Cover Image: The Crowns of Croswald

The Crowns of Croswald

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Well, it took me 20 days to finish this book. Usually, it only takes me a week to read a book of similar size. There were many times I wanted to put it down but then something semi-interesting would happen and I would keep on.  By 70% I was done but hey, I’ve come this far-right??
Maybe it was because I was in a bit of a book slump from my last two lackluster books but I REALLY struggled with this book. 
I think there is a very fine line a book that is inspired by a beloved series and a copycat. For me, this book toed the line and occasionally stepped over. Let me give you a few examples. 
The Crowns of Croswald Is a story about a girl who lives as a servant in a house where she is hungry and mistreated, she lives in a cellar with no windows. One day she believes herself to be unremarkable UNTILL one day she finds out she had magic in her blood! WOO HOO!  She is sent to a magical school where she meets a boy and a girl who become her best friend.  There is even a girl who seems to be cruel to her for no apparent reason besides that she was once a servant. Does this sound familiar?
Here is an excerpt from 43%
Since she had been at the halls, the setting of her recurring dream with the mysterious man had changed. Her nightly adventure narrowed to a single unfamiliar door. The only Clear detail of the entry was a lock the size of a clobber coffee mug. In the dream, Ivy knew that she needed to see what was in the room behind the door, but she had no way of getting in. She stood before the door feeling stumped and powerless. Then, as soon as she recognized that it was a dream, the door disappeared as if it were never there. The dreamscape went blank and Ivy woke in a state of confusion.”  
This is a 97%
“Your magic, it comes from your mother. But your smile and your eyes favor your father,” Derwin said softly.
This was said to Ivy right after she sees a picture of her parents for the first time in her life.
My husband loves to play Devil’s advocate and asked If there is a difference between a fairy tale retelling where the events are the same and the story is the same but still it’s not the same. And books such as this. Is it just because Harry Potter is relatively newer than Cinderella that the likenesses bothered me? I’m not exactly sure what the difference for me is. But parts of this book just felt like the opposite of Potter was used without a personal unique spin...The girls were made boys, the boys made girls.. Dark Lord, Evil queen. And passages like the above that almost seem idea for idea. 
Now that I’ve unloaded (some of) my grievances. There was enough originality in this book to keep me hanging on to get to the ending. But there were other flaws that make reading hard for me. 
For one the book opened in a flashback. I was completely lost. It talked about scrivenistist. I actually googled this word because I felt like I should know what they are. There wasn’t really an explanation. Google didn’t have any info for me.. But I figured out they are a kind of scholarly wizard. 
Then we find out that when Ivy was an infant after her parents were killed in an attack by the evil queen her “guardian” sent her to the Slurry Fields so the evil queen couldn’t find her and kill her. (See the parallel again?) Anywho, I digress... I never actually figured out what the slurry field is... A castle... In a lavender field… I’m not sure what about it kept the queen from sensing her magic. Was there some kind of barrier and if so why was it there?
There there are Hairies. I’m not sure what that is either. I know they are some kind creature, people carry them around in lanterns for light. They have hair that glows. Aside from there I never got a picture for what exactly they are.  
Overall these were the things that make this book unenjoyable for me. There was a lot of potential with the stories premise and there was some very nice writing. 
Thank you to NetGalley and Stories Untold for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I can't tell too much without spoilers.
 Ivy is a sympathetic and courageous girl, which I really liked.
 I liked the whole idea with the crowns and the skills and the implementation was great.
 I really liked the book.  I love fantasy and this book was just magical.  The setting is great and all fantasy fans should read it.
 The book is ideal for anyone who likes to read English.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-arc of this book. My opinions are my own.

This book didn't live up to my expectations. I was asked to read this book in exchange for a review. I hesitated for a minute because this is a middle grade book and I'm 31, but the Goodreads rating was alright and some reviews compared it to Harry Potter. I was curious and decided to read this book!

