– Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber –
Balzer + Bray
Published 17 May 2022
Twin Crowns is a romantic fantasy novel, heavy on the romance and light on fantasy. This is no epic tale but instead a light, funny, tropey novel.
Wren and Rose are twins, separated at birth when their parents, King and Queen were murdered. Rose has been raised in the palace as princess, betrothed to a neighbouring kingdom’s prince. Wren was raised with the witches. They hide in fear for their lives and plot to reclaim their land and power. This plot hinges on Wren taking Rose’s place in the palace and kidnapping Rose away. Things get complicated when Rose learns the truth about her parents’ murders and Wren learns she many not have been prepared for the challenges she will find in the royal castle.
Twin Crowns has been marketed as a rom-com and that’s exactly what it is, far more than a fantasy novel. It’s saving grace is that it makes fun of itself and its characters. This is an unusual mix, as most YA fantasy novels are more serious or epic in nature. But the light-heartedness of this story doesn’t quite align with the darkness of its cover nor some of the gravity it tries to bring to the page.
The characters are funny but I have to admit my patience ran thin with Wren. On one hand we are to believe that she is highly trained “from birth” and determined to fulfil her mission of revenge but it’s very hard to take this seriously when she doesn’t take the mission seriously herself, getting distracted, making silly choices and generally just messing around. It’s impossible to believe that she is fooling anyone. But I guess that’s the whole point of this book – it’s more fun than serious. It’s just that it doesn’t really align with some of the more serious points (danger, kidnapping, evil kings) so it makes these sections fall flat or become unbelievable. What was the point of a very dangerous trip across the desert fighting off creatures if Rose can make it through herself, this girl we are to believe is clumsy and skill? It all leads to the romance and most of the plot points are there for the romance. I have to say I prefer epic romances, full of heartstopping moments, but Twin Crowns eventually provides us a few steamy kisses and humourous meetings between our two sets of love interests.
If you are looking for a light (but still really long), funny romantic fantasy novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Twin Crowns might be exactly the book you are looking for.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Sisters, witches, romance, revenge, murder, magic, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, sexual relationships. References to murder, death, injury, bloodshed, poisoning.
Published: 17 May 2022 by Balzer + Bray.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, paperback. 480 pages.