The Broken Crown – Book Review

the broken crown

 

Title: The Broken Crown (Narrow Gate #1)
Author: Amryn Cross
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2016
Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Adventure

Princess Emilia Aurelius was only seven when she watched her mother die at the hands of her father—martyred for believing in the God of the Atlas Empire’s Insurgo rebels. At seventeen, exiled to a military outpost where no one knows her true identity, she’s vowed to leave her royalty behind and explore the truth of the Insurgo rebels her mother loved.

When the Emperor of Atlas summons the princesses from each of the provinces to the imperial city to choose a wife for the crown prince, Emilia must leave her military life behind to join a royal court rife with cunning and intrigue. Navigating the waters of court politics and budding love are treacherous on their own, but Emilia fears for her life should anyone learn of her Insurgo sympathies.

With an unlikely ally in the captain of the emperor’s guard, Emilia must uncover the truth of the Insurgos, start a revolution, and learn to become the princess she’s vowed never to be, all while protecting her heart from a prince who could sign her death warrant.

A tomboy with southern belle roots, Amryn Cross was born and raised in Tennessee where she learned the importance of God, family, Southern hospitality, and football. She’s loved the written word from the time she was a child, convinced the squiggly lines on top of the Hostess cupcake really spelled out a secret message.

Amryn is a proud momma to two adorable puppies–Argo and Luna–who provide lots of laughs and kisses. She is also an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and My Book Therapy (MBT) and answers writers’ forensic questions at Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

  • I would:
  • Befriend: Emilia
  • Go out on a date & kiss: Felix
  • Take to a desert island and leave behind: Ronan’s father — and maybe Ronan, too. Sorry, I like you, but I blame the love triangle
  • Change into a vampire so we can be young together & forever: My baby Felix.

4.5 “I will go down with this ship” STARS

For you, dear friend, who is old enough to remember “White Flag” by Dido, I bet that song is playing in your head right now.  Well, it played in mine repeatedly while I was reading all about my new fave YA Fantasy ship, Emelix, or is it Femilia? Ship names, here I come.

So, in case you’re wondering, no… “The Broken Crown” isn’t a YA Romance, but that didn’t keep me from falling down that hole when I met Felix!

Anyway…

It might not seem like it from the way this review started, but “The Broken Crown” is a story about faith, a beautiful one. While I fell in love with the romance subplot, it was just that, a subplot. The main conflict in this novel revolves around faith.

Emilia, the MC, is a princess in a world where Insurgos (Christians) are hunted and killed because of their faith.

As a young girl, Emilia had to watch her mother’s execution because, despite being a queen, her mom was considered a threat to the Empire due to her belief. Emilia got the message loud and clear: no matter how powerful you were, if you were caught praying or talking about/to God, you’d die. Her father understood that, too. Fearing the queen’s influence, he sent Emilia away to a military outpost where she lived for years, hiding her true identity and learning how to become a warrior.

During those years, Emilia met an Insurgo man who taught her what he knew about the Aletheia (the Bible). The Insurgos’ sacred book had been burned by all the kings throughout the years, so all the Insurgos had were words they had memorized and passed from one person to the next.

When we meet Emilia again after the opening chapter with her mother’s execution, this Insurgo friend is risking his life to deliver a message. Before she’s forced to kill him by her military peers, Emilia is told God has big plans for her and their people. Not long after, she’s summoned by the Emperor (and here is where we meet Felix) along with the other princesses to take part in a “The Selection” type of thing – they’ll all compete to win the crown prince’s heart. Emilia sees this as the perfect opportunity to put God’s plan to work. If she marries the crown prince, she’ll have the influence she needs to stop the executions and allow her people to have their faith.

I don’t know how good of a plan that is since it doesn’t look like women had a lot of influence in that world, but desperate times calls for desperate measures. And Emilia was desperate. Desperate enough to risk everything, including her life, so she could put an end to her people’s misery and gain them their freedom back. Well, that’s a plan I can get behind.

I mean, how could I not? A girl willing to fight for freedom is always a friend of mine.

Plus, Emilia was super easy to like and root for. Maybe it was because I could relate to her faith; or because despite being a princess, she had endured life in a military base with no comfort or luxury and didn’t seem to mind it all; or because she didn’t depend on other people to get things done, she did it herself; or because she gave her crown to free a slave; or many of the other things she did throughout the story that proved she was not a shallow, selfish MC. She cared. She believed. She acted. She was badass and I loved it.

Emilia made it easy to like her.

You know who else was easy to love? Felix. Yeah, here I go again, but I have to. Felix was the dark and brooding love interest without being the typical dark and brooding love interest. I loved him from the start. I loved everything about him. How he respected Emilia. How he clearly cared for the crown prince. How he fought his feelings for Emilia out of respect for his friend. How he was tortured by what he called his cowardice not to fight as openly for his faith as Emilia did. How he ended up fighting after all.

Felix and Emilia were great as individuals. Amazing as friends. Perfect as my OTP.

I went on an emotional rollercoaster watching Emilia and Felix go from strangers to allies to friends to something more. This is pretty much how it went:

20% – Kindle note: Shipping them so hard and ready for the heartbreak

26% – Kindle note: My heart can barely take this.

41% – Kindle note: Nooooo. This isn’t my baby Felix. Noooo.

47% – Kindle note: My heart!!! Why can’t she see him the way I do? *cries*

55% – Kindle note: Finally, Emilia. Finally.

68% – Kindle note: Stop breaking my heart.

72% – Kindle note: I will go down with this ship.

82% – Kindle note: Is this about Felix? OMG, OMG. Stop playing with my heart.

89% – Kindle note: Yesssss. OMG OMG OMG. YESSSSS.

95% – Kindle note: My ship!! *proud mamma feelings*
97% – Kindle note: What? No. Shut up. You don’t mean it. Shut up. *cries*

98% – Kindle note: My babbbyyyyyy *holds him*

99% – Kindle note: My OTP! But why must you make me suffer this much?  

You know what didn’t help? The writer making Ronan, the crown prince, so hard to hate. Why did he have to be a decent person? Ugh. So frustrating. Just kidding (not really). I wanted to hate Ronan – trust me, I didn’t want anyone threatening my OTP –, but Ronan didn’t make it easy on me. He wasn’t perfect, but even his imperfection worked in his favor. So, yeah, this love triangle will be the end of me.

Something else I really enjoyed about this book was the writing.

“All the things they said are true, and truth is sharper than any lie and cutes twice as deep.”

So beautiful, huh?

Unlike what happened recently when I was reading a bestseller, I didn’t catch myself editing this story in my head and wishing it had gone through another round before publication. The writing kept me engaged, the first person POV was well done, the pacing was on and the characters were extremely likable.

Whether you normally read religion-focused books or not, I’d give “The Broken Crown” a chance. It has everything and a little more (*coughs* Emelix*coughs*) to keep you entertained from the start and wishing for more in the end. I’m still not over the fact that I’ll have to wait until 2017 to have more of my OTP. Why, Amryn Cross, why?

Check out The Broken Crown here.

 

 

 

Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.

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