I can see where the comparison comes from... This book is about a young girl, Ivy, who doesn't know she has magic, until she is invited to attend a school of magic. There's even a list of supplies she needs to buy from a street with magical shops... I might have been able to see past this, if the writing were a little better. The plot is all over the place, there's hardly any world building and none of the characters have any depth to them. I know it's a middle grade book and I was expecting colorful, archetypical characters but instead I was just reading about a young girl running in different directions all the time. 

There is yet some originality in this book - I did like the concept of the scrivenists and how there's magic in sketching. Overall though, this book didn't really wasn't for me. I won't be continuing this series.
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I like to think of myself as an imaginative person but there wasn’t enough exposition for me to understand the fantasy setting, or the terms that the narrator and characters were using. I had to read things a few times and flip to the earlier pages to try to figure out a term. I was lost early on, and then quickly lost interest
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The crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night 
Rating: 4.5 Stars 

The crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a middle grade fantasy which follows Ivy Lovely, a girl hidden for sixteen years because of her magical blood. We take the journey with her from the slurry fields magical boundary to the Halls of Ivy where she learns to master her magical powers and must unveil her history before it’s too late.

I loved how well written and realistic these characters were especially the dynamic between Ivy and her roommate Rebecca. Ivy reminded me a lot of Agatha from the school from good and evil which is one of my favourite series so I was more than happy to enjoy the similarities. I also loved Fyn, an older student who forms a relationship with Ivy and helps her on her journey of discovery, his witty and sarcastic nature is something I always look for and admire in a character and he didn’t disappoint. 

There were so many magical creatures and places in this book that had me constantly in awe and made me want a Scaldron of my own! The magic and whimsy of this book was stunning from start to finish, I could see that D.E. Night had put so much time into every single detail of the world. In some parts I wish we spent more time exploring things but I can understand the time restraint within the story especially as it created a well paced and rounded story that I thoroughlya enjoyed. 

Along the way some things became a little convenient for Ivy and her friends as they got out of sticky situations with ease and little work on their part but I feel this is expected in a book geared at younger readers. 

Overall this books has made its way into my heart and my list of favourite middle grades and I defiantly recommend this book to anyone looking for a light-hearted fantasy with lots of twist and turns. 
Thank you to the publisher and Netgally for the review copy.
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The first of The Crowns of Croswald series, we see a young Ivy Lovely, living an unfulfilling life as a maid in a castle that resists magic, whose only friends are a dwarf and a scaldroun. For years, she has no home, family or hopes of a nice life. But the moment she is kicked out of the castle, she finds herself being taken somewhere she never would have expected- a school where the students, royals and commoners with abilities, learn magic! Although it is something that she has totally dreamed of, she can't see how or why she would fit in there- after all, she is just a maid with no magic in her. As she spends her time in the school, she uncovers some secrets that tell her who she really is- and how she alone can save the crowns of Croswald.

As a middle-grade fantasy targeted for the younger audience, this book is quite unique and sets a beautiful picture on everything magic. It will surely let your imagination go wild, with unicorns and dragons and dwarfs and other creatures all being described beautifully. The suspense too progresses slowly as the identity of a certain 'Derwin Edgar Night' will keep you hooked in the story. The protagonist Ivy Lovely's character too is portrayed beautifully, as a strong and stubborn little girl with a penchant for breaking rules and taking impulsive decisions. Since the whole story revolves around her, descriptions of other supporting characters, Like Fyn or Rebecca, fall a little short as the full picture isn't provided for them. However, the relationship between the characters is very nicely portrayed. 

The story should be quite engaging for the the target audience, even if it doesn't seem out of the ordinary for adults. The only thing I thought needed improvement was the character names which I believe could have been less silly and more powerful. Looking forward to read the second book of the series.
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actual rating: 3.5 stars

thank you to NetGalley and StoriesUntoldPress for providing me with an ebook in exchange for an honest review

hey everyone this is my first ever review for my first free book from the publisher!

