Thanks to Harry G Sherwin for giving me this book to review.
There is a new emperor on the throne of Justava, and the Masked Man is more cunning and ruthless than his predecessor. When Torrin, an explorer from a distant land, comes to Justava he comes across an old man who gives him a stone which is very dangerous and must be hidden, but the Masked Man will do anything to get his hands on it. Meanwhile the resistance needs more forces to fight the emperor’s tyranny, so Brenik divides his friends and sends Nalia and Yukov to Al Quidin to seek aid. While Ornith and himself go to Resgard, along with a young woman called Jess, who might be the key to success for the resistance.
The First Crown is a good second book, with lots of intertwining stories, action and drama, and had a very Lord of the Rings feel to it, especially with the stone. However, because I had not read the first book, The Darkening Lands, in a while, I had trouble remembering the different characters and some of the things that happened, but after a while I got back into it.
I like Brenik as he is surer of himself in this book and is accepting that he is a natural leader. Nalia has a lots of changes in her mood, but I don’t mind this because in the last book she came across as too perfect. I liked Jess as she has had a bad start in life but it has not turned her bitter, however, she did come across to me as not being too affected by it, which seemed a bit unnatural.
I don’t know if Nalia’s reveal at the end was meant to be a surprise, but I knew what was happening from the beginning. I am looking forward to the next book and would recommend The First Crown to fans of the first book, The Darkening Lands, and the Seven Kingdoms series to people who enjoy books that are similar to The Lord of the Rings.