Swordfights and Hot Sailor Bois: My Crown of Bones Review

I read a lot of fantasy, but my tastes tend to lean toward high-concept, character-driven fantasy as opposed to epic fantasy with a sweeping world and several characters and plot threads. However, I was feeling in the mood for trying out something more chonky than my usual fare, and I had an ARC for an upcoming release that perfectly fit the bill.

So grab your sword and a fancy colored robe, cause it's time to visit the world of Amassia!

Book Title: Crown of Bones
Author: A.K. Wilder
Publisher/Year: Entangled Teen, 2021
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 512
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

Raise. Your. Phantom.

For fans of epic fantasies and sweeping adventures, this ensemble cast will immerse you in a world of unique magic, breathtaking action and unforgettable characters.

In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come …

A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.

A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms.

A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.

And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.

My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to surprise us all.

Yeah, the description is a pretty typical high fantasy blurb where there are too many twisty plot threads to even bother trying to sum up all the conflicts, but I'm gonna try to give you the low-down.

Basically, this book is about a young heir, Marcus, who must journey to the island of Aku to master his Phantom and prove himself (a Phantom is like an entity that is bound to you and you can call it to help you fight and stuff. Idk I’m probably butchering that explanation lol. Whatever the case, it reminded me of a stand from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure).

But wait! The story is ALSO about Ash, a lowly scribe who travels with Marcus to Aku in order to record his adventures and feats. But Ash is about to have an adventure of her own ... and learn she’s not as ordinary as she thinks!

Random Fantasy Tropes Pulled Straight Out of My Brain

To my delight, this book combines two of my random favorite things in fantasy books: magic power training sequences, and hunting through libraries for clues to solving an age-old mystery 👀 I LOVED the intrigue sprinkled throughout the book, and the twists had me rubbing my hands together with glee!

Since this is an epic fantasy, there were also quite a lot of the obligatory traveling sequences. Those were kinda interesting (and full of danger and swordfights, obviously), but I would have preferred more magic power training and investigation stuff. That's just a personal preference, though.

He Was a Hot Sailor Boi, She Was a Badass Nerdy Girl. Can I Make It Any More Obvious?

Any epic fantasy needs an epic #Squad, and this one is no exception! But out of all the characters in the story, Ash was my favorite. She’s such a sweet and compassionate protagonist, full of total nerd girl energy, but she can be badass when she has to be. Also, I want her job so I can live in a library all day!

Along the way, the squad meets a mysterious hot sailor named Kaylin, who’s weirdly good at sword fighting and being shady 👀 but he has abs so it’s OK.

The romance between Ash and Kaylin was cute, but unfortunately I’m a horrible grinch who tends to dislike anything CLOSE to instalove. So the attraction between them came a tad too fast for me. But if you're the kind of reader who adores the instant spark between two characters and seeing how that affects the choices they make, I think you'll love this subplot!

Trigger and Content Warnings for Crown of Bones

Crown of Bones might not be for you if you're sensitive to depictions of violence involving blood, emotionally abusive parents, and war.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there were a couple of small personal preference things that prevented me from giving this book full marks, but I still had a great time reading it. If you enjoy epic fantasies with politics, a lil mystery, and a LOT of swashbuckling, you should check this one out!

Thanks to Entangled Teen for the ARC of this book! Crown of Bones comes out on January 5th, so if this sounds like something you'd like, go ahead and swipe your copy now :D

Barnes and Noble | Bookshop.org | Amazon | Goodreads

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