counter create hit Court Duel - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Court Duel

Availability: Ready to download

The evil king is dead, the war is over, and Meliara -- barefoot countess and reluctant heroine -- has been swept up into a different kind of battle in the dance halls and drawing rooms of the royal palace. Physical warfare is easy compared to the genteel skirmishes of the royal court. Here, Mel's friends and enemies look alike: Instead of swords, they wave fans; instead of The evil king is dead, the war is over, and Meliara -- barefoot countess and reluctant heroine -- has been swept up into a different kind of battle in the dance halls and drawing rooms of the royal palace. Physical warfare is easy compared to the genteel skirmishes of the royal court. Here, Mel's friends and enemies look alike: Instead of swords, they wave fans; instead of armor, they wear beautiful gowns and sinister smiles. If she is to survive, Mel will have to learn a whole new way of fighting -- with wits and words and secret alliances.


Compare
Ads Banner

The evil king is dead, the war is over, and Meliara -- barefoot countess and reluctant heroine -- has been swept up into a different kind of battle in the dance halls and drawing rooms of the royal palace. Physical warfare is easy compared to the genteel skirmishes of the royal court. Here, Mel's friends and enemies look alike: Instead of swords, they wave fans; instead of The evil king is dead, the war is over, and Meliara -- barefoot countess and reluctant heroine -- has been swept up into a different kind of battle in the dance halls and drawing rooms of the royal palace. Physical warfare is easy compared to the genteel skirmishes of the royal court. Here, Mel's friends and enemies look alike: Instead of swords, they wave fans; instead of armor, they wear beautiful gowns and sinister smiles. If she is to survive, Mel will have to learn a whole new way of fighting -- with wits and words and secret alliances.

30 review for Court Duel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've revised my opinion of this book (or should I say these books?) after a second reading, so instead of editing my old review I shall write another here. I enjoyed it much more than I did the first time! Actually I couldn't remember reading Court Duel at all previously, only Crown Duel, so unless I have a very short memory I must not have read the second part/novel very attentively. But anyway... I thought Shevraeth was great, very clever and mysterious and suave. I do like a drawling hero! Alt I've revised my opinion of this book (or should I say these books?) after a second reading, so instead of editing my old review I shall write another here. I enjoyed it much more than I did the first time! Actually I couldn't remember reading Court Duel at all previously, only Crown Duel, so unless I have a very short memory I must not have read the second part/novel very attentively. But anyway... I thought Shevraeth was great, very clever and mysterious and suave. I do like a drawling hero! Although I wasn't a fan of his 'pale blonde' hair which kept reminding me of Malfoy. Mel was good too - she actually had some faults, which I liked, and she didn't always outwit the baddies or escape capture too conveniently. She was a LITTLE bit dense regarding Shevraeth and his feelings for her - I mean come ON woman, why ELSE would he ask for a kiss as a wager, hmm?? And her 'knee-length' hair got on my nerves a bit for some reason, but other than that I thought she was a good strong independant female character for all the feminists to rejoice over. There were some really original ideas in this, the colourwood trees and the Hill Folk, and the way the different hours of the day were referred to as 'blue' and 'gold' etc. I liked the way the magic in it was just sort of incidental - oh, by the way, my cloak was enchanted by a mage to resist rain. And I really enjoyed all the court intrigue with the fans and dresses and secret letters etc. There was a bit of politics, unavoidably, but I thought S.Smith did a good job of not getting too bogged down in it and I actually managed to follow along with all the plots and conspiracies pretty well I thought! My only beef with the author was that she used "...then I fell unconscious. Next thing I knew I was tucked up in bed with a cup of hot tea" a few too many times as a scene-changing device in Crown Duel. I kept reading Branaric and Meliara as Brainiac and Malaria, and thought others had names which were a bit MUCH (I'm glaring at YOU, VIDANRIC SHEVRAETH). Attention fantasy writers of the world: look into simple names like Ted and Alice! The world will thank you! Finally: despite warnings to the contrary I couldn't resist reading 'Vidanric's Birthday Surprise' - ha ha! It wasn't THAT bad.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The second and stronger half of Crown & Court, Court Duel finds scrappy Meliara at the royal court of Remalna, trying to become a proper gentlewoman. The tyrant has been removed. The Marquis of Shevraeth is the likeliest candidate for the crown, although a few other possibilities remain. Mel’s brother Branaric is engaged to be married. As for Mel, she’s spent the year since the events of Crown Duel educating herself. She’s no longer the ignorant girl who’s prepared to kill or die over a misunder The second and stronger half of Crown & Court, Court Duel finds scrappy Meliara at the royal court of Remalna, trying to become a proper gentlewoman. The tyrant has been removed. The Marquis of Shevraeth is the likeliest candidate for the crown, although a few other possibilities remain. Mel’s brother Branaric is engaged to be married. As for Mel, she’s spent the year since the events of Crown Duel educating herself. She’s no longer the ignorant girl who’s prepared to kill or die over a misunderstanding. But she’s still awkward and impulsive, still reluctant to wear gowns and make small talk and act like a proper lady. She still has that hair-trigger temper, and usually Shevraeth—she refuses to call him Vidanric—is the one pulling that trigger. While book one was war fantasy, all muddy fields and misunderstandings, Court Duel is full of plots and flirtations and secrets in glittering ballrooms and beautiful, labyrinthine gardens. It’s light high fantasy on an Earthlike planet with characters and romance in the Pride and Prejudice/Anne of Green Gables vein, a hint of mystery and another hint of peril, and a dramatic but somewhat mismatched ending, which would probably be more at home in Metamorphoses , but still provides striking imagery and (view spoiler)[a chance for Danric to prove himself a hero (as if he needed any more). (hide spoiler)] I read this book in about a day. Light, funny, romantic, adventurous and a little fantastic—while never once insulting the reader’s intelligence—it is perfect summer reading. Meliara is now officially one of my favorite YA heroines. She becomes awesome by admitting she is not awesome, and pointing out all the specific ways she falls short of who she wants to be. We’ve had so many obliviously self-righteous heroines since Twilight that I’d almost stopped noticing. I wouldn’t want to be friends with any of those girls, but I would be friends with Mel. Nota bene to those looking for a book boyfriend: (view spoiler)[you are going to fall in love with Danric. He is such a sweet, smart, funny and well-adjusted young man that you will not be able to help yourself. Well-adjusted bears repeating. Regarding Meliara, he is the personification of respect. No creepy stalker-like behaviors here. While Smith makes it clear that Dan is very handsome indeed, she emphasizes his personality over his looks, which cannot be said of 99% of YA male leads these days. I rank him right up there with Eugenides and Howl in the Heroic Heartthrob Hall of Fame. (hide spoiler)] You might also like • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones • The Secret Country trilogy by Pamela Dean • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