"The Crowns of Croswald" is a middle grade fantasy book by D.E. Night and follows our protagonist Ivy Lovely who is an orphan living right next to the magical borders. After she crosses those borders she gets invited to a magic school to study - well - magic.

While the book gives me similar vibes to the world famous Harry Potter series there are still elements that make this story a unique one. First up there are two categories of students and no houses. I personally love the magical school trope so i was happy to find this story.

However, there were still a few points I didn't like all that much. Firstly, the age of the protagonist didn't really make sense to me because she is supposed be 16 but behaves and speaks like an eleven year old. (That's not necessarily a bad thing but this book is meant to be middle grade so the age doesn't really fit) And secondly, this may seem like a stupid one to dislike but I didn't like any of the characters names in this book. They were just really old names and sounded similar to each other except for Ivy herself and the love interest Fyn. Other than that i found this book quite predictable and got annoyed at some "I Am Not Like The Other Girls" moments. But overall it was an enjoyable ride so to say and I would give the other two books a chance.

The fact that I had so many mildly "negative" things to say could maybe be because of the format I was reading this book in. I am not too experienced in ebooks and had to read this from my phone which means I got distracted easily.

I would recommend this to everyone who likes middle grade and especially the magical school. Also, since the author of Harry Potter is "cancelled" you can read this book as a "substitute". I am definitely interested in other works by this author and will keep an eye out for new releases by her.
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This book didn't really capture my attention - I was excited to get into a new fantasy series, but this really wasn't my thing. I don't think I'll be continuing with the series.
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Overall impressions 
In The Crowns of Croswald, Ivy is swept away from a magicless castle and thrust into the world of magic when she is enrolled at the Halls of Ivy. While at the school, she realizes her magic is much stronger than her classmates' magic, which allows her to do things that others cannot. As Ivy learns more about her magic, the Dark Queen begins to threaten that very power that runs in Ivy's veins. This book contains a wonderfully immersive world that genuinely allows readers to experience the magical settings throughout the book. However, due to the time spent on world-building, the plot felt choppy because important character-building for secondary characters was left out. However, with the expansive world that Night created, there is a lot of opportunity for magical adventures in this book's sequels.

Book Themes and Reading Level
Book Themes: Magic, family lineage, concealment, lost heritage, and friendship 
Reading Level: 3rd-7th Grade 

Summary
Ivy works in the kitchens of a magicless castle until she is fired and kicked out for trying to protect a sick scaldron, or dragon. As Ivy leaves the castle, a magical carriage appears in front of her, and she is told that she has been offered a position at the Halls of Ivy, a magical school, to learn to become a scrivener, an artistic form of magic. As she navigates learning this magically artistic craft, she tries to unravel the mystery of her special magical skills that allow her to do things that no one else can. When the Dark Queen threatens her life, Ivy must race to uncover the mystery behind her powers.


Review 
The Crowns of Croswald’s concept and the imaginative world were truly remarkable. The care taken in the world-building for this story shows in the small details such as how the world uses little magical creatures for light. However, there was a lot of choppiness in the plot because of all the world-building information packed into the book. Due to this, there were times when important character development information was left out, such as how characters developed new magical skills without any build up leading to their new skills. I also felt that Ivy, who was portrayed as sixteen, acted more like she was twelve or thirteen, which is why I think this book will appeal to a younger age set despite the protagonist's age. There is a lot of potential for this series and the world created; however, some technical writing factors are missing from the novel.
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I don't often read YA fantasy anymore, so when I was asked by the publisher to review this book I was a little hesitant. But The Crowns of Croswald was actually pretty good, definitely one of the better books in its genre I have read in a while. 
Especially if you liked Harry Potter then this will be your kind of book! It has the same type of world building, a magical boarding school, and lots of adventure. It reminded me a lot of the kind of books I used to read as a kid and I think it would be perfect for the slightly younger YA or Middle Grade audience (at 24 I think I may be a bit too old to still identify with the characters).
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After reading The Crowns of Croswald, I gave it a 4/5 stars. I absolutely enjoyed the story and can't wait to read the next books in the series. The characters, plot, and setting were all immaculate. This book gave me Harry Potter vibes, which I loved! The Halls of Ivy reminded me so much of Hogwarts, and I couldn't stop reading because of the nostalgia. I found the idea of scrivenists very interesting which made the story all the more fun and exciting.

