The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz Review: Historical romance soap opera

February 2, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz Review: Historical romance soap operaThe Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Source: Borrowed
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.

The prologue for The Ring and the Crown sets the scene with mystery and intrigue – which girl is the traitor, and which one is the real Princess? As the book begins however, it isn’t immediately obvious what the prologue is about. But if you sit back and relax, enjoy the drama and the extravagance, it will take you on an enjoyable ride.

Set in a the British Kingdom protected by a Merlin, The Ring and The Crown presents a wonderful piece of light historical romance. With characters such as the sickly princess, playboy prince, powerful sorceress and a few heiresses, there is an elegant, fairy tale like quality to the book.

How could he love Marie if he would take her away from the palace, everything she knew and everyone who loved her? How could one man’s love equal the love of an empire, a family, a mother, a people

There were many character point of views in the book, but I was never confused by which one I was following. They each had interesting, definitive and well-rounded personalities which set them apart. I was impressed with the authors’ ability in writing concurrent storylines and while developing multiple characters throughout the book. From the regal Marie, to the flirty playboy Prince Leopold, the honourable fighter Wolf, the scorned Isabelle and the powerful and loyal Aelwyn, I was determined to find out how their stories would turn out and who they would end up with.

Aside from who people were going to marry (for the women) or who they wanted to bed next (for the men), there wasn’t a lot in terms of plot. Everyone has their own agenda and their own stories, which i enjoyed following and seeing where it was all going to go. This won’t suit every reader however, as it was a bit slow and draggy until the last quarter of the book.

She felt like a caged bird, struggling and flapping her wings as the cat pounced. A bird, a mouse; always she felt like an animal around him, and now she wondered, was it her or him who made her feel this way? 

While I enjoyed seeing everything come together, the big reveal was rather jarring. I didn’t see it coming and the explanations and events leading up to it seemed to be a matter of convenience, making sure the story tied up neatly. It was more a case of telling rather than showing, and the author didn’t do a very good job of foreshadowing.

The world building is quite poor, aside from the British kingdom and talk of the New York Astor and Prussian lines, we don’t really know why magic is such an integral part of the world and how it came to be. I was fascinated with how the ‘invisible order’ of Merlins and Morgaine were part of the royal court, and wish there was more about it.


The Ring and the Crown is an addictive, quick read with an elegant setting about the love and the life of royalty and heiresses. I enjoyed the soap opera romance and vibrant characters, as well as the experience of reading without knowing where it was all going to go. It doesn’t offer a particularly strong plot, or much in terms of world building, but I loved the twists at the end and how the ending is very different to what we anticipated. I can see this is a series however, so I’d definitely be keen on picking up the sequel.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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65 responses to “The Ring and the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz Review: Historical romance soap opera

  1. I thought this book was so-so, too, Jeann. Not much made a lot of sense, and like you said, there was a lot of telling instead of showing.

  2. piscesgirl1688

    MMMMMM this sounds a lot like what I thought! Dude, honestly I would LOVE LOVE LOVEEEEEEEE a TV show based on this–can you just imagine? I'd probably be addicted and stuck to the TV while flipping through the book and matching events with events lol.
    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday

  3. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This one was a disappointment for me unfortunately – I think the ending was the biggest disappointment for me. You've described this perfectly as a romance soap opera though! I might have been more disappointed by this because I really wasn't expecting so much drama. Great review!

  4. literateture

    Interesting…I'm very glad you liked it enough. I didn't pick this book up because of the author…she isn't one of my fave, she's on my list of must avoid authors AHAH I'm so mean…I even met her already HAHAH Her books just don't get along with my taste HAHA
    My recent post Three Wishful Wishes

  5. We are right in line with our opinions on this novel except I personally wouldn't pick up the sequel because I felt by the end with how everything turned out that I had enough of those characters and their lives with that book especially since it didn't seem by the end that it needs a sequel. Though I think I heard rumors that there might be one.

    Like you I liked the character interactions but really wished for more worldbuilding on the magic front.
    My recent post Review: Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher

  6. I agree with you, all these POV's were so well done that I never felt lost during the stitch of POV's – I actually am a sucker for multiple POV's and this one was so well done.

