Maybe it’s not the first kisses that are supposed to be special, maybe it’s the last ones
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.
Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.
And with that another of my favorite series comes to a close. Excuse me while I cry and figure out what the hell to do with my life, or better still, what to read next. ‘The Crown’ is the heart wrenching conclusion to ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass and although I preferred “The Heir’, ‘The Crown’ will always be one of my favorites. ‘The Crown’, like the others which preceded it, is not an incredible work of literacy fiction, nor is the plot involved or complex. What ‘The Crown’ is is a captivating, lighthearted read. It sweeps you up into a stunning world of princesses and handsome suitors, of glittering gowns and stunning palace vistas. This is what makes this series so beloved, they are relaxing and easy to read, providing a lush escape from the mundane and they will be solely missed.
‘The Crown’ is a very different book from ‘The Heir’, we have now moved on from the lighthearted dates and the parties and down a much darker path. In ‘The Crown’ America is recovering in hospital with Maxon by her side leaving Eadlyn, now acting as Regent to oversee the running of the kingdom. Still very much in the middle of her own selection, with her subject’s growing unrest hanging over her head, she faces the seemingly impossible task of choosing a husband to cement the shaking ground beneath her heels. As inside forces plot against her with dangerous revelations coming to light, Eadlyn is forced into a position where she may just have to sacrifice her heart to save her kingdom and the one who captured it, forever.
Like ‘The Hier’, ‘The Crown’ provided yet another perspective on the selection. This round we see the world Kiera Cass has crafted from the eyes of a queen, not just a member of the selected or a princess. We see the effects on the royal family and Eadlyn herself even more so than ‘The Heir’, playing witness as hearts are broken and sacrificed and one person risks all for the sake of the kingdom they’ve built. Our hearts broke along with Eadlyn as she held audience with her people, witnessing their grievances, poured her soul into her work, trying as hard as she could to run the kingdom justly. We, along with other members of the household see just how hard her life is. It’s not all glittering gowns and parties. It’s not all fun and games. This way of life is a serious job, one of the hardest in the world and we see first hand the strain it evokes.
The Eadlyn presented in ‘The Crown’, like the plot itself, is very different. This Eadlyn carries the weight of the fragile kingdom on her dainty shoulders, she has been forced to grow up and she does so beautifully. Her character development is huge, gone is the sometimes selfish princess to give birth to a just and powerful queen, a capable leader in her own right. She still has her fierce focus and drive but now she is a woman ready to sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of her kingdom. She works to mend her flaws, desperately wanting to please her people and give them a country they can all be proud of. For those, unlike me who didn’t love her in ‘The Heir’ be prepared to, much like her own subjects be won over by her passion, determination and unconditional love for her country. Also, unlike ‘The Heir’ this Eadlyn is capable of love. I cheered as she came to terms with her feelings, and finally learnt to listen to her heart, allowing another past the walls she’d so carefully constructed long before. No, I won’t say who this mystery man is, only that I rooted for him since ‘The Heir’ and I was ecstatic with her choice. For a while, it could have gone a number of ways but I couldn’t have been happier with her choice and treasure them almost as much as I treasure America and Maxon.
Speaking of, like ‘The Heir’, we still have the amazing cast of characters, new and old but this time the Selection has been narrowed down to the Elite, giving us as readers a chance to really get to know her suitors. No longer two dimensional characters, we get to peal back the layers, finding one (or two!) surprises underneath. Now the seeds are planet for deep connections and dynamics to be formed. Eadyln finally connects to her six suitors, forming unlikely bonds and friendships, resulting in powerful allies. These relationships, unlike ‘The Heir’ didn’t seem forced but were natural and the romance flowed beautifully, reminiscent of the original trilogy with the perfect amount of swoon. America and Maxon are as adorable as ever and we even gain more insight into their unspoken pasts, especially Maxon’s childhood.
The only flaw this novel had for me however, was the ending. Without spoiling the conclusion, I found that there wasn’t as much closure as ‘The One’. Sure, it did tie up the lose ends from ‘The One’ and it ended the way I wanted it too but I felt that the ending was rushed. Both ‘The Heir’ and ‘The Crown’ had built up to this climax but we didn’t see it come full circle, the ending was rather abrupt, leaving a little too much to the imagination. It didn’t quiet feel like an ending to a series, it left me wanting more. I need affirmation that Eadlyn’s choices did actually better the country. I needed to see her and her husband, I needed to see her story tied up into a neat little bow. This was the only downfall for me and I hope that perhaps, like with America and Maxon we get a glimpse of life after ‘The Crown’ in the release of the revised edition of ‘The Happily Ever After’ in June.
So, to wrap up this rather long review, ‘The Crown’, despite the lacking ending was still a great conclusion to Princess Eadlyn’s story. ‘The Crown’, though taking a darker turn, was as romantic and captivating as the others before it. A rewarding expansion to the original trilogy and a fun read. I highly recommend this series for the inner prince or princess within. 5 shimmering stars, goodbye Illéa, you will be missed.