For 16 year old Ivy, attending the magic/scrivenist school Halls of Ivy is nothing but a dream. The school is for future scrivenists and nobility not a kitchen maid. However, when an unfortunate incident has Ivy leaving the employment of Castle Plum and crossing the magic-dampening slurry field, something unexpected happens: Ivy receives and invitation to attend the Halls of Ivy and is promptly picked up by a flying carriage that carries her off to school. As magical as the classes are and how much she adores her new friends, there is something mysterious about the castle. Why does she feel so at home here? Why can she remember things that others have forgotten? Who is that mysterious man in the dreamscape bottle? One thing is for sure, Ivy is going to have one eventful year.
The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a delightful fantasy novel full of mystery, magic, and fun. Our heroine Ivy is impulsive, smart, caring, and very likable. Night has really crafted Ivy and her secondary characters really well, giving depth to each character and providing them complimentary characteristics to Ivy. From the opening chapter where we are introduced to the scrivenist Derwin Edgar Night, we know something mysterious is happening–some plot we must uncover and Ivy is somehow involved. Night weaves this mystery in throughout the novel, placing clues for readers to discover. These hints will excite readers as they try to guess what will happen next and deduce the identity of the mysterious D.E. Night.
Night’s writing is simple, candid, and compelling. Her descriptions are magical yet not elaborate or ostentatious. The simple writing style lets the magic of the plot and her world building take center stage, taking readers on a whirlwind adventure and teaching them that not everything is as it seems and that we are enough.
I loved The Crowns of Croswald. It hit all the things I love about fantasy: great world building, an interesting take on magic, and well-rounded characters. At times, the pace was a little disjointed, but nothing too distracting. It still was an absolute delight, and I am eager to read the sequel The Girl with the Whispering Shadow out later this year.
Those who would most enjoy this book would be middle grade readers who loved the Harry Potter and Septimus Heap series as well as most fantasy lovers in general.
Overall, I rate this book 4.5/5 stars.