Rating: 4 / 5
D.E. Night’s The Crowns of Croswald is a magical middle grade tale of a young orphan’s journey through magic school and the mysteries she encounters and uncovers along the way.
Thank you to Stories Untold Press for the complimentary book!
Ivy is a servant to one of the many magical families in Croswald. She’s never had a family and her only friends are a troll who visits her most nights and the dragons in her care. When she’s kicked out of the castle, she thinks she has no place to go. That is, until she’s invited to attend the Halls of Ivy – Croswald’s premier school for magic.
Ivy has never performed magic, why would she be invited to the Halls of Ivy? She’ll soon learn that her past is more complicated that she has known and that she has powers she never could have dreamed of. As Ivy attends school, mysterious and peculiar things continue to happen to her, and she falls deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole that is the secrets of Croswald, the Halls of Ivy, and her own history.
With an arch nemesis, a dark queen, and little self-confidence, Ivy must fight to understand the secrets of Croswald and to stay alive.
The Crowns of Croswald is a middle grade fantasy novel, which means that it’s geared specifically for young people aged 8 to 12. As you may know, I am not aged 8 to 12, but dang it this was such a fun read! It gave me serious Harry Potter vibes and took me back to the wonder, fun new words and species, and – yes – sprinkling of confusion that come with the first novel in a fantasy series.
D.E. Night does a great job of painting a new world’s picture, detailing the towns and castles, magical abilities, and characters quite well, but not with so much detail that would overwhelm a young reader. I would have preferred much more detail, but only because I thought the world was so fascinating and just wanted to know more! I guess that means I’ll have to read the second book in the series, right?
As an adult reader, I personally have to be in the mood to read Young Adult or middle grade. I know that my mindset has to change in order to truly enjoy a book that wasn’t written for my audience, and I’m so glad that I gave myself the time to adjust to this, my first middle grade book, because it was truly a delight. While very fun and whimsical, it also had some depth – dealing with bullying, self confidence, and some very interesting class and wealth-based issues.
If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre and/or of middle grade reads, you should add The Crowns of Croswald to your list of future reads, and then pass it on to your favorite young reader!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Crowns of Croswald. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments! See the other books I’m reading at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya.