• Crown of One Hundred Kings by Rachel Higginson
Crown of One Hundred Kings by Rachel Higginson Book Cover Crown of One Hundred Kings by Rachel Higginson
Nine Kingdoms Trilogy Book 1
Rachel Higginson
Young Adult, Coming of Age Fantasy
Independently Published
October 25, 2020
Kindle, Paperback

A lost princess…

Tessana Allisand had a family once. A home. A title. A future. Until one night when everything she loved was taken from her. Secreted away to an isolated monastery in the farthest region of the realm, Tess was raised in the silence of monks and the loneliness of tragedy. And there she would have stayed if the dark magic that killed her family hadn’t finally found her.

An impossible quest…

With her identity discovered, Tessana must face the home she fled all those years ago. The Crown of Nine must return to its rightful place and Tess must be the one to carry it across the nine kingdoms. And when she arrives? She’ll need to convince a dying kingdom that the crown that has belonged to one hundred kings should be given to a queen.

A rebellious prince…

Taelon Treskinat was in love once. With a princess. The daughter of a slaughtered king. He risked everything to save her, to make sure she survived. When that same princess tumbles back into his life no longer the scared little girl he remembers from childhood, he must decide where his duty lies. With the girl that will threaten everything he knows and loves. Or the kingdom he will do anything to protect.

Didn’t live up to my expectations…

Rachel Higginson’s inaugural book, Crown of One Hundred Kings, of the Nine Kingdoms Trilogy is a coming of age, young adult fantasy set in a medieval-like world. After the brutal murder of the royal family, young princess Tessana Alisand is spirited away by a benevolent monk to an isolated abbey to be raised and educated among the silent order. Tessa is content with her spartan existence and days full of work and study until she nears her 17 birthday when she starts having terrifying nightmares of her past, which she had pushed to the recesses of her mind.  She is know confronted with the knowledge of who she is and a pull to return home and deliver the crown of a hundred kings, which the monk had secreted away with Tessana, to sit on the head of its rightful heir.  To do so she must set out on a long and dangerous journey.

Crown of One Hundred Kings has the makings of an interesting story but fell short of expectations because of characters and their interactions not being believable, even for a fantasy.  The idea that a young, naïve teen would be bound and determined to trek across dangerous lands with no understanding of the threats she might face or how she would expect to be received in the kingdom that murdered her family, seems far-fetched to say the least.  Also, Tessa is supposed to be this down to earth, humble girl because of her upbringing but she frequently comes across as a spoiled princess.  Of course she also just happens to stumble upon a group of rebels led by a handsome “Prince” who has ties to her past.  Their attraction feels forced and the development of their relationship seems canned.  The characters and relationship dynamics is very disappointing since Rachel Higginson is one of my favorite authors and so well-known for her contemporary romances.

I will say that Crown of One Hundred Kings is still worth reading.  Rachel’s writing flows effortlessly from page to page with a mentally captivating mix of description and action.  The storyline definitely grabs you after Tessana makes it to the capital and she begins to stake her claim as heir to the throne.  The ending leaves you with a perfectly balanced cliff hanger; enough suspense to make you want to read the next book and enough conclusion to wait until it comes out.  As of this review there is no information on the release of book 2.