This light-hearted romantic adventure is the first title in a new YA fantasy series, Crown of Eana, jointly written by established authors Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber. Set in the kingdom of Eana the story of twin princesses, separated at birth after the murder of their parents, is told in chapters that alternate between the narrative voices of the two girls, each character presumably written by a different author. The scene is set just before the twins’ eighteenth birthday as Rose, who has been raised in the palace as a princess, is about to be crowned Queen of Eana, or so she thinks. Her twin, Wren, raised among the witches who claim Eana as their own, has other ideas. The novel begins with kidnap, spells, impersonation, plotting and a dramatic journey across a treacherous desert, and carries on from there at a breakneck pace with intrigue, action, treachery, and romance along the way.
This is traditional fantasy fare, but the writing style is light and accomplished with convincing world building and two appealing main protagonists with distinctive voices and characters. The fast pace and the constant switching between serious emotion, romantic encounters, magic, action, and humour should keep readers enthralled. The main characters develop throughout and learn about the importance of walking in other people’s shoes and not always believing what you are told. The ending is satisfying whilst keeping plenty of threads open for further titles. This is a skilfully written fantasy romance that does not take itself too seriously and succeeds in creating an enticing world of witches, warriors, royalty and adventure.