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Review: Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber

Twin Crowns (Twin Crowns #1)
Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber
Balzer + Bray
Published May 17, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Twin Crowns

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?

My Review

Catherine Doyle’s Storm Keeper series is one of my favorite middle grade series ever, so when I saw that she was co-authoring this new YA series, I knew I had to check it out. Bonus: it’s about sisters! My favorite kind of story.

To start, I really liked the premise, and both Wren and Rose as characters. I felt like they were both pretty believable in the roles they’d grown up in. They were also different yet similar enough that I had no problem believing they were sisters.

I liked the pace of the story, too. At first it looks like Wren’s challenge will be keeping up the charade that she’s Princess Rose for thirty whole days. Then, when she realizes the kingsbreath’s true plan, the pressure reverses, so that it feels like she’s right up against a deadline with so much to do to stop her enemy and take the throne.

I only stumbled over a couple of things. One is the balance of romance to the quest for the crown. I think I expected the romance to be more of a subplot and to have the girls and their adventure be more centerstage. There were moments when I felt like the romance kind of overshadowed what was happening in a way that pulled me away from the rest of the story.

The politics also tripped me up a little bit. The story really builds up the strong prejudice against witches. They’re executed if found. People pray to the Protector if they think they’ve seen one. People worry they’ve been cursed if they have a string of bad circumstances. Those bad feelings seemed to unravel really easily, though. I found that hard to believe after the initial setup.

Honestly, all it meant for me was that I turned up my suspension of disbelief, because I really enjoyed the sisterhood and the magic and adventure elements that made up the rest of the story. I’m definitely going to continue on with this series.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Major characters are white. Shen is from a desert kingdom. Celeste has brown skin. She and a couple other minor characters are queer.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Brief reference to sexual arousal. In one scene, a boy takes off his shirt and a girl loosens her dress as they make out.

Spiritual Content
Wren and other characters have the ability to perform magic and are called witches. Rose’s people worship the Great Protector, a historical figure they’re taught saved them from the witches. In her kingdom, witches are executed.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. A boy battles a giant beetle. A girl tries to kill another by stealing her breath and using wind to shove her off a cliffside. A girl relives memories from a battle long ago and watches as witches are slain on the battlefield. References to the torture of witches. A man kills a woman by cutting her throat. A battle destroys a building and kills several people present. A leopard attacks a girl, severely wounding her.

Drug Content
Some characters drink alcohol until they’re drunk.

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Review: The Raven Throne by Stephanie Burgis

The Raven Throne (The Raven Crown #2)
Stephanie Burgis
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Published August 8, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About The Raven Throne

The unmissable sequel to The Raven Heir and conclusion to the epic middle-grade fantasy series perfect for fans of Abi Elphinstone and Piers Torday.

Cordelia has been crowned The Raven Queen. But with new power comes new danger.

Once their triplet Cordelia became The Raven Queen, Giles and Rosalind knew they would have to learn to behave at court. No more fighting for Rosalind and no more singing for Giles. What they didn’t foresee was having to foil a plot against their sister.

When Cordelia falls into an enchanted sleep and cannot be woken, Rosalind and Giles must quest across the kingdom to seek help from the ancient spirits of the land. But their family’s greatest enemies lurk at every turn, and it will take all of the triplets’ deepest strengths to fight against them.

A thrilling finale to the magical and mystical series.

My Review

I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Burgis’s middle grade novels (I know she has adult fiction, and I’ve bought a copy of one of her books, but I haven’t read it yet. It looks really fun, though!), and THE RAVEN HEIR, the first book in this duology was one of my favorite books from last year. So it was a pretty big no-brainer that this one was going to be on my reading list this year.

When I think about this book and the story it tells, the first word that comes to mind is “ambitious.” I feel like this was a hard story to tell because it’s got a lot of political intrigue and a pretty large cast of named characters, and there’s a lot of action to wrap up in a single less-than-300-page novel.

For the most part, I think it’s a success. I got chills as Ros and Giles confronted the forces they needed to in order to save the day (I’m getting chills again writing about it), and I cried when Cordy named her sister a knight. There were some really great moments like that throughout the book. I loved the theme of the messages people speak about us versus what we believe about ourselves. Powerful stuff.

That said, I did find the opening to be a little confusing because of the number of named characters participating. There are six family members plus various lords and ladies at court, attendants, and relatives. I had a hard time keeping those more minor characters straight, though as I got deeper into the story, it got easier.


THE RAVEN THRONE is the second book in The Raven Crown duology. If you haven’t read THE RAVEN HEIR, which is the first book, I recommend you start with that one before reading this one.

On the whole, I still enjoyed a lot of elements of this book. It’s one of the few about triplets that I’ve ever read, and the relationships between the siblings are still one of my favorite parts. I think fans of UNICORN QUEST by Kamilla Benko or THE FIREBIRD SONG by Arnée Flores should check out this duology.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Cordelia, the Raven Queen, has made a pact with the spirits of the land that she’ll listen to them and protect them. She and her triplets have magic abilities.

Violent Content
Situations of peril and brief moments leading up to battle. One scene describes a battle with nature. In one scene, a woman disappears into a crack in the ground. A man is surrounded by tree growth.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE RAVEN THRONE in exchange for my honest review.