Fight or flight . . . or both?
Three months after Aderyn’s coronation the court is celebrating the Solstice, but Aderyn is preoccupied by Lucien’s continuing hostility. The celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of nobles who have escaped from the neighbouring country of Celonia – the flightless have risen up and overthrown their rulers. The world is changing.
As people being to question whether Aderyn and Aron are strong enough to rule, there is an attempted assassination on Aderyn’s life. Siegfried and Tallis have made their move – they have formed an army, declared war and will take the throne, by any means necessary.
Aderyn must fly to unchartered territories and risk the lives of everyone she loves to defeat her enemies, secure her throne and unite her people.
A Crown of Talons is every bit the heartbreaking, fierce and satisfying finale that I wanted and more. If you think the stakes are high in the first book, this book ups that by about a thousand and is so intense and suspenseful that it was genuinely hard to put down. I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful paperback copy from Hot Key Books YA, prior to publishing but rest assured all thoughts are my own! I was also privy to a wonderful Zoom launch event recently with the authors and fellow readers which had an awesome Q&A, quiz and general chat which was so much fun. I think that’s one thing I’m really looking forward to once we’re able to have group events in real life again, bookish events and meeting authors and going to signings because they’re some of my best experiences, 2021 please be kind to us. I’m begging at this point haha.
As I mentioned above, the stakes are super high in this book but that’s like an understatement, there are so many genuinely shocking moments that I was quite taken aback. There were two moments in particular, where my jaw dropped and I was furiously going back and forth, turning pages thinking ‘did ____ and ____ just do that?!’ and the answer reader? yes, yes they did just do that. I applaud the authors for taking the story in some pretty bold directions and not being afraid to crush some readers hearts in the process because it was so effective. This entire book has a much darker, serious tone as it comes to a culmination but also has moments of real heart.
As well as the twists and turns, I really enjoyed how all the characters have developed from the first novel, both as individuals and in their relationships with each other. Many of the character bonds, most notably the one between Aderyn and Aron and Aderyn and Lucien which have come such a vast way and have such different dynamics from when we first encounter them. I liked that as much as this growth and development was present, there are also some characters and relationships that are like a cornerstone like the friendship between Aderyn and Letya and Aderyn and Odette. I loved how the authors have centered these two female relationships, and given all three characters the time and room to really shine and allow readers to get invested in them. In a different vein, the villains of the piece become even more twisted and cunning, which again makes it all have more gravity. This connection is why the events of the book are sometimes so painful, no spoilers but I definitely teared up once or twice.
Connecting with the characters and their growth, I liked the direction the story went and how so many plot threads were resolved in a way which felt satisfying to me. This was especially remarkable to me because of the discussion in the last few years of endings and stories where reader / viewer satisfaction isn’t particularly considered or is deemed unimportant. *cough Game of Thrones cough* I loved the way the authors don’t hesitate to make the characters suffer a little – both metaphorically and literally – but also made the ending and eventual triumph worth it, without it being an ending which is simply for shock value or cheapened. The conclusion feels natural and feels true to the characters and the world which they have shaped and made better.
Overall, A Crown of Talons was an exciting read from start to finish, a skilled novel in so many ways and one I can’t recommend enough. Katharine and Elizabeth Corr have definitely outdone themselves with this book and I’m genuinely so excited for whatever comes next, if this duology is anything to go by, it will be something special for sure.
Until next time,