OwlCrate has featured some pretty epic books this year and February’s selection, Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto is no exception! I was enchanted by this book from page one, and instantly needed more once I had finished. Lucky for me, Nicki was holding a search for her First Riders Street Team and I was chosen!!! I am proud to say that I am second-in-command for Team Four (better name TBD). Today I plan to do the usual summary and review, and then at the end I’ll give a sneak peek for the cover of BOOK TWO!! This was such an amazing book and I can’t wait to share it with you! Let’s not delay any further.
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
Summary courtesy of Goodreads
I love a story with multiple POVs, and this one delivered on that fabulously.
Our primary POV belongs to Veronyka. An orphaned waif with only her older, very dominating, sister Val for company, they struggle to eek out an existence all while hiding their animage abilities and hunting for phoenix eggs. Veronyka is a fabulous MC who is full of energy and emotion and is just a genuinely good person. Her sister Val is horrid and awful and I was very pleased they parted ways so early on (even though the reason was as horrid as Val). Desperate to be a phoenix rider, but denied due to being a girl, she disguises herself as a boy and earns a place among the staff.
Our next POV belongs to Tristan, a phoenix rider who hides a deep fear of fire. Coupled with the fact that his domineering father is the Commander, he does not have an easy go of it. Luckily his bond with his phoenix, Rex, is strong. The relationship between Tristan and Veronyka (who he knows only as the boy Nyk) is so great and builds steadily throughout the book. They both grow immensely as characters, and that growth is really a bi-product of the help they give each other.
Our final POV is that of Sev. Sev is a conscripted solider doing everything he can to deny and hide his animage abilities. His story was one I was less interested in initially, but as things progress we find SO MUCH happening within his view. I can tell that as we move into book two I will be that much more invested in his story.
Crown of Feathers also features lots of excellent secondary cast, which only helps with the story and world building. One of my favorite parts of the book is how each chapter begins with a sort of flashback in history, which builds the story of how the kingdoms became so divided and the phoenix riders had to go into hiding. This was done so well and so subtly that it only improved the main plot and never detracted.
I could go on and on about the many intricacies of the story, but I don’t want to ramble. The most important thing I can give as a takeaway is GIANT PHOENIXES THAT YOU CAN RIDE. Enough said.
Book Two: Heart of Flames
As promised, here is a look at the cover (including the full wrap) for the second book in the series, Heart of Flames. HoF is due to release in February 2020, so be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf!
To purchase Crown of Feathers, you can follow this link here!