ring and The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz is not a book I would normally pick up — queens, princesses, arranged marriages, and magic? But this cover! It’s beautiful and after finishing The Winner’s Curse a few months ago, I felt like I could do anything! So here I am.
Basically a huge gala is coming up — Bal du Drap d’Or — socialite ladies from around the world are heading to London to toast the engagement of the princess and prince. It’s an unexpected pairing because the two are from feuding kingdoms so it’s basically a strategy to create harmony between the two. Marie is in love with someone else, and Leopold is engaged to another but these two details don’t matter. Whatever is best for the kingdom is what is done.
There are a lot of characters in The Ring and The Crown; the POVs switch between all of them and it mostly worked. I got mildly confused in the beginning but as I got more invested in these layered stories, it was manageable. The cast made me think so much of people in high school classes that it might be best to describe them in superlative form. Enjoy!
Leopold may be the next king BUT his focus is on more than the kingdom. Oh the ladies. He’s kind of like that bad boy you really want to tame because it would feel so good to know YOU were the one who did it. (Just ask Isabelle, the gal who thinks she will be his wife.)
most loyal friend
Aelwyn returns to the kingdom for the first time in forever, and reconnects with her old friend, Marie. Despite some hurdles to walk through, their friendship picks up right where it used to be. (Loved this!) In a world full of so much dishonesty, it’s nice the two have each other. Especially when Marie asks Aelwyn the absolutely biggest favor in the world. ABSOLUTE. (Hint: I’m not telling you what it is.)
most likely to succeed
My absolute favorite character was Ronan (and it’s not only because she was from NYC). She’s an Astor and her family is struggling to make ends meet; securing a ticket to this great event is a huge deal for her but more for her family. If she can meet and get engaged to a wealthy guy, her parents’ debts can be cleared and all this crazy pressure will finally disappear. She studies the guys attending like it’s her job, and even when A HOT ADORABLE SWEET FUNNY GUY (with great taste with champagne) catches her attention, her eye is still on the prize and her obligation to her parents. If anyone is going to land a guy, IT IS THIS GIRL. (She is also “the luckiest” out of any of those characters because awesome little things keep falling into her lap.)
Wolf is totally a Pacey. Kind of like you fall in love with Dawson first (Leo) and then notice Wolf and are kind of smitten and can’t stop staring at him. Definitely like that. I loved his smirky, rebellious nature from the very beginning. He has a lot of insecurities because he’s the brother of the future king and he wants to create his own path in life, no matter how hard that is. He tricks some people, yes, but he has a good heart. A heart I always wanted to see more of. Yum.
Perry and Archer. Two guys Ronan meets at a fancy dinner who are hilarious and just jump off the page personality wise. They were bubbly and fun, and were brought into the book at the exact right time. I needed their comic relief and Ronan needed their knowledge of these people, their support, and their friendship. Too cute.
the one who needs a break
Okay, you aren’t going to see this in any yearbook (can you imagine) but I have to mention Isabelle. She thinks she is going to marry Leo but he believes it is his duty to marry Marie (the princess) so there goes that? Not to mention the creepy creepy caretaker who feels so proprietary over her, her future, and whatever fortune her deceased parents left her. I wanted to be hopeful that things would work out for Isabelle but, oh man, she was one of those characters who drew the short stick time and time again.
Secrets, lies, hidden identities, gorgeous wardrobes and romance? The Ring and The Crown definitely reeled me in and totally spit me out with the ending — so shocked! Where will this series go? I have no idea. But I’m looking forward to finding out! (All I can say is more Wolf, please.)