The Ring and The Crown (The Ring and the Crown #1) by Melissa de la Cruz ebook, 384 pages April 1st 2014 by Disney-Hyperion ARC from Netgalley Goodreads| Amazon| B & N | TBD
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.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But 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.
First of all, I have to admit that I did not even finished reading the first book of the Blue Blood series. So when I started reading this, I'm not sure what I'm getting myself into. All I know is that it has a really bold and striking cover which definitely captured my attention enough to read it. But I ended up liking the book after all. The mix of historical setting with a twist of fantasy is what makes this book so unique and the characters..my..my..what an interesting bunch they are. You have a meek princess, a strong headed mage, a perfect prince charming, his rebellious brother, the prince's mistress, and a broke American heiress on a hunt for a noble husband. Every character has their own part in this story no matter how useless and annoying some of the female characters can be. And the males..well let's just say that not everyone is what they appeared to be. I just love that towards the end, the character development is quite apparent and you get to see how everyone changed. Not everyone eventually ended up with their intended mate and there are hearts broken but then since this is a series, I'm hoping that at least a pair of lovers will get their happy ending.