Book Review: Crown of Blood and Stars

Basic info: Crown of Blood and Stars

Author: Dana LeeAnn

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Tropes: Only one bed, Fated mates, Chosen one, Touch her and die

Publication date: February 27, 2023

Edition I read: eBook (ARC)

Pages: ? (maybe around 300?)

My rating: 2/5

Goodreads link:

A nice idea for a fantasy romance, with fated mates and the beloved only one bed trope. Sadly, the execution fell short and the weak writing ruined it for me.

I'd like to start with saying that I really wanted to love the book, as it has a bunch of tropes I love, is based on a nice idea, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. However, the execution fell short for me.

The book overall felt rushed —it should have been much longer to give space for all the scenes and details that we'd need to make it feel complete. Without them, there wasn't enough time spent on world-building and most importantly, character development. 

The characters felt flat and the relationships between them felt way too quick and unrealistic. Especially the one between Dreyden and Adeena. They barely just met when they fell into this "you are mine, you changed my life" type of relationship, and a dynamic and comfort that you'd expect from people that have been married for years. I get that they're fated mates, but to me it still felt unrealistic and way too fast.

The same goes for the side characters (so much unexplored potential!) and their connection with our FMC. Most of the times she immediately got along with them and everyone was so nice and polite with each other, it felt completely fake. Not to mention it only strengthened the feeling that Adeena was meek and compliant without much of a personality for herself.

The other aspect that made me rate it a 2/5 was the writing.

Throughout the book I kept noticing elements from other well-known fantasy books. The opening scene practically screamed ACOTAR and at one point I thought it'll go into a similar director as the Plated Prisoner series with King Demir.

I was very happy to see it didn't, but these "heavily inspired" elements were a little too obvious —just like the tropes were. A prime example for that was the innkeeper explicitly saying "and there's only one bed". 🙄

Although the writing slightly improved around halfway through the book (I marked chapter 11 as better than the previous ones), it often felt like it was written for people who need a very low reading grade to understand the text. The sentences were so short, most of them starting with "I bla bla bla" that it was impossible for me to enjoy. It felt like something a child or highschooler would write.

So many times the characters were also saying very dramatic lines, often over and over again. It felt purely cringe —the type that makes you say "this book is so bad" while you're reading.

I understand that this is a debut novel, but the author will have to work a lot on her writing skills before going on to writing the next part of this series.