Picking up the sequel to a book you adored can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. What if it lets you down? What if the characters don’t feel the same as they did in the first book? What if it just feels… off? Thankfully, though, I didn’t encounter any of these problems when reading A Crown of Talons.
This YA novel takes us back into the exciting and elaborate fantasy world first introduced in Katharine and Elizabeth Corr’s A Throne of Swans. It picks up the story of Aderyn of Atratys, now Queen of Solanum, as her kingdom begins to crumble around her. The unrest described in A Throne of Swans has since intensified, and the flightless have begun to rise up against the nobility. This could threaten everything—Aderyn’s rule, the lives of her people, and her ability to bring about lasting change. It is Aderyn’s responsibility to unite her people and restore balance to the kingdom, but, in order to do so, she must put her duties before her own desires and risk the lives of everyone she loves.
I need to feel the wind beneath my body, to lose myself in the consuming joy of flight. To get as close as I can to the stars that burn above the surrounding mountain peaks. Wading into the frigid water of the lake, I give in to the power that is always waiting just beneath my skin. Hair morphs into feather, muscles shift and bones lengthen and lighten as I let myself transform from human into swan.A Crown of Talons | Prologue
The first thing that I want to say about A Crown of Talons is that the world building is exquisite. As I was reading, I really felt as though I could see the events of the novel unfurling before my eyes. I could picture the grand buildings, dark tunnels, and jagged mountains, and, for the best part of the novel, I was lost in them. Of course, the core concept of this duology—that the nobles can transform into birds—is masterful, and it’s brought out even more in A Crown of Talons. As the divisions between the nobles and the flightless are put under pressure, the abilities the nobles possess are really highlighted, making it difficult not to appreciate the genuine beauty of this concept.
This leads me to simultaneously respect and resent the fact that this is only a duology. Although I have read all too many book series that were, for me at least, ruined by how the authors were forced to drag out their characters’ stories, I can’t help but want more. A Crown of Talons may have concluded Aderyn’s story, but does that mean we’ll never encounter this world again? I certainly hope not, and I think it’s fair to say that the Corr sisters have the opportunity to revisit this world from another character’s perspective. After all, it definitely has more to give.
Of course, as with A Throne of Swans, this book does have its issues. Yet while the writing isn’t always flawless and some of the twists are a little predictable (I’m looking at you, Lucien). these factors never impacted my enjoyment of the book, and that makes them easy to overlook. After all, when you pick up a book like A Crown of Talons, you’re not looking for perfect writing. You’re looking for an escape, and, trust me, you’ll be looking in the right place. A Crown of Talons is an excellent follow-up to A Throne of Swans; it’s full of drama, passion, and high-stakes, and, if you let it, it will take you on a truly unforgettable adventure.
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