Thursday, May 16, 2013
Description: Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king. That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms. If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting--with wits and words and secret alliances.
In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one. (from Amazon.com)
My Thoughts: I love this book! Mel is such a realistic character--she really allows her emotions to cloud her actions and judgements, but she's also very aware of this (especially as the story continues) and tries not to allow this to happen. She's also very plucky and brave--and not endlessly winning at sword fights and things despite having only been training since two weeks ago. The physical aspects of her adventures, and her parts in them, are very realistic in that sense (without going into the nasty details of the few fights).
The other characters are not as well-drawn. Vidanric struck me as too perfect--he always knows what's going on and is always in control of the situation, with very few exceptions. This was less true of other characters, although many of them are much less developed than Mel was and seem a bit flat. Vidanric is also entertainingly sarcastic, if you like that sort of thing (which I, obviously, do). Rereading Crown Duel recently, he strikes me as what many girls or women may see as a "perfect" man, which was fun a few years ago and a bit less so now.
Crown Duel is a very fun adventure/romance story and a nice quick read.