At our last book club meeting we discussed Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. I had a hard time discussing just this book because the copy I checked out from the library also had the sequel, Court Duel; the stories blend together so well.
A deathbed promise to their father sends a daring girl and her brother off to war. Filled with intrigue, romance, and magic, this spellbinding novel is a dramatic coming-of-age story about a girl who rises from impoverished beginnings to take command of her own fate. “Smith tells a fast-moving tale of adventure, intrigue, and honor, with Mel a likable heroine and a lively narrator.”–Booklist (Description by Amazon)
Meliara, Mel for short, and her brother Branaric promise their dying father to stop the King’s attempt to take their lands and protect the covenant with the Hill Folk. I love that despite their titles of Countess and Count, they work and fight side by side with their people. Their goal is for a better life for everyone. Even after being captured by Shevraeth, Mel keeps fighting for what she believes is right. In our book club meeting we talked about her humility, she thought she was a laughing stock when in reality she was considered a brave hero. We also talked about the relationship that develops between captor and captive.
Her pure intentions and good heart make her an endearing character. Between wanting to see what happens to her next, Shevraeth’s true intentions, and all the exciting twists and turns in the story – made me start reading the second book immediately. And I liked the second book even more than the first. I don’t want to go into the second book too much because it would spoil the first book. On that note, I give Crown Duel three slices of pie and Court Duel five slices!