Crown of Bones: ARC Review
Author: A.K Wilder
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 5th 2021
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
Thank you, Edelweiss and Entangled for the review copy :D
Crown of Bones gives us a unique fantasy where people called Savants are able to conjure familiar-type creatures called Phantoms. With a mix of Avatar and Final Fantasy, it packs a punch with its interesting spin on a world where magic collides with political intrigue.
But unfortunately, this book did not do it for me.
I struggled with this review a lot because I did not hate the book, but certain niggling things hindered my experience. One was that I did not connect with any of the characters. They all felt one dimensional, and honestly, I could not tell them apart if I happened to miss the chapter title. They seemed to lack depth. Maybe I wanted more of a backstory for them all so I know who I'm rooting for, but what you see is what you get and I had a hard time.
I really wish Ash was fleshed out more. She seemed like the most interesting of the bunch and her journey was glossed over for a lot of the book just to make eyes with the love interest and talk to her "inner self". I knew what the endstate was going to be for her, but I literally had to get through 500 pages for the reveal that was mediocre at best. Ash deserved better.
Marcus had the potential to become something much more interesting. We know he struggles with his phantom, and the potential there for his character arc to be explosive just did not come. It felt more like a sigh than a battle cry.
Kaylin, the mysterious seaman, came in as a love interest and became something a bit more interesting, but still, he lacked richness and he lacked depth. All he was to me was a guy with muscles that Ash ogled over.
The plot mostly moves along at a very fast pace, but not much happens to teach our characters a lesson. Things just happen and that's it. The premise is good, but I did not see a true antagonist until the last quarter of the book.
The world-building was stellar but was not a driver to this story. Lack of clear motivations, poor execution, and unclear character arcs really didn't help the slow pacing by the midpoint part of the book to the point where I almost marked this as a DNF. But determined to get through 2020 with only a handful of DNF's I trudged on.
I'm really sad that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I hoped I would, but I know a lot of people will love it. But I was not one of them and I probably won't continue the series.