Book Review: The Crown’s Valor by Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale

I enjoy getting further into a series, because it means I can explore the world more with characters I get to know better and better every chapter. Such it was with the latest instalment of Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale’s Hand of Sorrow series.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book is where the previous events of the series really start coming together. Ensula is leading her armies against the tyrannical forces of the Fane and Adrik is called in to help her. They have a great deal of work ahead of them, though, and things only get more complicated as the book goes on. 

While there is a very lovely amount of drama in this book, it felt a little…predictable. I could tell pretty much exactly where the story was going to go. Granted, for me, there are only a few ways a fantasy novel featuring an actual war can go, which is why I don’t often read and enjoy military fantasy fiction. I liked the zooming in on the individual characters and their interactions rather than the broad strokes of the battles, but even that felt a little predictable. 

2. Thoughts on the characters

These characters have been great throughout the series. I think, out of all the characters in this world, that Ensula and Adrik are some of the most complex, which is quite impressive. However, in this book, they felt almost flat. I know that their interactions were meant to follow a prescribed route, meant to line up with certain facts from the Chronicles of Lorrek series, but it felt like the authors were trying too hard to have the characters follow that route, in spite of every obstacle that they placed in the way prior. I get it, I do, and if it were a different genre or done by different authors, I doubt I would have noticed the somewhat flat interactions. But from these two authors, it was a little disappointing.

3. Favourite part

Sindric and the dragon. 🙂

4. Critique

I think the biggest reason that this book felt a little flat to me was that the author parts did not mesh up the way they did in previous books. It was very obvious to me where one author’s voice ended and the other’s began, and the transition was very jarring. Again, it felt like they were just following the prescribed route that had been laid down in CoL, which limited the chance for exploration. 

Overall, I did like The Crown’s Valor, but I think it didn’t quite match up with the quality of the previous books. It was a good book, and I think it will lead into a very interesting fifth book, but I was a little bummed by the predictability.