Meliara and her brother Branaric are about to become the figure heads of a push for change, but that push brings them to the attention of the king and he does not accept challenges for his power. Suddenly Mel and her brother are fighting a war that they are ill equipped to win, a war where they must use all their skill and knowledge of the land - but it is not enough and Mel finds herself captured by the enemy and thrust into a world of politics, danger, and duplicity. Is it really worth it?
The edition of this book that I read was actually Crown duel and the sequel Court duel published in one volume - with a bonus short story published at the end. The authors note at the back of the book says that this is a version where the original names she planned have been restored, so it sounds as though there are several versions of these books in existence. They are a nice length, not too big and not too small, and I finished the book in one day reading through both "books" and the short story.
I have read these books several times over the years and have enjoyed them each time, although this time the writing seemed a little stilted, a little stiff, which I have not noticed before. It is a reflection of the time it was written (about 15 years ago) and it appears that I have become somewhat spoilt for choice in recent years, with books for teenagers offering much more than they used to in terms of quality. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed re-reading these books immensely, and enjoyed the challenge for my vocabulary, but it was lacking some of the character of other books I have read recently.
Suitable for younger 'tween readers, and having some exciting sword fights and chases, it also appeals to both the boys and the girls. There is just a touch of romance, a subtle undercurrent that flows through the stories that may appeal more to the girls, but there is also drama and suspense to keep older readers entertained. Hopefully I will enjoy it as much again when I re-read it in a few years time.
If you like this book then try:
- Court duel by Sherwood Smith
- Alanna the first adventure by Tamora Pierce
- Dragons blood by Jane Yolen
- Dealing with dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
- A posse of princesses by Sherwood Smith
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Princess of the midnight ball by Jessica Day George
Reviewed by Brilla