Published February 20th 2014 by Novel Ninjutsu
I stumbled upon this gem by accident while scrolling through some goodreads lists and decided to buy it. I don’t know the author, have never read any of her other books so this review really is my honest opinion.
THIS STORY IS FU**ING AMAZING! (So much for being objective, ha!) It has just the right touch of everything I love in a good book and none of the faults so many other Young Adult books suffer from.
I loved, loved, loved the setting and world building, characters, romance, writing and plot, the mix of fairy tale and futuristic space travel. It’s like nothing I ever saw in a movie or read in a book. What really moved me beyond words is the intensity of the writing. It’s almost as if you could quote the entire book, because the writing are so beautiful and sad and epic.
There was absolutely no info-dumping, even though I sometimes wished for more details to the history. I find it a perfect fairy tale plot (evil villains, the lost heir to the throne, a prince set on rebellion and adventures, a prophecy that has to be fulfilled to save humankind) all reminding a little bit of Snow White and the Huntsman only not set in a medieval magical world but a futuristic world, where the magic is in the technology.
Science fiction doesn’t necessarily mean scientific and technical. Take for example The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Wars, Matrix, Babylon 5 or Lexx – The Dark Zone. They all combine legends, prophecies and mystic elements like any good epic fantasy would and set them in the interstellar space which makes the stories even more mysterious. In Blood Crown the supernatural comes from advanced nanotechnology. Some 1000 years in the past humankind has left a dying Earth behind and is since travelling through space on giant ship-states with several hundreds of thousands of humans on each. After a 1000 years have passed humankind is still slow to evolve, slow to adjust to living and thus ensure the surviving of civilization in space. For a few 100 years humans have tried to create the perfect race by infusing nanotech into the royal bloodlines in the hope one day a princess and prince will bond and bring to life the Blood Crown:
The Blood Crown is the genetic eventuality that the children of the East and the West will unite, bringing an alliance of both people and blood. Together they will create a perfect race, a union of the best in humanity and in technology. Together they will be strong enough to begin life anew, so that humanity may go on.”
It is said that the Blood Crown will unlock the evolutionary potential in human DNA. Together Seraphina and Nicolai could be the key to ensuring the human race lives on.
Seraphina, daughter of the King of the West, is not entirely human (neither is Nicolai). Her android servant and surrogate father (and your equal to a fairy godmother) Archibald was responsible for gifting her with the nanotech. But before he could finish there was an uprising and Androids killed the King and Queen of the West and The Mind has taken over the Empire. For nine years humans have been forced to serve The Mind and the heir to the throne, Princess Seraphina, was rumored to be dead. Bereft of her memories she survives the android rebellion and grows up as a kitchen maid. It’s a bleak existence.
My body is nearly as cold as the wall. I don’t bother trying to warm myself – what is the point? Life is pitiful. I am pitiful. I might as well suffer.
Will they be coming soon? Will they feed me? Release me?
Eventually they always come. Once they think I’ve suffered enough. They’ll return with a fist to my gut and a warning to keep my own punches to myself.
Even though she doesn’t remember who she is, there is something different that sets her apart from the other humans.
I feel the steel responding to my touch, moving, reshaping itself to match my will. It wouldn’t take any strength, really. Just a thought.
Although she is different from other humans she still cares about them, she wants to belong, wants to be loved. So when her past catches up with her and she starts to remember her identity, she doesn’t jump at the prospect of being queen.
This has been the strangest twenty-four hours of my life. I need time alone to think, to make sense of what it all means. And now Minn has hugged me. She worried for me. My arms hang suspended in the air for a breath too long, disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to hug her back.
She wants other humans to accept her, to elect her as leader not because of a prophecy or her rightful entitlement to the throne but because they want her to lead, because they think her capable to save them. I very much adored Seraphina’s character. She is different, yes, but she is strong. She is humble enough to beg for something she knows she can’t do herself but badass enough to fight for freedom and save those she loves and cares about. She wants to earn her right to lead; she wants her people to want her as ruler. I was awed how well and likeable her character is composed because even though the story has a fairytale-ish feel to it, Seraphina is not your average princess in distress that needs saving by the prince in shining armor.
He only lets go of me to take his sword in his hand. I bite back an argument when he places himself in front of me just before the transport opens. It’s not like I need him to protect me. But his symbiants are a part of me now, and that means he too. So I know he doesn’t act out of disrespect for my ability. He is still the boy-prince with a sword and a vow to keep.
Nicolai, oh my, … Simply put I love him and the romance. He is so sweet and just perfect for Sera. They complement each other in every way.
I have never hoped to feel such belonging, such love. And it isn’t just the Bond—it is more, it is everything. If Nic and I had had time to get to know one another, if we hadn’t been Bonded since we were children, if the Bond had never been created—I am certain I would choose him, still.
If there is any critique from my part then only regarding the timeline during which the plot takes place. Everything happens awfully fast, like in three days or so.
Nonetheless, I loved Blood Crown and will give other books by Ali Cross a chance to charm me. If you love gritty fairy tales and mystic science fiction, try this book out.