This week, I finished re-reading the YA fantasy novel "Crown Duel" by Sherwood Smith. I had read this book back in middle school as the two separate novels "Crown Duel" and Court Duel." Apparently it has been re-released as one novel with two parts, and when I chanced upon it in Borders I snapped it up.
The novel follows the adventures of the Countess Meliara, a strong-willed, down-to-earth member of the nobility. She and her brother promise their dying father that they will wage war against the tyrant king who is abusing their beloved country. The first part of the novel chronicles Mel's physical battle with enemy troops and even the king himself. The second half of the novel follows her more intimidating struggle- her battle to survive the cutthroat world of court society and politics. All along, she feuds with Vidanric Shevraeth, a proud noble who is not exactly what he seems.
While there is nothing wildly innovative in Smith's novel, it is a solid piece of YA fantasy fiction. It is a good read with enough creative detail, appealing characters, political intrigue, derring do and romance to satisfy nearly any fan of medieval literature. Meliara is a strong, if occasionally overly stubborn and narrow-minded, protagonist. Readers who enjoyed Tamora Pierce's "Song of the Lionness," Allison Croggon's "The Naming" or any other similar pieces should definitely give this little-known work a try.
Cover photo borrowed from Wikipedia.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
6:14 PM — Emily M — Labels: Intrigue, Medieval