  3. 4 out of 5

    jade

    I imagine if I could be more neutral, I might've given this book 3.5 or 3 stars. Despite its flaws, I liked and cared about the characters. Therefore, I couldn't bring myself to give it anything lower than a 4 star rating. Yes, I liked the book, but it could've been so much better. The book had some of my favorite elements: an intelligent, sensitive, yet tough heroine; an entertaining court life full of intrigues and power struggle; and a very, very attractive hero. I admired Meliara's courage a I imagine if I could be more neutral, I might've given this book 3.5 or 3 stars. Despite its flaws, I liked and cared about the characters. Therefore, I couldn't bring myself to give it anything lower than a 4 star rating. Yes, I liked the book, but it could've been so much better. The book had some of my favorite elements: an intelligent, sensitive, yet tough heroine; an entertaining court life full of intrigues and power struggle; and a very, very attractive hero. I admired Meliara's courage and learning ability. Though she's slow to understand her own heart and some of her actions were muddled by her emotions, she's not afraid to admit her mistakes and try to correct them. Shevraeth was my favorite kind of hero. He was strong, brilliant, savvy and witty. The way he continued to quietly support Meliara, even with her outright hostility, just melted my heart. I loved all the quarrels between Meliara and Shevraeth. The romantic tension was palpable. However, this was also where the problems came up. Maybe it's the short length of the book, it gave an underdeveloped feel. To me, some brilliant scenes could've been developed further to maximize the effect, and the story also seemed stagnant at times. The climax where they finally opened their hearts, though touched me, could have had more sparks and emotional impact. The final battle was also a little underwhelming. The book was an easy read. I was fully absorbed in the story and characters while reading it, even though I often caught myself imagining more details and exchanges between the characters.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    The second half (Court Duel) I wrote in my mid-twenties. Mel and I shared only one thing: being emotionally backward. I did try to keep that when I rewrote her story, in my forties.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Rating and review to follow, once the Young Adult/Middle Grade battle kicks off! As I said in my review of the first part, my reaction to this one couldn't have been more different than to Crown Duel. I loved this. I believe Beth said it best when she commented something along the lines of this book (parts I and II combined, that is) is best when you kind of start in the middle first. Because the beginning honestly didn't manage to keep my attention at all and I was bored. Yet, now that I've fini Rating and review to follow, once the Young Adult/Middle Grade battle kicks off! As I said in my review of the first part, my reaction to this one couldn't have been more different than to Crown Duel. I loved this. I believe Beth said it best when she commented something along the lines of this book (parts I and II combined, that is) is best when you kind of start in the middle first. Because the beginning honestly didn't manage to keep my attention at all and I was bored. Yet, now that I've finished the entire book, I find myself wanting to go right back to the start and just read the whole thing again. Pretty sure in light of later events, I would give a different rating to part 1 now. Which wouldn't be entirely fair, because obviously my feelings have been changed for the better because of the rest of the story. I still thought this was a little messy during certain parts, and the whole magical aspect is seemingly there only when it's convenient, but WHO CARES BECAUSE THE ROMANCE. I am putting the majority of this review behind a cut, as there will be flailing. A lot of flailing. Because it's been awhile since I've felt the need to write an entire review in all caps. Fear not, I will restrain myself, but you have been warned nevertheless. (view spoiler)[ I just loved Vidanric so much. Ever since book 1, even when I wasn't entirely sure he'd be one of the good guys yet, but especially once he saves Meliara from that torture chamber. Therefore, I was already shipping him and Meliara back when I was only halfway through part 1, so this book turned out to be everything I could have hoped for and more. Because A COURTSHIP THROUGH LETTERS. I JUST. This was my undoing. It seemed so very obvious to me - and probably the entire world except Meliara - that he would turn out to be the Unknown. Still, when the reveal came I wasn't disappointed in the least despite knowing it was coming. Because the ring reveal is so great. I think I went back and read that part like 5 times. SORRY NOT SORRY. Also, the ebook edition I read had a lot of inserts added at the end from Vidanric's point of view and THEY WERE A DELIGHT. Give me more snippets of Russav teasing Vidanric because he's smitten. GIVE ME THEM ALLLLLLL. I just enjoyed reading things from his POV a