Beast & Crown
By Joel Ross
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Harper Collins on August 22, 2017
Synopsis from the Publisher- “Boot boy Ji is tired of scrubbing soles and untangling shoelaces. He doesn’t want to bow and scrape. All he wants is freedom—for himself and his friends.
He decides to risk everything for a chance to accompany a young nobleman to the Diadem Rite, a magical ritual that chooses the heir to the Summer Crown. Ji doesn’t care about crowns or ceremonies, but he vows that this trip will grant him and his friends new lives, far away from boots and bowing. What Ji doesn’t know is that he and his friends have a dangerous part to play in the Diadem Rite. One that will change them forever.”
What I Thought- I really enjoyed this fantastical fantasy novel from Mr. Ross. I’ve read his other books, and they were great, but I will say that this is perhaps my favorite. One thing I like is that the book explores the topic of how much our life is determined by where we start – the main characters are (for the most part) servants at an estate, and they want to be able to be free. The world Ross builds is such an excellent fantasy setting – I especially like that the book borders on dystopian, just set in fantastical medieval times. The society seems wonderful at first glance, but when you look beyond the surface, you see how wretched it really is. Ross writes in a narrative tone that is very fitting for the characters and audience, perfectly suited for the intended age-range of readers. The cover art is amazing – love the art deco feel to it. Another thing I really liked was the peculiarities of the culture. It was fascinating hearing the history of the land, and about the humans’ intolerance for non-human beings. It will be fun to see how that outlook changes. In a way, the book could be seen as a call for acceptance. I had such a fun time reading this book, I read it in only two days – I can’t wait for the next book in this new series!
I give this book five out of five bookworms!
Categories: Age 9+