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

The Crown’s Wrath is the last book in the Hand of Sorrow series by Kelly Blanchard and Matthew Dale, and there’s a lot going on.

1. Thoughts on the plot

Last we left the story, Ensula had been kidnapped. This book starts with the plan to get her back and the events that take place as she is ferried about by the Fane. Ceraleo is still at war, but everything hinges on Ensula. 

In general, I like the plot. Fighting to get their queen back, still dealing with the treachery of the Fane, all taht is well and good. But a lot of the scheming and planning that went into trying to get Ensula back, or in her case, escape, felt staged. It was creating a build up to this clever, intricate plan, when in reality it was circumstance and luck that changed things. And I am all for circumstance and luck; I use it in my own books. But when you keep referencing a plan, and needing time for the plan, and putting together pieces for a plan, I want to see the plan. I think one or the other could have been perfectly fine, but the reference to one and the switch to the other felt a little like things were meant to be clever, but weren’t quite outlined enough for that.

2. Thoughts on the characters

We meet some new characters in this book, but mostly it’s the same characters we’ve seen for the last five books. Perfectly fine, as I love exploring character development and figuring out where things are going to go based on previous character interactions. In this instance, everyone was true to form and I enjoyed exploring their interactions more.

Though. Danroth is a serious idiot. I mean, not just because he’s a terrible person, but he obviously didn’t think a whole bunch of things through this book and is seriously an idiot.

3. Favourite part

The Fade Wolves, though I think this fed into the circumstance and luck portion of the book, I really like the Fade Wolves.

4. Critique

Disregarding the points made in section one, I think that the battle with the Fane, the whole culmination of the war, was not handled particularly well. Yes, the ending made sense once this had happened, and I think that was handled nicely. But the actually battle, the whole readying of the forces, ended…well, in a manner that felt like a foil, or a cheat. It worked in the end, but in the moment it felt like, “here’s this thing that could easily have been done before and thus truncated this whole issue, but I didn’t want to do it because…reasons.”

Given how well crafted the rest of the series was, this felt a little disappointing. I get it, and like I said, the ending worked well under the circumstances, but still.

Overall, I would say that The Crown’s Wrath tied up the loose ends of the series effectively, but it was not as well plotted as I would have liked. A good book, but not quite as good as the rest of the series.