lot, because it cast a different light on all of the misunderstandings that had occurred between the two of them. And misunderstandings like the series we were presented with here can be tricky, because it can frustrate a reader if they're not done well or if there's no probable cause for said misunderstandings. But they made sense here. I could see where Meliara's mistrust came from (although, to be fair, she might have seen/known/accepted that Vidanric was part of the good guys a little sooner) and then afterwards, it made just as much sense to read how Vidanric always tried to straighten things out, but only ended up making things worse. DELIGHTFUL. (hide spoiler)] Anyway. I could make my flailing ridiculously long, but this review already makes little sense, SO, in short: I enjoyed this so much more than the first part and objectively I also think it's the better book/part. I liked reading about their life at court and the workings going on behind the scenes and the new characters that were introduced. Plus, you know, have I mentioned that the courtship was a thing of beauty? Because it was. Goodbye.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the author for keeping everything fairly simple and great but I’ll keep it at a minimum. There were more politics in this book instead of the action present in the first book. I still really like Mel and she is still true to herself. She is headstrong, aware of her ignorance, and an all around nice girl. Even though there was more politics in this book it wasn’t half as cumbersome as in other books I’ve read. There were a few times when I had to t I could go on and on about how much I appreciate the author for keeping everything fairly simple and great but I’ll keep it at a minimum. There were more politics in this book instead of the action present in the first book. I still really like Mel and she is still true to herself. She is headstrong, aware of her ignorance, and an all around nice girl. Even though there was more politics in this book it wasn’t half as cumbersome as in other books I’ve read. There were a few times when I had to think back to who they were talking about, but that is mostly because I’m lazy with names. Most of the book consists of Mel trying to figure out the ways of the court and whose side she is on. She makes some accurate guesses and some mistakes too. She still needs help from her friends, acquaintances, and her secret admirer who was actually helping her in more ways than with just his letters and gifts. I liked the concept of a secret admirer. The guy didn’t go on and on about how much he loved her and how great she was so it didn’t annoy me as it could have. It was kind of obvious who the “secret admirer” was but it didn’t bother me. I actually kind of liked it because I was in on the secret. The drama level of both books is low and I’m thankful for that. The book as a whole was an easy and enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    THIS IS THE SLOW BURN TO END ALL SLOW BURNS. A MASTERCLASS IN SLOW BURNS. SO SLOW THAT I NEEDED TO READ IT ALL AT ONCE.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Parvathy

    Court Duel is a much better read than its prequel the Crown Duel. Usually I don't get to say this because if the first book is not an engaging read I don't bother with the next in the series. Even though Crown Duel was a slow read it really did pick up the pace towards the end and stopped at an interesting juncture that I had to read Court Duel. I do not regret it at the least. The story picks where it left off from the revolt coming to an end and the evil king put to rest. Now Meliara wants noth Court Duel is a much better read than its prequel the Crown Duel. Usually I don't get to say this because if the first book is not an engaging read I don't bother with the next in the series. Even though Crown Duel was a slow read it really did pick up the pace towards the end and stopped at an interesting juncture that I had to read Court Duel. I do not regret it at the least. The story picks where it left off from the revolt coming to an end and the evil king put to rest. Now Meliara wants nothing more than to go home and to spend the rest of her life in peace among the hill folks. Unfortunately that is not an option as she has to face a battle of a different kind. Among the courtiers she so despised and be a part of the race to find out the next rulers. Of course Vidandric the Marquis of Shevrath is one of the contenders and Meliara has a hard time facing him after the events of the last battle. What follows a story filled with political intrigue, court etiquttes, secret admirers and hidden conspiracies which is sure to keep you interested. As a lead Meliara is engaging but at times I found her exasperating, especially in the parts were she came face to face with Vidanric. I liked the Marquis more than Meliara in this book. New characters are introduced who are sure to keep you entertained. This is a good read but not the kind that will make you stay up all night to finish it but the kind that nevertheless keep you engaged.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Hutchison Irion