    I hadn't thought of the ending as told-not-show but it really is true! I definitely thought it was way to rushed things and there wasn't enough building up to it.

    Also, am pretty sure this is gonna be a series.

    • I get confused easily with multiple characters and povs but yeah, it definitely was well done. The ending was pretty rushed.

  7. cristinasbookreviews

    I have this book and I've been meaning to read it but I never seem to make a dent in my TBR. *shrugs* And I think the cover is absolutely stunning!!! I'm always bummed when the world building isn't as stellar as it should be. Buuuuut maybe that will come in the next installment? Anyway, will definitely get around to reading it. 😉
    My recent post Mini Reviews: You Are Here by Liz Fichera & Strange and Ever After (Something Strange #3) by Susan Dennard

  8. MERLIN THINGS. MERLIN MERLIN. I'm still bitter that show was cancelled, so whenever I see that name I'm like YES I WILL READ/WATCH THIS TO GET MY FIX.

    The world-building though 🙁 and not to keen on this 'who women will marry' being the only real plot. I get it's set in a different time / world or whatever but COME ON. NO. Just no.
    My recent post Why Fiction Is Just My Cup of Tea

  9. Bec

    I feel like I'd have lots of fun reading this. Even if the plot is slow, following everyone's agendas and trying to figure out their end game would be interesting enough. Plus I'm intrigued by the whole alternate history and magic part and THAT COVER

    • It was quite fun actually, following multiple plotlines and seeing who ended up with what. THAT COVER IS AMAZING RIGHT?

  10. Faye M.

    I read Khanh's review of this not too long ago and it kinda scared me because apparently this book has so much relationships going on it can get pretty confusing O.O But not sure anyway if I want to read if the world-building isn't that much… I feel I'll only feel meh about it.
    My recent post Potato Strip #4: Theme Coding + Cats

  11. I've been debating whether or not to pick up this book. The cover- just GORGEOU, but Ive heard many mixed reviews. I like my books to be fast paced with fleshed out characters and world building. I don't really like the sound of a slow plot and a convenient ending. Hmmm will put it on the back burner for now! Lovely review Jeann xx

  12. This one rather does sound like a soap opera and whether that is a good thing or not… eh *shrugs shoulders*. Really it's the pretty cover that still continues to tempt me 😛

    I am glad that you were able to enjoy it and sometimes, what we all need is a breakkk and something fun and addictive to read! 😀

    Lovely review, Jeann! :DD
    My recent post Potato Strip #4: Theme Coding + Cats

    • Cover love definitely does tempt you doesn't it? It was quite a fun, light hearted book which I enjoyed. Thanks lovely!

  13. As lush as the surroundings sound, I'm not sure I could really get stuck into something with no definitive plot line. What's actually drawing me in, is the soap opera romance. I love overacted bitch slaps and all that across the room intense eye sex. I think this'll be the new overused template in YA now, cruise along with no plotline, then smack readers in the face with a big revelation that no one would see coming.

    Lovely review Jeann and that cover is just gorgeous isn't it! <3
    My recent post Hubby's Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

    • Oooh if you like the soap opera romance, I think this one you'd enjoy Kelly, even though the world building is weak. It is such a gorgeous cover, I want to keep it!

  14. I was really excited about this book, Jeann, but after the reviews started to come in, I sort of lost interest. I have to say though, you're making me want to read it! It's a shame about the poor world building though! There's just so much possibilities with this kind of era! Sad! 🙁
    Glad you enjoyed this overall though.
    Lovely review!
    My recent post Review : My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

  15. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much. I had a hard time keeping track of all the POVs. Also, those song quotes annoyed me. Lol. (Beyoncé? Lorde?) Seriously.

  16. triciasbookreviews

    Great review! I read this one last summer, so I don't remember exactly everything. I do remember that I liked it enough for 3 stars & Wolf was my one of my favorite characters! The twists were great too! 🙂
    My recent post 2015 Reading Goals

  17. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    This still sound really interesting regardless of shaky world building. I hadnt heard of the multiple perspectives, so I'd love to read about that! Lovely review, Jeann!