The Iron Crown is the story of Fenn, who wakes up on a strange island one day having lost the memory of everything about him except his name. He and Calidra and Jisyel, two residents of the island travel to Fellwood in order to attend the funeral of the former Laird, and Calidra’s father. I read up to 50% of The Iron Crown and while I found myself enjoying the prose and bits of the world, I also found myself procrastinating picking it up again, because I didn’t really form much of an attachment to any of the characters. I had a harder time caring what happened to them. All told, I did like what I read of The Iron Crown, and I would recommend it to readers who like epic fantasies with interesting dragon spirits sprinkled throughout. I think my problem connecting to the characters in this one was very much a me problem and not a problem with the book. I’d give the 50% of the book that I read 6.75/10 stars.
We have a lot of talking dragons as of late. The book intros with a character named Fenn who’s lost in a Living forest — a forest with a spirit that kind of inhabits it/protects it. e meets up with a talking dragon but he thinks he’s hallucinating. This isn’t a world where talking dragons are common place. But, he’s not just lost in a general sense, he’s a Lost Soul, which are people who have ‘lost themselves’ and in a sense have an all encompassing amnesia like state. There have been a fair number of them popping up but no one really knows why. Outside of having no memory, Fenn seems to be fine but he’s not trusted by many people because they think he’s super sus.
Another two POV’s come from those who sort of recue Fenn, Cal and Jisyel. Jisyel and Cal are sort of opposites, one of those opposite attracts kind of couples. Where Cal is trusting, Jisyel is not and as so they react to Fenn’s arrival differently. In a stroke of very poor timing, Cal’s father dies and she has to go back to a land she’s been estranged from for a long time. So, there are a fair number of POVs, moving parts, and subplots going at once.
I think my favorite aspect of the book was the world building. I’ve got a thing for living forests and spirits and all that kind of land based magic. I like it even more when those spirits are interactive and can choose to either help humanity or fuck with them depending on how they’re treated and their general nature.
I think there’s a bit of a predictableness to the plot at points, but that honestly didn’t bother me too much. It can be nice to read something familiar and something easy to immerse yourself in. There were a few times where I felt another editing pass may have helped a bit, some eyes on it that haven’t seen it before to bring some clarity to some passages and context where it was needed.
I feel like this has broad appeal to people who enjoy epic fantasy, with dragons, spirits, and adventure.
- Plot: 10/15
- Characters: 11/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 9.5/15
- Pacing: 11/15
- Originality: 10/15
- Enjoyment: 7/10
Final Score: 70.5/100
FINAL SPFBO score of 7/10