The Ring and the Crown
By Melissa De La Cruz
Disney-Hyperion, 2014. 384 pgs.
The Ring and the Crown takes place in a different 20th century where a Franco-British empire rules the world and is assisted through the magic of mages (Merlins) that stay with the family for hundreds of years as partners in power. The story focuses on Marie-Victoria, the princess; Aewln, the daughter of Merlin; Leopold, the prince that is to marry Marie-Victoria; Ronan, an Astor descendant and a mage; Wolf, Leopold's brother and quite a few more. There are love hexagons, hints of magic, period balls and more that made it an interesting read, even if it wasn't always easy.
This book had a lot going on. I picked it up because the cover is beautiful and I liked the idea of an alternate history book dealing with Merlin and the Astors along with royalty of a few different families. It maybe had too much going on. There are a large number of pretty active main characters and their relationships of love and hate and dislike and ally continued to change or develop and left me trying to figure out who did what. The magic of Merlin was barely touched upon and was mostly used to keep Queen Eleanor young. The end seems rushed, but the majority of the book was full of romance and conspiring and secrets. I will give the second one a try in hopes some of the characters are ironed out.