    Cute, cute sequel to Crown Duel. If you pick this up, pick up a copy where both stories are in one book. I would have loved reading the first book and just flowing right into the second book. This one picks up right where Crown Duel leaves off and eventually finds Meliara in the captial. I really enjoyed the story and just loved that darling, elusive Marquis. I will admit, even though he was described as having very long light, blond hair, I just had to imagine him with dark hair because I could Cute, cute sequel to Crown Duel. If you pick this up, pick up a copy where both stories are in one book. I would have loved reading the first book and just flowing right into the second book. This one picks up right where Crown Duel leaves off and eventually finds Meliara in the captial. I really enjoyed the story and just loved that darling, elusive Marquis. I will admit, even though he was described as having very long light, blond hair, I just had to imagine him with dark hair because I could not get Lucias Mayfoy's image from the Harry Potter movies out of my mind. Too disturbing, so the adorable Marquis is dark hair in my head. I think he's cuter that way.

  10. 5 out of 5

    laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    Six months after the defeat of Galdran, Meliara has dedicated herself to filling in the massive gaps of her knowledge and restoring Tlanth to prosperity. She's certainly not thinking about a particular Marquis or her horrendous behavior towards him—at least, not until her brother returns from the capital with a fiancee and...the Marquis of Shevraeth. Meliara quickly realizes that it's time for her to take her place at Court, for better or worse. My feelings on this book are torn. While I love and Six months after the defeat of Galdran, Meliara has dedicated herself to filling in the massive gaps of her knowledge and restoring Tlanth to prosperity. She's certainly not thinking about a particular Marquis or her horrendous behavior towards him—at least, not until her brother returns from the capital with a fiancee and...the Marquis of Shevraeth. Meliara quickly realizes that it's time for her to take her place at Court, for better or worse. My feelings on this book are torn. While I love and appreciate the slow burn romance, Mel's actions throughout a lot of this book struck me as...hypocritical? She goes to the capital for the express purpose of ensuring that the best ruler for the people of Relmana will be selected, and then fritters her time away at parties, picnics, new dresses, races and other frivolous activities without giving much of a hoot towards the governance of the country or how the people think about their potential new rulers. She even avoids Court for a long period of time—I get it, the Throne Room was the place where she hit rock bottom in life—which just is annoying as hell because that is precisely why you are there, Meliara. Also, while Bran was a little annoying in the first book, in the second he turns into a loud-mouthed country bumpkin who is far more obnoxious and offensive than charmingly ignorant, particularly with the cutting comments he makes towards Mel's appearance and just about everything else Mel does. He didn't have much page time in this one, and what time he does have he's painfully one-note, with little depth, growth or intent to grow. Meanwhile, I did like Meliara's utter dedication to educate herself by practically cramming a lifetime of education into six month's time. While she has flaws, she does acknowledge them and try to change—although in the case of Shevraeth, don't we all have that someone that we just don't like for some reason, and it's solely because of us and not them? Upped from my previous three stars to four, because despite the frivolous wastefulness of Meliara's court time and, well, the weird ways she throws herself into the softer side of court life instead of actually doing what she came to set out doing, this was an entertaining read. I also love the intricate world-building. (view spoiler)[whereas in a lot of Smith's other works set in this world there's a bewildering amount of politicking and name-placing and oooooh THAT without really putting anything into context, which drives me batty because you can tell that there's a connection for everything but without context it's meaningless and frustrating. (hide spoiler)] Plus, I have a soft spot for Shevraeth, and no I will not call him Vidanric.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    This book is very, very difficult to rate. I liked it - I really did, but there were just some things that drove me crazy about it, along with a nagging feeling that it just didn't live up to its potential. Meliara spends most of this book in a vastly different setting from the last one: Rather than running around in rags and boys clothes, wounded, sick, and hunted, she finds her wealthy and successful self in the glittering court of the capitol. She still has a couple of minor adventures and pas This book is very, very difficult to rate. I liked it - I really did, but there were just some things that drove me crazy about it, along with a nagging feeling that it just didn't live up to its potential. Meliara spends most of this book in a vastly different setting from the last one: Rather than running around in rags and boys clothes, wounded, sick, and hunted, she finds her wealthy and successful self in the glittering court of the capitol. She still has a couple of minor adventures and passing-out moments (good thing she always has someone there to pick her up, lay her down, or give her something warm to drink), but the plot was, in general, much more entertaining and believable this time around (at least, to someone like me, who likes regency literature). I loved her thirst for knowledge, the political discussions, and her anonymous admirer's ability to draw her out and teach her so subtly. I enjoyed her friendship with Nee, the "fan language," and seeing Mel find herself in society life. Unfortunately, there were some major exasperations that deadened the thrilling experience I expected to have. It is clear - so very, very clear to the reader and the rest of the world that Shevraeth would make a great king, that the only way Smith could keep any kind of tension there was to keep a fiery, nonsensical prejudice alive in Meliara throughout a good two-thirds of the book. It made her petty and tiresome at times, and seemed to hinder her growth as a character (think Elizabeth Bennett refusing to give Darcy any credit at all for being a decent guy, even after learning about all of his motives, shyness, and provocations). Another problem was that the adventure and regency aspects of the story were not well-blended. The climax AFTER the climax was... well, weird. And to go from very little "magic" in the story to such a sudden, huge magical threat felt totally out of the blue and contrived. Well, you can tell from the four stars that I still liked it. I would even recommend it, especially to those who enjoyed the first book in the series. It just takes a larger suspension of disbelief than you might expect.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elaney

