Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber

Twin Crowns, Twin Destiny
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Twin Crowns Book Cover Twin Crowns
Twin Crowns #1
Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber
Young Adult Fantasy
Balzer and Bray
May 17, 2022
Kindle, Hardcover
480

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?

A Land of Magic, Blood, and Lies

Twin Crowns is a book that is exactly what you expect it to be after reading the synopsis. It’s a fast-paced journey from one side of the other of the magical land of Eana, told with wit and grace, through the alternating viewpoints of twins Rose Valhart and Wren Greenrock. The twins were separated at birth, following the murder of their parents, yet both were raised to expect to ascend to the Eanan throne, whether through right (Rose) or usurpation (Wren). Rose grows up thinking witches are to blame for the death of her parents, and that they should be hunted down and killed to protect the kingdom. Meanwhile Wren is raised to know the truth: that Eana has always belonged to the witches, and that she and her sister survived the murder of her parents thanks to the witches, not in spite of them.

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Twin Crowns focuses on the value of family, both the kind made through shared blood, and the kind born of deep friendship and loyalty. It brings to light the importance of leading with mercy and fairness, and of being kind to those of all walks of life, regardless of one’s own social status. The book even captures the theme of questioning the prejudices one is raised with, and searching to find the truth in history, despite widely accepted versions of a story. But those more serious themes are a backdrop for plenty of humor and sarcasm as the princesses explore love interests that are far from suitable for an heir to the crown. This naturally leads to crises of duty and honor vs. love and desire, that goes hand in hand with a wild cliff hanger of an ending to set the stage for the second book in the series.

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The princesses must ultimately work together to figure out how the kingdom can be home to the witches, and to the non-magical folk who have been fed a steady stream of lies by the book’s villain, the Kingsbreath, to make them fear those who can wield magic. They must figure out how to save Rose from a marriage to a brutal kingdom, and to end the Kingsbreath’s designs on their throne. And they must figure out how to love and honor each other as twins, after a lifetime apart and vastly different upbringings…and a centuries old curse regarding twin princesses. This book is a fun read, that I highly recommend for fans of YA fantasy.

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