Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Review: CROWN OF FEATHERS by Nicki Pau Preto

“For readers who crave vivid world building and nuanced characters, CROWN OF FEATHERS is a feast of magic, action, and romance! An immersive, deeply satisfying fantasy that will stay with you long after the story is finished.” 
– Elly Blake, New York Times Bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga


Jacket design by Sarah Creech
Jacket illustration © 2019 Kekai Kotaki

I am a daughter of death
From the ashes I rose
Like a phoenix from the pyre

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.


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“Set in a world of warrior queens and their fierce phoenixes, Nicki Pau Preto’s CROWN OF FEATHERS is absolutely unforgettable. It draws you in with the first flaming feather, and doesn’t let go. Fans of magical creatures, get in line, because I haven’t loved a phoenix this much since Dumbledore’s Fawkes. This is an instant favorite.” 
– Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series


Whoa! What a ride. I picked up CROWN OF FEATHERS by Nicki Pau Preto not knowing much about it, aside from the fact that I loved the cover. Ha! I admit that I only skimmed the synopsis (I'm notorious for this) but once I saw that it was about Phoenixes, I knew I had to read it. Once I started reading I couldn't stop!!! This book had me hooked from the very beginning.

It's told through several different points of view: Veronyka, who is an animage on the run with her sisters Val - they are on a quest to become Phoenix Riders; Sev, who is a soldier with a secret - he's an animage hiding in plane sight; and Tristan, who is a Phoenix Rider trying to prove himself to his father. Each character's story starts in a different place, so it was really cool to anticipate and discover how they would each overlap and intertwine.

The human characters were great, but the real star of this show was the phoenixes! I don't think I've ever read a book that has a phoenix in it, aside from Fawkes in Harry Potter (obviously). The Phoenix is a mythical bird that can rise and be reborn in flames and ashes. I thought this was a fun addition to the YA fantasy genre.

The way that Nicki wove the storylines together was brilliant! I also loved the addition of letters and writings from historical characters and texts statically placed throughout the book. This was the authors debut novel, but it definitely didn't feel like one. I think her educational background plays a huge role into how well the book was crafted. CROWN OF FEATHERS is a story about family, friendships, love, love, the ties that bind us together and the lengths that one person will go to to reach their goal. 
I am on a roll this year with amazing reads. This one blew me away. Can I have book 2 already?!? If this book wasn't on your radar, it should be!!!

"You're like fire too - you light the way." 

**I received an ARC through NetGalley from Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and feelings are my own**


“The unique and imaginative world of the Phoenix Riders had my rapt attention from the first sentence. Nicki Pau Preto is a bright new talent, and I can’t wait to read more!” 
– Morgan Rhodes, New York Times Bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series
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Nicki Pau Preto is YA fantasy author living just outside of Toronto, Canada––though her hatred of hockey, snow, and geese makes her the worst Canadian in the country. She studied art and art history in school, mostly because she thought it would be hard to get a job with an English degree…but it turns out it’s hard to get a job with an art degree, too (surprise, surprise) so she went back to school again for graphic design.
The common thread in all her studies was creativity (art and graphic design) and a love of stories (art history is, after all, the stories behind famous works of art). This may be why the fantasy genre, where the writer can create brand new worlds with histories and cultures of their own, always appealed most strongly to her.
When Nicki’s not reading or writing, she can be found watching basketball (go Raptors), playing soccer (forward or midfield), and online bargain shopping with competitive zeal (she’s a starving artist, after all). Oh, and sometimes she manages to go outside and see friends and stuff.
Her YA fantasy debut CROWN OF FEATHERS is available now from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.
Name Pronunciation: Pau Preto is my full surname, and is pronounced like so: Pow-Prett-Oh

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