    I love this book. First read: June 2013 I was not expecting much when I started this book. I was not expecting to like it at all. Boy was I wrong! I don't know if it was because I had such low expectations, but I LOVED it. I actually liked Meliara, which I was not expecting at all, and I enjoyed the story a lot more than Crown Duel. I enjoyed the intrigue, the politics, and, surprisingly, the romance. There are many ways the romance could have been over done, but it was perfect. It wasn't underde I love this book. First read: June 2013 I was not expecting much when I started this book. I was not expecting to like it at all. Boy was I wrong! I don't know if it was because I had such low expectations, but I LOVED it. I actually liked Meliara, which I was not expecting at all, and I enjoyed the story a lot more than Crown Duel. I enjoyed the intrigue, the politics, and, surprisingly, the romance. There are many ways the romance could have been over done, but it was perfect. It wasn't underdeveloped, or overly mushy. I think it was relatively easy to figure out who the Unknown was, but it didn't ruin the story at all. This was the best done romance in any novel that I have ever read. I liked the main character, and thus, I enjoyed it a lot more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    These books (COURT DUEL and CROWN DUEL) are so delightful. I read them years ago and loved them (Vidanric remains one of my favorite heroes!), and I reread them only to love them even more. Mel is just SUCH an appealing character--she's sympathetic, funny, tough, and someone you'd want as your best friend. And Vidanric...well, let's just say "SWOON". Be sure to check this series out! Sherwood Smith is one of my favorite authors, and her writing is always of the highest quality.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sakina (aforestofbooks)

    4.5/5 stars! THIS WAS SO GOOD! I preferred it to Crown Duel, mostly because I love court politics and seeing the inner workings of running a kingdom. I loved every second of it – from the beginning when Nee was introduced and seeing Bran so happy, to seeing Mel learning about court behaviour and then adapting to court life. And the letters between her and the Unknown and just everything else! It was so cute and perfect and just gave me the right amount of feels. About half way through the book I wa 4.5/5 stars! THIS WAS SO GOOD! I preferred it to Crown Duel, mostly because I love court politics and seeing the inner workings of running a kingdom. I loved every second of it – from the beginning when Nee was introduced and seeing Bran so happy, to seeing Mel learning about court behaviour and then adapting to court life. And the letters between her and the Unknown and just everything else! It was so cute and perfect and just gave me the right amount of feels. About half way through the book I was convinced that Mel is demisexual and that made me like 10x more happy and excited to be reading this book! I don't know if its confirmed or anything, but it seemed likely to me, though I could be wrong. I'm going to pretend I'm right though cause I loved how everything was done so well. The only thing I wish this book had was a map. It kind of made things difficult to picture, and I'm the kind of reader who loves to flip back to maps to see where things are. A map would have definitely helped with the first book. Overall, I really, really recommend this duology! This will definitely be a book that I'll reread over and over again!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Metaphorosis

    Court Duel is better than its predecessor, Crown Duel, though it shares some of the same flaws. The story is a harmless young adult adventure, though it focuses more on court politics than I might have wished. On the pedantic front: the language is sometimes careless - several times, there are variants of "he had bade her to ...", where "bidden" would have been correct. But generally, it's a readable light fantasy. More of a concern, even in a YA novel, are substantial flaws in court behaviour. F Court Duel is better than its predecessor, Crown Duel, though it shares some of the same flaws. The story is a harmless young adult adventure, though it focuses more on court politics than I might have wished. On the pedantic front: the language is sometimes careless - several times, there are variants of "he had bade her to ...", where "bidden" would have been correct. But generally, it's a readable light fantasy. More of a concern, even in a YA novel, are substantial flaws in court behaviour. For example, the kingdom lacks a ruler throughout virtually the entire book, yet no one seems very concerned. The book makes the occasional stab at depicting budding democracy, but it's essentially a hereditary, feudalistic system through and through. In a fantasy, that would be no problem if the author embraced it. Here, Sherwood seems to want to pretend everyone's happy with the arrangement. Yet our protagonist, Mel, who we understand to be at one with the common people despite her formal rank, shows no compunction about spending what must be vast amounts of money to have artisans brought from other countries, all to throw a party. Money originally deprived from brutal repression and excess, but ... that was before. The plot itself is fairly straightforward - court politics, unexpected romance - and no great surprise to anyone but Mel. I'm not certain it was mean to be, but watching her not know what's what over the course of two books did get a bit tedious. Overall, a decent read, but not one to go out of your way for, and possibly not meaningful to anyone who hasn't read the first book, which I can't recommend.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Punica

