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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ring and the Crown

Written by: Melissa de la Cruz

This novel seems to me similar to a weak cup of unsweetened tea.

The Ring and the Crown follows the lives of several girls in the age of ball gowns and the London season. All have different tales of love and loss, but they all end up entwined in some small way. Each is a prisoner of duty, and each wishes to be rid of the bonds of responsibility to their families.

There are several different characters in this book, and I think the teaser on Amazon gives a good summary, so I won't try to imitate it. The link to the teaser is here.

De La Cruz's intended message of the book was clearly to show how strong women are, especially in the past when they were expected to do what is right by their families at all times. Women were married off for strategic or monetary reasons, and they were seen always as the weaker sex. Their misfortunes and bleak futures were demonstrated well in the novel. Unfortunately, the actual main characters, the women, did not live up to De La Cruz's intended message.

I did not particularly like this book, in fact I found it a bit boring. The stories of the women were not particularly riveting, and the secondary characters were mostly flat and one-sided. The women themselves did not seem strong to me. They seemed in some cases weak, but mostly just silly. I did not think that they acted with very much self respect on the whole, and that instead of emphasizing their right to freedom, they acted rashly and with petulance. They did not strike me as level-headed, diplomatic strategists, instead I was under the impression that they needed to grow up.

The women weren't all off the mark however, in fact there was one character that I did like. The Princess Marie-Victoria was the strongest woman in the book, and she did show a level of diplomacy and resilience in the face of injustice. She was certainly a redeeming character in an otherwise weak crowd of simpering females.

I suppose in the end, De La Cruz did make the point that women have to make many sacrifices and bear many hardships. I understood this well from the book, but it did not ultimately impress me. The women were largely shallow and concerned only with their appearance (except for the Princess). It is never enjoyable to read a book where most of the characters live up to their bad stereotypes.

If you really, really, enjoy princess-y type books, then go ahead and read the book. It is not a bad novel,  I just did not find it particularly impressive.

I do really like the cover art.

2/5 stars. 

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