Now the characters. I love Ivy's character; her inquisitiveness and kindness just makes her so admirable. She has a dragon/scaldron named Humboldt, and I want him so bad, and throughout the story, I just imagine myself with a dragon like Humboldt. 

The entire story and plot is absolutely creative and fun and is perfect for middle grade students who enjoy magic, adventure, Harry Potter, and more!
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Where to start on this awesome adventure of a book. The world building is amazing, the characters are quirky(bonus for quirky characters!! :) )
Writing style is also good, lots of magical creatures!!!! When I first heard of this book I was interested by the title and the cover so I thought I'd go in blind and read it without reading the blurb and I am glad I did. This was such an amazing adventure, I truly thought I was there in the Halls of Ivy. 5 stars. 

P.S
I really want my own Hairie and Scaldron!!!!
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The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a fantasy novel steeped in magic.  

Ivy Lovely lives in a castle, but it isn’t as grand an experience as you might think.  She actually spends most of her time in the dreary depths of an ex-dungeon.  It is here that she has the gruelling job of overseeing the scaldron dragons and making sure they don’t ruin the food they are suppose to be cooking.  

Ivy wishes her life was different, but her only friend insists that she is safest exactly where she is – although things are about to change and she needs to be ready for it.

 When Ivy suddenly finds herself fired from her position, with nowhere to go, she is shocked to have a rather surprising opportunity dumped at her feet.  Whisked away in a frightfully unsafe looking vehicle that is towed along by the most unusual flying creature she has ever encountered, Ivy’s life is about to become unrecognisable.

Enrolled in a special school to train as a Scrivenist, it seems like Ivy’s wildest dreams are starting to come true.  Things are never as simple as they seem though, and Ivy is about to discover that she has an even bigger role to play in what is yet to come.

Marketed as middle grade, I believe there are many other readers that would also be enchanted by the magic between these pages. 

The story explodes into chaotic activity as it nears its final pages and the ending is very abrupt, but it has left me curious to discover where Ivy’s next adventure takes her.  

3.5/5 🌟

A heartfelt thank you to Stories Untold, NetGalley and D.E. Night for the opportunity to enjoy Ivy's story in exchange for an impartial review.
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꧁Review꧂
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𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐰𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐁𝐲 𝐃.𝐄. 𝐍𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭

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𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems.
When Ivy’s magic and her life is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

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𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰
Thank you so much to Zack from @storiesuntold and @author.denight for sending me the ebook of The Crowns Of Croswold for an honest review, through @netgalley.

I haven’t read Harry Potter but I know the outline and this is very similar. Filled with magic, beasts and peculiar characters. It is a very likeable story.

I loved the world building. It was so imaginative and and magical. The characters were awesome and I loved the magic system of the world.

The book has a slow pace, which isn’t a bad thing as I enjoyed it and didn’t want it to end.

This was a light hearted read which I enjoyed and I think the youngsters would absolutely love it.


𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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I loved being able to enter this magical world. The beginning of the book feels very reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. There were many interesting characters but at some points I did not feel that I had been properly introduced to some of the side characters and I was a little confused by some. I also found that Ivy acted a little young for 16 but she is a very endearing character. The creatures in this world are really fun. It is also fun that all the characters have different powers which makes them all unique. On a whole it is a fun middle school novel and I am intrigued to see what other adventures that Ivy has.
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I grew up reading Harry Potter so I was so excited to give this one a try and I am NOT disappointed.
There used to be an interactive game in Myrtle Beach called MagiQuest and this book made me feel like I was back there playing it again. 🔮
Magic, spells, dragons, first crushes, and pie. What more could you want in a book? 
This book reminds me of why I love to read.. you can let your imagination run free. 
Ivy’s character is the perfect representation of never stop believing your dreams can come true.
And I’m ordering book #2 ASAP.
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Thank you Netgalley and Stories Untold for this free copy in return for my honest review.