    Reasons Why I Enjoyed This Wonderfully Written Duology: 1. Very likeable characters. 2. The adventure & magic. 3. The humour. 4. The letters & the Secret Admirer. *squeels* 5. The Romance. NOT cheesy AT ALL! 6. Maliara. Girl, you crack me up! XD And because I kept reading your name as "Malaria". Fail! haha 7. Vidanric. So mysterious & cool & collected... *sigh* 8. Maliara & Vidanric's constant bickering! Guaranteed LOL fest! Haha! "I am very much afraid," he said presently, "that your probable futu Reasons Why I Enjoyed This Wonderfully Written Duology: 1. Very likeable characters. 2. The adventure & magic. 3. The humour. 4. The letters & the Secret Admirer. *squeels* 5. The Romance. NOT cheesy AT ALL! 6. Maliara. Girl, you crack me up! XD And because I kept reading your name as "Malaria". Fail! haha 7. Vidanric. So mysterious & cool & collected... *sigh* 8. Maliara & Vidanric's constant bickering! Guaranteed LOL fest! Haha! "I am very much afraid," he said presently, "that your probable future is not the kind to excite general envy, but I promise I can make it much easier if you cooperate." "Eat mud," I croaked. 7. Maliara & Vidanric. SO FREAKIN' ADORABLE! Ugh! One of my fave literary couples now! ♥♥♥ "A wager?" I repeated. "Yes," he said, and gave me a slow smile, bright with challenge. ... "Stake?" I asked cautiously. He was still smiling, an odd sort of smile, hard to define. "A kiss." My first reaction was outrage, but then I remembered that I was on my way to Court, and that had to be the kind of thing they did at Court. And if I win I don't have to collect. I hesitated only a moment longer, lured by the thought of open sky, and speed, and winning. "Done," I said." LOVE those two! There were parts I wanted to skip but I don't know! There's just something about this book! I was initially going to give it 4 stars BUT I changed my mind. It wasn't perfect but I loved it still, so 5 stars it is! Yay! I could read this over & over again! Definitely recommended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This is the second half of Crown Duel, so it, too, must be kept secret for battle reasons. 4.5 stars Definitely way more into this one. The romance was really great. (view spoiler)[I knew he was behind the letters, but THE REVEAL OF THE RING. That was so so great. (hide spoiler)] I also really liked all of the court stuff in general. I want more of that kind of thing in fantasy! Re-read March 2016 Book battle re-read. This is the second half of Crown Duel, so it, too, must be kept secret for battle reasons. 4.5 stars Definitely way more into this one. The romance was really great. (view spoiler)[I knew he was behind the letters, but THE REVEAL OF THE RING. That was so so great. (hide spoiler)] I also really liked all of the court stuff in general. I want more of that kind of thing in fantasy! Re-read March 2016 Book battle re-read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joyce ☘ clutteredbooks ☘

    3.5 * Mel grew up halfway! That's good enough for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Simply Sam ツ

    I liked this one better than the first. RTC....

