Another review? Two weeks in a row?! Believe me I’m as stunned as you are by this consistency. But there’s a good reason I’ve reappeared from the bottom of my dragon hoard of books once again: I got to read The Iron Crown by L.L. MacRae. And I just had to tell someone all about it.
Thank you so much to the author for generously providing me with an eARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own!
Title: The Iron Crown
Author: L.L. MacRae
Release Date: May 28, 2021 (OUT NOW)
Fenn’s first and only memory is finding himself in the middle of a forest, face to face with a dragon spirit mocking him, all knowledge gone apart from his own name.
Lost and confused, his only hope for answers is Calidra—a woman living on the edge of the world with her partner. Forced to return home when her father dies, Calidra has put off facing her estranged mother for seven years, and she begrudgingly helps Fenn, forging papers for him so he can avoid the Queen’s Inquisitors.
But her mother is the least of her worries when they discover an ancient enemy is rising again. It should be impossible with the Iron Crown in power—and Fenn is terrified he might unwittingly be playing a part in the war’s resurgence.
Surrounded by vengeful spirits and powerful magic, Fenn’s desperate attempt to find his way home might well alter the fate of Tassar, and every power in it.
I am a simple reader: give me magic, mystery, vengeful spirits, throw in some dragons and I will obsess over a story for days. And The Iron Crown not only delivers all of these things, but it does so with incredible style.
From the first page, we are thrown into the world of Tassar, a place inhabited by spirits – Dragons – who rule over the lands, forests, and seas, and who may bless or curse anyone who crosses their path. For the most part, the humans and spirits appear to live in relative harmony, protected by the magics of Iron Queen from the Myr, evil spirits who were banished from the land five years ago. At least, until now…
The world building intrigued me from the start. I love finding stories where the magic and the setting and the people are so wonderfully intertwined and connected with each other. From Dragon spirits protecting their forest domains, to those serving the Iron Throne, to those utterly indifferent to the presence of humans, there was such wonderful variety in the magic and how it interacted with the people. Additionally, the cities and cultures were intricate had such lovely, small details added throughout that they all felt like places I could explore. There was clearly more to them than just what the narrative showed us, and that’s my favourite kind of world building.
This aspect alone is pretty much everything I love, but added to that is the fantastic cast of characters. MacRae’s writing is absolutely gripping, and she is able to expertly weave multiple points of view together into a fast paced narrative that never feels like it leaves anyone behind. From Fenn and his desperate search to recover his memories, to Calidra’s reluctant homecoming and everyone in between, everyone felt so solid and real and distinct in their motivations.
Calidra was my favourite. I loved how reluctant she was to return home, how estranged she felt from her family, her struggle with vulnerability, and her utter devotion to her partner Jisyel. It was an incredible portrayal and honestly so touching at times with how human she really was beneath her armor. Really, the entire cast was just fantastic. It reminded me of Game of Thrones in that, no matter what kind of character you prefer, you’ll find someone to root for.
Weaving all this together is the writing. MacRae is a phenomenal storyteller. I absolutely stand by my comparison to Game of Thrones here because this book more than deserves it. The author manages to keep all these narratives straight without losing any momentum, and presents the reader with all the information they need without ever falling into infodumps or pages of exposition. This is a larger book at more than 500 pages, but honestly I was so absorbed into every word that I could have read twice that much and still been disappointed when it ended.
If you’re looking for a new fantasy epic with great characters, intriguing world building, all brought together by some absolutely fantastic writing style, then I highly recommend checking this book out immediately! I was lucky enough to receive a free e-copy of the book in exchange for my review, but I fully intend to buy a physical copy for my bookshelves right after I post this!
THE IRON CROWN was released as an eBook on Friday 28th May 2021 and is releasing in paperback on Friday 11th June 2021! You can pre-order signed, first edition copies directly from the author’s website here!
L.L. MacRae is the author of the epic fantasy series, WORLD OF LINARIA, previously published under the name L.L. McNeil
Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!