*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but I got fired up all on my own 😉*
Look how pretty that cover is; look at that magnificent creature! I’ll confess, I’m a little giddy looking at it, cos it’s smokin’ hot! Okay, I’ll stop with the awful puns… for now 😉 Thing is, it’s no secret I love mythical creatures. So, when a YA book about phoenix riders was announced, I just knew I had to grab hold and take it for a spin!
And this most definitely delivered on every level. Preto has written a complex, intricate narrative- replete with self-referential myths and tying itself to fantastical legends. Hatched from the very idea of a phoenix, this story embraces both its fiery persona and its promise of resurrection. Going through the blaze of war, we are given a narrative as complicated as real-world history and as tough to pin down. Some of the revelations are guessable, a lot of them are not. These reveals are rained down on you with such intensity, that even if the book was a little on the long side, you will find the stakes take you higher and higher.
And with this we also have some brilliant characters. Both sisters, Veronyka and Val, shine through the narrative, even as one seems to represent the shadows and the other the flame. This dichotomy makes for a pronounced reflection on good vs evil- whilst not entirely falling into a simplistic view. What I especially liked was how believable Veronyka seemed, even if she was largely depicted as good, since she is not without flaws. Rather, she struggles to control her emotions and this causes actual problems. Plus, it’s frequently criticised by Val, making her seem both sympathetic and not too goody-goody. In short, she was very likeable, while Val often felt perfectly hateable (but in the ahh-I-totally-get-where-she’s-coming-from antagonist-ish kind of way!) They were my two favourite characters, though I certainly wouldn’t knock Sev and Tristan. For me, they not only mirrored each other, but the very image of the proud and mystical phoenix.
For this magical bird is embedded in the story. From the world to the writing, there are phoenixes at every turn. The imagery adds to the story and the story adds to the world. With every epigraph, the world is built up and the fantasy is developed. That’s what stands out: the author clearly wanted to convey her love for this underappreciated and underexplored mythical creature- and that’s exactly what she did here! Phoenixes are fully realised in Crown of Feathers in a way I haven’t seen in any other book. This is a radiant start to a series and I’m so happy I read it. Far from going down in a blaze of glory, I predict a lot of exciting things to come.
Rating: 4/5 bananas
So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!