I’m huge fan of dragons. I will no doubt tell you that they are my favorite mythical creature (if not favorite animal in general). But there is also something about a phoenix that is exciting as well. While there are a lot of books about dragons, there aren’t as many about phoenixes. And there certainly aren’t enough books about phoenixes like Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto.
Veronkya has been dreaming of one thing: to find a Phoenix egg and become one of the legendary Phoenix Riders. But the Phoenix Riders have been in hiding since the war that ripped apart the kingdom. When her sister betrays her, Veronkya sets out to find the Phoenix Riders on her own, but joining them means she’ll have to disguise herself as a boy and lie about who she is. Meanwhile, the empire is on the hunt for Phoenix Riders and will do whatever it takes to destroy them once and for all.
Crown of Feathers is interesting because it doesn’t do what a typical YA fantasy book does. Reading the synopsis, it seems that Veronkya will hatch a phoenix egg and spend the rest of the book training with her phoenix to be a warrior and rider. (Kind of like Eragon…) But that isn’t what happens. Within the first couple chapters, Veronkya hatches the egg and her sister kills her phoenix. Shocking, but so different it’s awesome.
Instead, the grief of losing the phoenix and that connection is what follows Veronkya as she sets out on her own to find the Phoenix Riders and regain what she lost. It’s a moving story with beautiful prose and such intricate world-building details that I swept me away. I haven’t read many books like it.
It does start off a bit slow and I wasn’t sure if I liked any of the characters aside from Veronkya, but it’s one of those books where after you hit a certain point, you can’t stop reading because you’re in way to deep to surface without answers. I wasn’t sure if the different point of views would work as they seemed too disconnected from one another, but everything does tie together in the end.
And speaking of, that ending… are you kidding me? It’s like I knew this was coming, but I also couldn’t believe this is what actually is going. It’s great. I need book two.
The book is somewhat predictable but not in a bad way. It’s more like “I bet this is what the author will do” and then when it happens I was screaming, “I knew it! I knew it! I freaking knew it!” Basically, Nicki Pau Preto does a great job at foreshadowing and giving you just enough hints to make it exciting and not boring.
I also appreciate that while there is the hint of romance on the horizon, the book did not get sidetracked by an awkward, insta-love romance. I can see how book two will follow up with the emotions that have been building in this book, but there are more important things happening than romance right now.
Crown of Feathers is a long book, but it’s packed with a lot. I love the concept of the phoenixes and how they can bond with animages. I also like the depth of history and lore the story has, especially in connection to the two royal sisters. Plus, that cover art is gorgeous and it includes a cool map. If you like well-developed fantasy stories with cool mythical creatures, morally gray characters, and an epic story lines, read Crown of Feathers.