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    I really enjoyed this book though the beginning was a bit hard for me to get into, perhaps because I was anticipating some torture to come. The first part is about an attempted revolt to overthrow a corrupt king. Told through the eyes of Meliara, a naive but brave young countess determined to lead her ragtag group to victory only to be captured and ensnared events larger than herself. The second part is about the aftermath of victory: the intrigues of heart and court as a country tries to knit i I really enjoyed this book though the beginning was a bit hard for me to get into, perhaps because I was anticipating some torture to come. The first part is about an attempted revolt to overthrow a corrupt king. Told through the eyes of Meliara, a naive but brave young countess determined to lead her ragtag group to victory only to be captured and ensnared events larger than herself. The second part is about the aftermath of victory: the intrigues of heart and court as a country tries to knit itself back together and settle under new leadership. The characters are not perfect but all the more relateable because of it. Meliara grows from a young adult blinded by the prejudice she was brought up with to a woman who understands that life is much more complicated than she believed growing up. She is willing to admit to her failures and grow from them, even if it take her awhile to admit it. There are many other interesting characters as well. The romance is slow but deep. A story to be relished.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Time to enjoy the thrilling conclusion of a barefoot countess with the political acumen of a goldfish exchanging witticisms with a supercilious block of wood. As fun as that was to write, it is not really a fair summation of this book. Smith's previous novel I enjoyed until about the halfway mark, and then my interest steadily declined. This novel had the opposite interest curve. I fully expected to have to force myself through this as the author attempted to weave court politics and intrigue in Time to enjoy the thrilling conclusion of a barefoot countess with the political acumen of a goldfish exchanging witticisms with a supercilious block of wood. As fun as that was to write, it is not really a fair summation of this book. Smith's previous novel I enjoyed until about the halfway mark, and then my interest steadily declined. This novel had the opposite interest curve. I fully expected to have to force myself through this as the author attempted to weave court politics and intrigue into her tediously straightforward heroine's life, but either I have gotten used to her writing style, or the dialogue has improved. The intrigues were subtler (though still not the best I've read) and the conclusion was not completely out of left field. The heroine remained obtuse, but less annoyingly so. She no longer blatantly ignored strong evidence that she was wrong or refused to follow-up on strange details. Instead, she came off as more of a thinking, living person who is simply ignorant. Her incompetence is still hammered at us relentlessly, but it was at least balanced out by a series of actually intelligent actions. All of the characters got more development and some new, interesting ones were introduced. The hero is still stiff and emotionless most of the time, but the romance is enlivened by a clandestine exchange of letters. This sequel ended up being cute and less clumsy than the previous novel. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but there are worse ways to spend one's time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    The kingdom is on track to recover from Galdran's reign. Mel and her brother Bran are no longer outlaws, in fact, Bran has been welcomed into the inner circle of nobility. After her horrible experience with Galdran's court, Mel has been strenuously resisting taking part in the new government, pleading the state of their own county/castle and it's genuine need for some TLC. However, with the former king ousted, there is no clear line of succession, so several nobles could put forward a claim to t The kingdom is on track to recover from Galdran's reign. Mel and her brother Bran are no longer outlaws, in fact, Bran has been welcomed into the inner circle of nobility. After her horrible experience with Galdran's court, Mel has been strenuously resisting taking part in the new government, pleading the state of their own county/castle and it's genuine need for some TLC. However, with the former king ousted, there is no clear line of succession, so several nobles could put forward a claim to the throne, including the Marquise of Merindar (Galdran's sister), Mel's brother Bran and the enigmatic Marquis of Shevraeth. Bran has decided to forgo his claim in favor of Shevraeth, but many at court have noticed that Mel doesn't seem to support this choice so they begin to vie for her attention to support their own claims. To help quash the rumors (even if there's some truth to them) and to attend her brother's wedding, Mel reluctantly agrees to a visit to the royal city. After being so woefully under prepared to incite a civil war, she hopes she'll be better at maneuvering the skirmishes of court. I have put this off far to long! I finished re-reading this about a month ago, but kept putting off writing my review because I didn't want to let it go! I first read this as a teen, and I connected with Mel so strongly that she's one of my literary "besties"; I get her motivations, sometimes I want to smack her for behaving like an idiot, but I can understand. So this, the end of her story, has always (and will always) have a special place on my shelf! Is it the height of intricate court maneuvered tapestry threads? No, I have read more complex plots. Is it perfectly written? Also no, the ending is a little muddled with so many weird things happening and one could argue a cheap Deus ex Machina (which I would contest, as (view spoiler)[true, the tree people notoriously don't take part in the affairs of mortals, however, they obviously do when it involves themselves and their woods (the historic and bloody war Mel mentions in Crown Duel) and Flauvic was meddling most threateningly, so their intervention feels justifiably in character. (hide spoiler)] ). But it is fun and sweet, with a good dose of spunk and a dash of courtly drama! Content notes: Mild, made-up swearing. Kissing, mostly between betrothed couples; a woman is threatened with being made a "plaything" while under magical control, and alliances by marriage are discussed, though not presented as being "good" unless both parties like each other. Some perilous situations, including sword duels and standoffs, but the magical attacks are the messiest, as a person gets knocked over after being turned to stone and crumbles.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Presley

    Original review posted here Sherwood Smith, why oh why are your covers so horrifically bad? Because girl… you can write oh so good. Seriously, as I read this fantastic gem of a young adult fantasy duo I felt like pumping my fist and shouting GIRL POWER quite happily. Because this girl, this Meliara, she knocked my socks off. So basically this story starts with an impoverished member of the court and his two kids, a boy and a girl. The girl has been left to her own devices, she’s run wild, and she Original review posted here Sherwood Smith, why oh why are your covers so horrifically bad? Because girl… you can write oh so good. Seriously, as I read this fantastic gem of a young adult fantasy duo I felt like pumping my fist and shouting GIRL POWER quite happily. Because this girl, this Meliara, she knocked my socks off. So basically this story starts with an impoverished member of the court and his two kids, a boy and a girl. The girl has been left to her own devices, she’s run wild, and she does not have a good impression of the finery and snobbery of the court off in the distance. But now.. her father is dying and the duchy is left to both girl and boy. And to make matters worse – it appears they are going to war. Meliara is gutsy in a very good way. She doesn’t have magical powers that allow her to pick up a sword and kick some butt, she’s too petite for that, and Sherwood realistically portrays that weakness. Instead, she sneaks, she spies, and she does what she firmly believes to be best. From captures to escapes, double-crossings and alliances, and then to the scene at court and the flirtations, parties and secrets, this story moves quickly and had me flipping pages and very grateful that the edition I read had both books combined. This is a satisfying, little gem of a fantasy that is the perfect solution for those of you out there who are tired of cliffhangers and want to read a good, solid story that will have you cheering and maybe even tearing up a little bit at the conclusion.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Me-Connie

