Author: Nicki Pau Preto
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
I had the pleasure of receiving the ARC of Crown of Feathers, all opinions are my own and are not influenced by being given this opportunity!
How am I supposed to write a review for this magnificent book when I can’t even form proper words right now! Guys, Guys, Guys, buy this book. Request it at your library. Do whatever you have to, but support Nicki however you can! Crown of Feathers is beyond superb and I will fight to my death shouting about how incredible this story was and how many emotions it brought out in me (I cried 3 times okay?? Only a few books have the honor of having made me cry)!
I think one of the reasons this book really tugged on my heartstrings is that much like the animages (those that have animal magic and can communicate with animals), I am very much an animal person. I empathize maybe a little too much with them, but I can’t really control that. So *certain* parts of this book pulled on those empathetic strings of mine and brought out a reaction I honestly wasn’t expecting. And let’s be real, *that* scene (that I am not going to ruin for all of you) made me ball my eyes out so hard I had to put the book down and walk away. If you want to know what scene I am talking about I suggest you read this book, when you get to that scene you’ll know, you will definitely know.
The representation in this book was beyond amazing, and honestly it felt so natural?? Why can’t all books feel and read this way? Nicki did such a wonderful job including rep for disabled people – like Sparrow! Who is a loveable little girl that happens to be blind but in no way lets that slow her fiery spirit down, she is one of my favorite characters! There was also rep for mental illnesses such as phobias!?? Like, how amazing is this book already? Tristan has an incredible and intense fear of fire, which is even more difficult for him because he has to face his fear E V E R Y day since he is a Phoenix Rider. And if you didn’t know, Phoenix’s are… literally made of fire. There was also rep for non-heterosexual romance and I am here for it. I don’t want to ruin who it was between but let’s just say it’s my F A V O R I T E trope in the world, enemies to lovers! I lived for those scenes and saw it coming from the very beginning with those subtle shifts in their interactions and it made my heart stop once or twice at the thought of this romance blossoming into something bigger!
I’ve read other early reviews and some people are saying there was a lot of info dumping and it ruined the story for them and I’m like…??? I NEED MORE info on this incredibly detailed world! How could I ever complain about a story that comes with a TIMELINE of past events and a glossary of terms!? Nicki literally built her own world that is entirely unique, and I honestly devoured every page of it. I hope we delve even DEEPER into this rich world in book two! Nicki’s writing style allowed me to perfectly visualize the landscape and the surrounding areas, so much so that I felt as if I was a part of this story. I wish I could be, because who wouldn’t want to be a warrior Phoenix rider?
The storyline in Crown of Feathers was also indescribable! I won’t even try to put the synopsis into words, which is why I left the official Goodreads synopsis above! There was so much depth to the characters that I truly cared about the decisions they made, and I loved seeing how the story progressed. Every page was a new adventure and I loved being a part of it. Like when Veronyka decided not to let overbearing males get in the way of her being a Phoenix rider so she disguised herself as a boy just so she could join their team when they didn’t allow female riders? 100% ballsy. There were also quite a few surprises along the way that I wasn’t expecting! I truly enjoyed seeing the story unfold and by the end when we learn more secrets of the past, I think my jaw actually dropped. It was like watching a puzzle be put together, suddenly all the pieces fit together and everything made sense. I am beyond excited for book 2 to come out (honestly Nicki when can I get my hands on it!!) so I can hopefully get some answers to my many burning questions!
Another reason I loved this book so much is the characters! They all felt so relatable and portrayed in such a way that I felt like I could be friends with them. There is nothing more important to me in a book than being able to relate and empathize with the characters. If I don’t feel anything towards them or care about their well-being how could I ever care about anything else that happens in the book? Like my sweet SWEET cinnamon roll Tristan. I knew from his first word that I would end up loving his character and him being friends with Veronyka was a match I could have only dreamed of. They are so in sync with each other and I love that they honestly brought out the best in each other. There is no better character development than the kind that changes them for the better. And these two are better together! There are tons of other characters I could talk about for days but honestly, you’d be better off experiencing it for yourself by reading this masterpiece!
So, if you haven’t gathered by now this book is one of my favorites and might *actually* be my favorite read of the year so far. It was so well put together and if I had the time and adulting didn’t get in the way I would have finished this in one sitting because it 100% grasped my full attention and I didn’t want to ever put it down. Nicki, thank you. Thank you for writing such a beautiful story and I am so so so excited to see your career take off and watch you grow as an author! 5 glorious burning fiery stars for this book!