The Shattered Crown (The Legends of Ansu Book 2)
The Shattered Crown by AJ Webb is the second in the Legends of Ansu series, but you really don’t have to have read the first to enjoy this book. It is a sweeping fantasy epic, with many elements familiar to the genre. There’s a quest. There’s a struggle for power between the usurper and the legitimate heirs. There are dark forces, ancient beings, magic artifacts, beautiful queens, and roguish sword fighters.
What saves it from being merely a stereotype is the clear writing and the depth of the characters. Their motivations are well spelled out, the scene set picturesquely, and the story easy to follow. Too often in these types of books there is a great deal of confusion with places and characters and plot lines. Webb steers away from that using simple, descriptive prose.
The battle scenes are most memorable, graphic without being full of gratuitous gore, and exciting. The book bills itself as being attractive to Game of Thrones fans, and that’s probably true. While Game of Thrones is the pinnacle of the genre, there are enough similarities that fans looking for a similar series wouldn’t be disappointed.
The female characters don’t get as much attention or depth as the male characters. There aren’t nearly as many of them, and because of the lack of women I don’t think the book would pass the Bechdel Test, unless speaking to a goddess counts. Queen Ariane, the most fully realized female character, is three dimensional, and her shrewdness is given as much value as her beauty, so that’s a good thing. There’s also the goddess thing – having a woman god-figure is likewise a good thing. So the women that are players in the plot are allowed to be more than ornaments, which makes me happy, even if there were more, um, ‘lusty wenches’ who get discarded along the wayside than I would like.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Books and the Bear. I read the Nook version, and there were several typesetting errors, which were annoying, but I can’t say those would occur in a print version or other electronic version.
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Lori B. Duff is the author of the Amazon ‘Hot New Release’ Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza, a collection of autobiographical humor essays. The hard copy of the book can be found on Amazon & BarnesandNoble.com and select local retailers. The e-book can be found here. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.