Book Review: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto book cover

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Title: Crown of Feathers

Publisher: Black and White Publishing, Ink Road

Date: 2019

Plot: 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.

Crown of Feathers is an epic fantasy about love’s incredible power to save—or to destroy. Interspersed throughout is the story of Avalkyra Ashfire, the last Rider queen, who would rather see her empire burn than fall into her sister’s hands.

I received Crown of Feathers from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I intended to read The Crown of Feathers a year ago and it kept getting bumped down the list. The longer it went, the more fantastic reviews I read and the higher my expectations got.

Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

When I first started, I feared the plot would be predictable. In some ways, yes, it was. It follows a few tropes of the genre and there are elements you guess early on. But that doesn’t stop this being an amazing read I couldn’t put down: forbidden magic, bondmates, overwhelming odds, friendships that are far deeper than mere friends… It had everything I love in a fantasy book.

There were various times when the plot caught me by surprise. Characters turn up you aren’t expecting. Backstories link together in ways you don’t anticipate. Not to mention a complicated arc with phoenixes choosing to resurrect or not and what happens if that extends further than the birds themselves. Believing the story to be predictable made these surprises even sweeter.

This book is made by its characters. Veronyka dreams of being a Phoenix Rider, even going as far as disguising herself as a boy to gain access to their stronghold – currently forbidden to girls. She proves herself, but never looses sight of who she is and what she wants. Her magic is stronger than most and it puts her in a powerful position where no one can afford to ignore her.

Veronyka has a very satisfying character development. She goes from doubting herself after being controlled by her sister her entire life, to realising she can be something more. Perhaps most importantly, she also accepts the price of the life she wants – and whether she is willing to pay it or not.

Sev – a soldier with a hatred of soldiers – is also on a journey of self-discovery. He’s so used to surviving he’s forgotten what it means to live – and what it is like having a cause to fight for. I loved Sev’s development as old feelings are awakened in him and he starts to make his own decision.

“But we’re useful. That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. Be useful, boy, and you’ll never want for a position in this world. Find what you’re best at and use it. If you’re sneaky, then sneak. If you’re a liar, then lie. If you’re wicked as the south wind and devious as a deathmaiden, then, well…”

Tristian was my favourite. As the commander’s son, there is a lot resting on his shoulders, not helped by a fear of fire when he rides a fire-bird. Tristian is strong and accomplished, but isn’t above humility and modesty, accepting when he is wrong and willing to learn from it. That made him my favourite – it broke away from the cliché character he could’ve become.

The phoenixes themselves were awe-inspiring, full of magic and character. I feel there’s a lot to still be explored about their powers – hopefully something to be explored in book two.

We go from wanderings to training to battles, swept up as the odds are stacked ever higher against the characters. You get emotionally invested in the characters and have your fingers crossed for the entire novel that they come out on top.

Definitely a recommendation from me. I’m looking forward for the second book being released shortly.

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A Rambling Reviewer

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34 thoughts on “Book Review: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

  1. Aah I had to quickly skim past the last few paragraphs as it definitely sounds like a book I would read! I’m a huge sucker for fantasy and not going to lie… I absolutely love the book cover! Thanks so much for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad it was worth the wait! It’s awful when you’ve been wanting to read something for a while then it lets you down. I’m not typically a fantasy fan but this sounds great! I love that it’s character driven too, I find I care less what the plot is about when I’m in love with the characters x


    Liked by 1 person

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