Review Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto 

“History was a living, breathing, changing thing – even when it was your own.”

Crown of Feathers
  • Release date : February 12th 2019
  • Publishing house : Simon Pulse
  • Series : Crown of Feathers
  • Pages : 496

Spoilers ahead

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Characters :

Veronyka : She is an animage who can communicate with animals and she can also use shadow magic to do multiple things (hide her thoughts, go into somebody’s mind to know their thoughts or control them…). After the end of the war, she had been hiding with her sister to find phoenix eggs but only found one. The Phoenix bonded with Veronyka and she tries to raise her. But her sister, being a horrible one, kills her pheonix because she wouldn’t listen to Veronyka and her. This is the act that made her leave her sister to go on a quest to find the remaining phoenix. However, she ends up joining the last band of Phoenix riders who have been trying to regain what they lost. She dresses up as a man to join them as only boys are accepted for now.

« I am a daughter of death. I killed my mother when I was pulled from her womb; from the ashes I rose, like a phoenix from the fire. »

Tristan : He’s the commander’s son who’s in charge of the Phoenix riders. He has a secret, he’s afraid of fire and that’s why his father thinks he’s not ready to become a fully fludged Phoenix rider. At first, he appeared haughty and bossy, but as the story develops, he and Veronyka befriend each other and we see another side of Tristan. He wants to climb ranks to bring back the Phoenix riders to their former glory and not to be forced to live apart from others and chased by the Empire.

Sev : The last point of view is Sev’s. He’s also an animage who’s been hiding as an empire soldier while trying to know who he wants to be. At one moment on the story, he’s forced to make a choice, fight with the rebellion or with the Empire. His backstory is sad as he blames himself for his parent’s death as he didn’t listen to them. His point of view explores the political of the world and general thoughts of the people.

Story :

Veronyka being a war orphan, she was raised with her other sister (Val) by her grandmother. Both are animages and are on the run from the Empire who has been seeking to eliminate them as they have been afraid of a rebellion.

There is strength in unity, it is true. The bond of blood, the bond of magic. And love, the most powerful bond of all.

After her grandmother dies, both sisters begin to live by themselves and their relationship is a bit icy. Val loves controlling everything and Veronyka has had enough of that as she wants to go looking for the Phoenix riders living out there. Val murdering her pheonix because she has been listening to her is the last act Veronyka can’t bear. She decides to leave her and to look for signs leading her to the Pheonix riders.

A lot of worldbuilding has been packed into the 496 pages. While there are some moments where it was a bit heavy, I didn’t really mind for the most part. It always added some new depth to the story and provided new insights. I’ve also really enjoyed the epistolary writing between some chapters. They gave us some clues as to the history of the Phoenix riders.

“History was a living, breathing, changing thing – even when it was your own.”

To be honest, I’ve found the book to be a bit boring but with interesting ideas (the magics, the world created). Maybe book 2 will be more to my liking. It lacked the things that gripped me in other stories, but it had its moments.

Note : 3.5 sur 5.

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