Title: The Crowns of Croswald
Author: D.E. Night
Series: The Crowns of Croswald #1
Audience: Middle Grade
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Stories Untold Press
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Recommended for Fans of: Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Gail Carson Levine, Eva Ibbotson
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
Such a fun and whimsical fantasy for middle grade readers! This reads like Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland meets a fairy tale. This is exactly the kind of book I would’ve loved as a child when I devoured the books of Gail Carson Levine and Eva Ibbotson.
The introduction to this magical world was very reminiscent of reading Harry Potter for the first time, with a young girl who grew up hidden from magic suddenly finding herself a student at a magical boarding school. Ivy was an endearing protagonist. She is a bit awkward and an outsider, but she is smart and brave and caring. A delightful cast of characters and creatures fleshed out the worldbuilding.
As an adult reader, I wanted a bit more substance when it came to the backstory and relationships between characters, but I think it was appropriate for the intended audience. Some elements of the pacing and magic system confused me, so I hope those details are a bit more fleshed out in the rest of the series.
Overall, I thought this was a strong first book, and I recommend this series for young fantasy readers.
Thank you the publisher and author for the gifted review copy.