• Sarah Leonard

"Crown of Feathers" Book Review

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

When I read Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto, I felt like a warrior princess, because the characters were so amazingly awesome, I felt like the book couldn’t contain it all so I just absorbed it as a reader. It made me want to kick a cat-caller. It made me want to ride the nearest bird to victory. The novel follows the stories of three protagonists: a teen with a phoenix egg who dreams of becoming a legendary Phoenix Rider (Veronyka), an animage forced to work as a soldier to make up for his crimes (Sev), and a Phoenix Rider in training who wants nothing more than to overcome his fear of fire and earn his father’s approval (Tristan). And all these stories flow together seamlessly, following Veronyka as she disguises herself as a boy in order to train alongside the glorious Phoenix Riders. This book checks all the marks—world-building, characterization, prose, plot—and leaves me desperate for a sequel.

World-building is probably this book’s biggest strength. Both in and out of the main plot, I get little tastes of this fictional place. Really, with the way the world is created, it really doesn’t feel fictional. There are sections at the ends chapters that take a break from the main plot to give us more info, fashioned to look like old documents, written in a way that feel like pages of a history book. There are also pauses within the text now and then to give us background and build this magnificent world. Although, it does get a little excessive at times, pulling me from plot.

Much like the plot and characters, even the prose holds fire. It makes me feel like every character is truly a warrior. But I also get true insight into what the characters feel, making it hard not to fall in love with every one. I know Sparrow only for a total of probably 30 pages, and I still adore her. Come on. I think everyone can agree that we should all strive to be like Sparrow, blind or not. Yes, blind people can be badass too. There were two blind people in my family. While my independent grandma knew her house like the back of her hand, my uncle and his dog practically rule the streets of New York City.

We only love the characters more with the unique and subtle way the author manages to describe emotions with tangible metaphors and descriptions. Many parts of this novel are created so vividly it’s as though I could reach out and touch this world. These prose along with the world-building work together to lift up already amazing characters, making them impossibly better. This book will stoke all those female souls yearning for a story where they feel empowered by the end of it. All of the female protagonists are badass. All of them. The is probably the first book where for its entirety, I almost always feel like the females are treated as equal to men. They are never inferior and that’s so empowering. It makes me feel strong as a reader. Yes, I will capture that bird and ride it to victory. I will cut my hair and pretend to be a boy. Not really, though…Hair takes a long time to grow back.

My only comment is that now and then, but rarely, it kind of feels like there is POV jumping. Even though I’m guessing that is unintentional. In the end though, the book is so good, I really don’t care about that. The plot is unique and free of holes as far as I can tell. It stands out within the genre and features a level of diversity in regard to the characters. I also love the magical system and plot twists. Nothing ever seems too cliché and the plot twists are never too much like a soap opera.

In the end, please read this book. It’s so worth your time. With beautiful prose like Naomi Novik, world building like Sarah J. Maas, and powerful characters like Laini Taylor, this book is sort of the perfect fantasy baby. It’s really hard not to love.

Side note, if you try to ride a bird and it attacks you, I do not take responsibility. And I don’t condone the riding of birds.

But do read this book! ‘Till next time, Nooksters!

Side Note: The ARC was courtesy of NetGalley. If you're a book reviewer, check out their side!


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