Book Review: ‘Crown of Bones’

Crown of Bones” by A. K. Wilder

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Raise. Your. Phantom.

For fans of epic fantasies and sweeping adventures, this ensemble cast will immerse you in a world of unique magic, breathtaking action and unforgettable characters.

In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come …

A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.

A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the realms.

A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.

And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.

My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to change us all.

Crown of Bones was a fun adventure that pulls inspiration from fantasy tropes while infusing new touches.

The pacing was little breakneck as if trying to squeeze as much story in as possible. Prophecy like declaration? Check. Quest/journey? Check. Trial at a special school? Check. It managed to cover a lot of ground but not quite as well as I would have liked. There was a lot of time spent on the journey, which as fine because a lot happened. Then we get to the training and it felt rushed to get to the next segment of story.

The characters were enjoyable enough. The side characters could have used a bit more development. There were 6 people on our journey but I really couldn’t tell you much about the others besides our main characters: Marcus, Ash, & Kaylin. I liked that there wasn’t a romance perse with our two lead (Marcus & Ash) characters. Yes, there was jealously and annoyance but I didn’t view it as romantic love. Kaylin was a silver-tongued wild card that really kept the story interesting.

I don’t mind it but for readers who are curious: the book is in first person POV and jumps around between multiple people.

I love a good epic fantasy but I struggled a bit understanding this world. The reader is able to cobble together an understanding of what phantoms are over the course the story but it’s never officially spelled out. [My ARC had a glossary of terms at the end which I discovered when I finished reading. The definition at the back was okay-ish.] I think the story could have benefited with a smaller infodump or two about the phantoms or maybe move the glossary to the beginning of the book? [Though some might argue spoilers but at least the reader knows the glossary is there].

I didn’t love the use of the cliffhanger. I don’t mind cliffhangers if one story is wrapped up and then a new problem is introduced. This story wasn’t technically wrapped up in anyway. We just arrived somewhere & introduced a lot of new problems. Not the most fulfilling resolution.

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