Review of Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Crown Duel is a wonderful political fantasy full of court intrigue and enough action to keep things interesting. The fights are both physical and social combat. It is very much a fish out of water as our protagonist Meliara has to figure out how to navigate court life and learn the rules of the game.
My review of Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Crown Duel is a wonderful political fantasy full of court intrigue and enough action to keep things interesting. It is very much a fish out of water as our protagonist Meliara has to figure out how to navigate court life and learn the rules of the game.
Crown Duel had me in tears in the best way over some of the misunderstandings and failed communications.
My review from 2015 of Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
“The broken shutter in the window creaked a warning.”
After re-reading Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce I wanted to read more political fantasy, but really it all started with Goblin Emperor last year. So I asked in the Sword & Laser group on GoodReads if they could recommend something – and they could! A number of people mentioned The Curse of Chalion which led me to Crown Duel which were just what I was looking for!
“War is simple compared to what follows, when the bloody fighting is done and a fragile peace is at hand. Although she wants to turn her back on politics and the crown, Meliara is summoned to the royal palace. There, she soon discovers, friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting–with wit and words and secret alliances. In war, at least, she knew whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.”From the blurb of Crown Duel
Crown Duel had me in tears over some of the misunderstandings and failed communications – especially in the first half of the book. The protagonist is very young and is court up in court life and political intrigue. She has not been raised to the life and has to learn very very quickly. Unlike in Goblin Emperor this does not go smoothly. Meliara does not know who to trust other than her brother – who is far worse at court politics that she is, so she is at a lose for quite a bit of the book.
The pacing of the plot goes in ebbs and flows which I quite like – we get passages where it is just everyday life followed by crazy chase scenes. The story has action, romance and intrigue, what more could I want?
I definitely want to read more by Sherwood Smith
The stats: Crown Duel
Published: 1997 by Harcourt Brace & Company
Length: 471 pages
Read: April 08 to 13, 2015 as an audiobook
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Author: Female, white, USA
The protagonists: Meliara , female, noble
This review was originally posted: May 10, 2015. Updated and edited June 30, 2023