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This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy

This Cursed Crown is the sequel to Alexandra Overy’s These Feathered Flames, a retelling of the Firebird myth. I’m not sure why I requested a review copy of it because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book. Perhaps I believed that the sequel would be more interesting, the characters more sympathetic. Perhaps it is my chronic need for closure and the compulsion to finish started series no matter how I feel about them. No matter the intentions, I opened This Cursed Crown expecting the worst but hoping for better.

Thankfully, I did so because Ms. Overy’s storytelling only slightly improves. The story moves quickly, which is one positive attribute it has. Although one could debate that a speedy pace means there are untold stories, unfinished development, and unfilled plot holes, all of which would improve the story. The story itself is okay, neither mind-blowing nor so dull as to deserve not finishing it. Because it moves so quickly, it lacks certain explanations which would help the reader’s overall understanding, so much so that you have to suspend some disbelief in a story that is already about a magical firebird that lives inside one of the characters. The ending did not blow me away either.

There still is a serious lack of character development. One of the main characters does nothing but lament her evil ways, while the other labors over how her feelings cloud her judgment. That is pretty much all they do too. Each solution they seek leads to more hand-wringing by both parties. Even the finale, which is supposed to be the one opportunity to prove themselves selfless and noble, fails to show that they learned those traits. I wasn’t a fan of either main character in the first novel, and it remains true upon finishing the finale.

Perhaps it was a mistake to choose to read an advanced copy of This Cursed Crown by Alexandra Overy given my feelings for the first book, but I hoped that the story would get better based on feedback and experience. Most of my issues with both stories are the main characters, both of who I could neither sympathize with nor had empathy for. That I believe it remains as mediocre as that first book is purely that, my belief. It has an average rating of four stars on Goodreads, so I am clearly in the minority here.

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