The Pretender's Crown

The Pretender's Crown

Book - 2009/04/28
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Baker & Taylor
Belinda Primrose, the illegitimate daughter of Queen Lorraine of Aulun and an accomplished assassin, discovers she is being used as a pawn in a deadly plot as she draws closer to Dmitri, an envoy to a neighboring state.

Blackwell North Amer
Fiercely intelligent, beautiful, and ready to claim her birthright, she navigates a dangerous world torn between war and witchpower.

Seduction and stealth are Belinda Primrose’s skills–weapons befitting the queen’s bastard daughter, a pawn of espionage conceived by Lorraine, ruler of Aulun, and her lover and spymaster, Belinda’s father. Now an accomplished assassin, Belinda uncovers the true game her father never intended her to play. For Belinda has found her witchpower, a legacy born from something not of this earth. In a treacherous world where religion and rebellion rule, Lorraine is now in a position to sweep over the countries of Echon and to back her chosen successor to the throne: Belinda.

But Belinda is no longer anyone’s pawn. Lured by the sensual dark magic of Dmitri, envoy to a neighboring throne, yet still drawn to the witchlord embrace of her former lover, Javier, Belinda knows that she has entered a realm where power and control go to those who can master and manipulate their fiercest desires. For the witchpower depends on the skill its wielder holds.

Publisher: New York : Del Rey-Ballantine Books, 2009/04/28
ISBN: 9780345494658
0345494652
Branch Call Number: SF MURPHY
Characteristics: 461 p

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bibliophage91
Apr 11, 2011

The Pretender’s Crown by C.J. Murphy is the sequel to The Queen’s Bastard: book 2 of The Inheritors’ Cycle. All the important characters (of those left alive at the end of the first book) are here to carry on with the excitement. Belinda Primrose, Javier de Castille as king of ‘France’, Lorraine Walter as queen of ‘England’, and Drake as the queen’s lover and father to Belinda.

The magic-from-aliens angle is key to the story – succinctly described as an OMGWTFBBQ moment by another reader. Setting aside the clunkiness of aliens and genetic engineering in this alternate-history that’s healthily powered by ample political intrigue; the spectre of alien domination becomes Belinda’s secret nemesis.

This book is better than the first, IMO: the plot cranks things along at high speed the entire time. There aren’t discontinuities such as those that bothered me in the first book. That being said, this does not quite rate four stars, because Belinda’s characterization is not quite as much as I would like. Javier is developed well as a character I grant, and the gondola boy is fun, but no one truly springs to life.

The steamy romance/lust scenes are less important than in the first book, too. Belinda does not have a romantic interest this time around as she’s busy being political. In sizzle-level, this is similar to the Georgina Kincaid series rather than Jaqueline Carey’s Angeline world.

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bibliophage91
Apr 11, 2011

bibliophage91 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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