Florence Crown was a normal seventeen-year-old girl quietly navigating her senior year in the shadow of her popular twin, then came magic, and devastation.
Taken to another layer of the world where magic reigns supreme, transportation is instantaneous, mages transcend death, and creatures perform their own enchantments, Ren is locked away--a secret inside a secret world.
Possessing a rare form of art and creation magic, Ren breaks free and illegally haunts the libraries and laboratories of the prestigious Excelsine University, where every crevice of the mountain campus is filled with extraordinary magic, and where anything within the realm of imagination is possible--including overturning death.
Determined to reverse what happened the night her world transformed, and surrounded by brilliant magic users who could help--or enslave--her, Ren becomes part of an elite group of unconventional students who delight in skating the edge of the forbidden.
But caught up in a painted universe of layers, hidden agendas, and factions on the brink of war, Ren has to discover just how far she can bend reality before she breaks--and annihilates every layer of the world around her.
Wowowowow. Seriously, wow. When I first looked at the book, I honestly wasn’t expecting much since it was listed as a free book in the “Featured” category of iBooks (I still had to pay for it, so I’m not really sure what’s going on there . . . I guess the author changed the price and the iBooks people didn’t notice?).
A lot of the free books that I’ve read have had decent but very clichéd storylines, horrible grammar, and irritating and/or holier-than-thou characters who knew everything and could do no wrong (okay, maybe there aren’t a ton of those characters, but I just read a book with one, and it’s still annoying me). Some of them were okay, so I tried to keep an open mind, but I know I definitely wasn’t expecting the amazingness that was this book.
First off, the heroine herself, Ren, is hilarious and really, really easy to like. She’s loyal (almost to a fault), super trusting, and perfectly aware of how imperfect she is. She also tends to form connections with random things (i.e. dancing gophers, a drawing of a butterfly, and some rocks), which I found super adorable. Everything just seemed so alive in this book, and honestly, I loved those rocks almost as much as she did.
The other characters are really great and dynamic, too--even Olivia, Ren’s seemingly cold and unfeeling roommate. The world that Anne Zoelle created in this book is exciting and intriguing. I seriously wish I lived in Ren’s world, even with all of the scary, dangerous parts. Though some of the descriptions were kind of hard for me to follow . . . I couldn’t really picture some of the stuff that was in this book, probably because I just didn’t really understand some of the explanations. A lot of the descriptions went right over my head, even in the second book (which, by the way, I bought immediately after reading the first one).
Also, unlike a lot of YA fantasy books, the romance in The Awakening of Ren Crown (if there really even is one) is present (kind of?) while definitely not being the focus of attention. The book instead focuses on some of Ren’s other relationships, particularly her friendships and her connection to her twin brother, Christian. I thought this was interesting, though I really do hope that the romance further develops as the series goes on.
My only complaint, really, is that the explanations and descriptions are a little confusing. The grammar wasn’t . . . perfect, but it was pretty close (honestly, the whole grammar complaint is just me being annoyingly nitpicky . . . it really wasn’t all that bad). Overall, though, I seriously loved this book, so much so that I’ve already purchased the third book, even though I haven’t finished the second one yet. I really hope that more people decide to read the awesomeness that is this book (and that Anne Zoelle writes her next book soon), and I’m definitely recommending it to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy books.
My rating for this book is a . . . 9.2. Comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to hear more about the book or if you have any suggestions for our next review(s). Okay, that’s it!
Thanks for reading,