    I read this book before the first (my mistake), but this book is so carefully written that it's able to explain to me what happened. I perfectly understand the events of the first (I did read it later) just from this book. The only problem I had was keeping Savona and Sharaveath apart, but I finally got a hold of that. I can see why this would be better as an omnibus version. Much of this book is spent learning court etiquette, which poses quite a few problems. Nothing in a physical plot really I read this book before the first (my mistake), but this book is so carefully written that it's able to explain to me what happened. I perfectly understand the events of the first (I did read it later) just from this book. The only problem I had was keeping Savona and Sharaveath apart, but I finally got a hold of that. I can see why this would be better as an omnibus version. Much of this book is spent learning court etiquette, which poses quite a few problems. Nothing in a physical plot really happens, so this is summarized because all lessons in books tend to be boring no matter how necessary. When an actual plot (in my definition) occurs, Mel is once again an orderer. I understand that she has to keep a pretence of not knowing interesting, but I'd rather be with the battle or spying. Just personal preference. I'm really glad that the Hill Folk make an appearance, I know they're hiding, but when you're fighting for them it'd be nice to see them. Events in the first book are glorified in this one, and I don't see why after reading the actual events. Oddly enough it was the romance that saved the plot. I could sit and laugh at the romance, which was extremely funny. The characters made so stupid mistakes that is could only be funny.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    So much potential to be a great little time waster, ruined by total lack of narrative focus and the main character being insufferable. She's such a prejudiced, self-important moron that the most basic human interaction is mysterious and upsetting for her. I couldn't believe she just kept getting worse; from being fine if generic at the beginning of part 1 to this- THIS. Ugh. Her brother also starts out generically acceptable, then keeps getting dumber and more brash until he seems in need of a m So much potential to be a great little time waster, ruined by total lack of narrative focus and the main character being insufferable. She's such a prejudiced, self-important moron that the most basic human interaction is mysterious and upsetting for her. I couldn't believe she just kept getting worse; from being fine if generic at the beginning of part 1 to this- THIS. Ugh. Her brother also starts out generically acceptable, then keeps getting dumber and more brash until he seems in need of a minder by the end of part 1. Hated them both by the first quarter of the sequel. I liked her love interest (who was so obviously going to be her love interest that I called it from literally the second he was introduced even though it takes agggggggesss to get there), but it's certainly not worth reading for him. Also, if I'd known this was YA, I would never have bought it (second hand, thank God).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josie

    I love that the romance is slowly, slowly built up over these two novels, and I also love Shevraeth, who is cool, calm and collected at all times (and very well dressed!). Mel thinks he is disdainful of her, or at the very least, indifferent, but not so! A good Darcy-Elizabeth type romance in a story will always get me, and this is no exception - initial dislike leading eventually to love...sigh... I also always enjoy the court intrigue, the outfits, the balls, the language of fans and of course I love that the romance is slowly, slowly built up over these two novels, and I also love Shevraeth, who is cool, calm and collected at all times (and very well dressed!). Mel thinks he is disdainful of her, or at the very least, indifferent, but not so! A good Darcy-Elizabeth type romance in a story will always get me, and this is no exception - initial dislike leading eventually to love...sigh... I also always enjoy the court intrigue, the outfits, the balls, the language of fans and of course, the exchange of letters, whenever I read this book. I just re-read over this review so far, and realised I've made the book sound like a Georgette Heyer novel! - It's not, it's YA fantasy, set in a well-thought-out imaginary land, with kings and queens and uprisings and just a pinch of magic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Generally, I don't think much of sequels, but this book is a BIG exception. This is intrigue, romance, action, adventure and magic with a cherry on top! Our heroine faces a very different set of challenges from the first book, but she meets them with the same combination of honesty and spunk that she displayed in the previous volume. I have come to the point where I immediately buy any book by Sherwood Smith because I KNOW I'm gonna love it. Beat your feet down to the nearest bookstore or librar Generally, I don't think much of sequels, but this book is a BIG exception. This is intrigue, romance, action, adventure and magic with a cherry on top! Our heroine faces a very different set of challenges from the first book, but she meets them with the same combination of honesty and spunk that she displayed in the previous volume. I have come to the point where I immediately buy any book by Sherwood Smith because I KNOW I'm gonna love it. Beat your feet down to the nearest bookstore or library and get this!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shannon T

    So good! Absolutely loved this. The characters were great and it picked up right where it left off in the first part of the story so it drew my attention from the beginning. There was a lot of growth in the main characters focusing more on Mel, which was great to read about. There was also a lot of cute little things that happened that made my heart leap with joy! Recommend all the way; it has become a new favourite!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maris Bave

    I really enjoyed this story. The romance twist was a lot more believable than the one in The Queen of Attolia, although I had hoped that there would be no romance at all. I'm not a fan of it. Still, Mel's character arc and the overall plot were quite well done. I was very surprised by some events. But then, going back, all the clues were there. I really enjoyed this story. The romance twist was a lot more believable than the one in The Queen of Attolia, although I had hoped that there would be no romance at all. I'm not a fan of it. Still, Mel's character arc and the overall plot were quite well done. I was very surprised by some events. But then, going back, all the clues were there.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Very entertaining ending to the set. It was well written and lovely. Loved the cameos of the Hill Folk, and would really love to see more of them! Mel's character grew, but didn't lose her vivaciousness. Loved that she took the furthering of her education on, herself. Good lesson for young people. Keep learning, don't accept lack of knowledge.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.