DNF @ 43%

When the publisher approached me to review this book I was so excited! From the synopsis it sounded right up my alley because lots of reviews said it was similar to Harry Potter and that sold me. Unfortunately, this was just a disappointment and I couldn't continue to read it. I couldn't connect with the characters and the plot was way to close to Harry Potter. 

Another reason I couldn't get into it was the pacing was too slow for me and there also wasn't any kind of backstory for Ivy. She works in a castle, gets kicked out, and then she's off to school. I also found the plot messy and confusing, the over description of some areas caused me to get lost. Also there are a lot of made up words, which is cool, but also led to me being confused part of the time.

I personally think if Harry Potter wasn't one of my favorite series and I had never read it I might of enjoyed this a bit more. I do think it is perfectly suited for middle schoolers, I just don't feel like I was the right person to read it.
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This is perfect for those who love a middle grade fantasy. While the first half of the book is slower paced than the remaining half, that's to be expected as the characters are introduced and the world is built. This is highly reminiscent of Harry Potter and while I thought I would enjoy that factor, it bugged me more than made me fall in love with it...simply because it's TOO much like Harry Potter so (in my eyes at least) it's not very original.

The MC is also supposed to be 16 but her mannerisms and thoughts are those of someone younger, which does fit I suppose, since this is a middle grade book, but if her age wasn't stated I would have figured she was a lot younger. Overall it's a fun & magical journey, but I am not interested in continuing the series. However, I would recommend for those who aren't huge Harry Potter fans as you may really enjoy it.

I appreciate receiving this E-Book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.
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I would like to thank the publishers and Netgalley for sending my a copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.

The Crowns of Crosswald by D.E.Night follows Ivy Lovely, a 16 year old orphan that grows up as a maid then discovers she has magical ability and gets an invitation to the ‘Halls of Ivy’ to learn how to become a Scrivenist. Ivy is a very curious character that has a sense of adventure and this book follows her adventures in the halls of Ivy as she discovers her magic, makes new friends and learns the history of her past.

I found this quite difficult to get into at first. It is very reminiscent of Harry Potter which I found difficult to get past during the first half of the book. D.E.Night has some excellent ideas with regards to magic and world building. In particular I enjoyed the different magical creatures and the way in which the crowns and scrivenists worked. I felt it had a lot of potential and would have been better served embracing it’s own originality. Ivy as a character, I felt was difficult to identify with, she was quite adventurous but also naieve and did not always treat others well. She also felt younger than 16 years old. The lore seemed interesting and I would have liked to read into more depth about that which the author may explore in later books.

This book is aimed at middle grade and I think most children would enjoy it. It was whimsical and full of action with a good pace. Overall this book had great potential and I look forward to seeing how the author develops in the future.
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Crowns of Croswald is a brilliantly imagined middle grade fantasy fiction by DE Night.
It is a coming of age story of Ivy Lovely and her journey to discover magic and her identity as well as her transformation from a scaldrony maid. I really loved her character and character development and of course, the name!
The story unfolds rather excitingly in the second half of the book. Whereas the first part is a little slow, perhaps to familiarize us with the world of Croswald.
You cannot help but notice the similarity to Harry Potter. The chosen one trope and the way Ivy escapes her pathetic lifestyle to enter the world of magic is all too familiar. Although a lot of concepts are very original and fun to read. The way in which magic is conducted is all too different and unique.
All said, I really enjoyed reading this book which is full of magic, magical creatures and a mysterious plot which will keep you engaged.
The characters, scenery and creatures are beautiful, vivid and brilliantly detailed.
It was quite interesting to notice that a mysterious character named Derwin Edgar Night has the same initials as DE Night. That was a clever part on the authors behalf.
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