Book Review Wednesday: The Crown of Anavrea

The Crown of Anavrea (The Theodoric Saga Book 1) by Rachel Rossano

Amazon Book Description:

In a time when castles were the strongest…in a place where combat was face to face…Labren was on the run. He hid his true name and he admitted it freely.

In a time when slavery was legal…in a place where kings were all-powerful…Eve, a slave, appeared in the right place at the right time.

Eve saved his life. In return, he offered her the opportunity of freedom. She did not know what would happen to her if she chose to accept his proposal, but she did know the consequences of rejecting it.

I originally picked this book up last summer after reading Rachel Rossano’s books Duty and Wren.

Plot – Grade A

I enjoyed the plot. It was a good mix of sweet romance as Labren and Eve try to turn their marriage of convenience into something more and adventure with Labren being on the run. I also enjoyed the fact that the motive behind Labren’s fleeing from his home and the ultimate solution reached did not feel contrived or clichéd. It was reasonable and, more importantly, it made sense with the main characters’ previous actions, attitudes, and beliefs. In spite of the short length (109 pages from the Kindle version), I didn’t feel that the plot suffered from receiving too many cuts. Of course, there were a few places involving the last leg of the plot journey that could have been expanded on had the book itself been longer but plot stands well on its own while leaving the door cracked for continuing stories.

Content – Grade A

This is a sweet romance. There are kisses and at one point you guess that the marriage has been consummated but it was handled so tastefully that there’s nothing you’d be embarrassed to allow a younger teen to read. The most direct reference is that children were now a possibility after the change in Labren and Eve’s relationship.

Early on in the book, Eve is threatened by being told she’s been sold to an innkeeper who keeps girls to “entertain” the guests. Later an unscrupulous character leers at her and is said to make a highly inappropriate suggestion to her but she is able to escape. There is also a reference to a man’s wife liking his friend more than she liked her husband. But each instance is handled with delicacy and takes care not to stray into gratuitous detail.

There is some violence but most of it takes place off-screen. The most we see are a few punches. Language also takes place off-screen with one exception: A slave owner is referred to as “bastard.” Personally, I could have lived without that name being written out since it was a reference to the man’s character and not his being illegitimate. However, the word, and its single use, may not bother other Christians at all.

Technical – Grade A-

This book was very well-edited. It only had one case of a homophone swap: “accept” being used when it should have been “except” and one instance where it appeared that two words had been dropped but the sentence still made sense. The pacing was good if quick due to the novella-length. There was also one instance where Eve said she and Labren had been running for a month but everywhere else referred to it as being two months. There were a couple places where the more modern “Is he okay?” was used, which didn’t quite mesh with the medieval-esque atmosphere of this fantasy. And one instance where a princess of the kingdom was referred to as “Her majesty” when it should have been “Her highness,” but that probably won’t bother most readers.

Final Grade – A or Five Stars

Overall, this is a quick, enjoyable read that tells the story of Labren and Eve in a manner that makes me wish it wasn’t over already.  I enjoyed the development of their story and how they supported each other and were concerned for each other even before their feelings became obvious. I am also glad to have the sequel ready for my reading pleasure as I look forward to exploring more of the world of Anavrea and getting to know certain secondary characters better. My sole complaint for this book is that I really wish it had been longer so I could spend more time with Labren and Eve. 🙂 I would recommend this book to people who are looking for a quick, clean Christian fantasy and who enjoy fantasy novels set in a medieval-esque world. Recommended for ages 15 and up.

The Crown of Anavrea is available through Kindle, iTunes, and paperback.

Next – The King of Anavrea (The Theodoric Saga Book 2) by Rachal Rossano

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