Reviewed by Helyce
Book two in Ms. Knox’s amazing fantasy series begins right where we left off in book one, Mark of Truth. Ever and her crew are still trying to make sense of everything that has happened. Her mother is missing, but whether there is foul play or she’s gone into hiding is unclear. Ever thinks that she’s safe from the immediate threat of Cashel, who is in a dungeon somewhere, but that doesn’t mean she is letting her guard down. She is worried about her mother, she’s worried about what will happen to her if her father is, in fact, Tore who is a Goblin, and she has no idea how to handle her growing feelings for Dare, the Goblin King’s son and her self-appointed protector. Her “to do” list gets longer by the day.
First on the list, find some Druids! These ancient beings have not been seen for eons and no one really knows how to find them, but apparently they are the only ones who can confirm Ever’s parentage. While Ever wants to know the truth, of course, the ramifications of her being half elf and half goblin could be deadly–for her and her parents. Add to that the fact that she’ll most certainly lose her position and MECA, she worries what this will mean for her crew. Then there is Arela, the little goblin girl she’s taken under her protection. What will become of her, should something happen to Ever.
And woven in between all the unknown and dread, Ever is trying to keep a lid on her feelings for Dare. Though their connection is real and felt on both sides, Ever remains steadfast in that only hurt and pain will come if she just lets herself fall for him. She and Dare have had some very intense moments, but Ever always pulls back, checks herself and reminds herself that they can never be.
Ms. Knox has gifted us with a spectacular 2nd book in this fantastical series that brings to life elves, goblins, and all manner of fae in a world that is filled with not only danger, but wonder. The prophecy that there is a girl who will unite the Goblin and Light Elven Kingdoms seems to drive this story as we follow Ever and her crew as they attempt to navigate the unknown. Along the way we are introduced to creatures and additional fae beings and it is left to the reader to decide sometimes, if they be friend or foe. One thing is clear, Ever is special and while she may not know why, or want to believe it yet, she holds the key to something that will cause great change within the fae world.
With the introduction of some key characters in this book, Knox moves the story forward so that we can make some assumptions, though she skillfully keeps the issues far from confirmed. We meet a character named Puck who is responsible for both good and bad happenings, but his good deeds do redeem him a bit for me. I’ve decided to place him more on the side of good guy at the moment, though I do worry that he may not be all that he seems. By far, though, the most entrancing character introduced was the queen of the Unseelie Court, Queen Nicnivin. She gifted Ever with visions to help guide her on her course, and though Ever is still walking into so much that is unknown, she now has an idea of what may happen and can approach it with some knowledge. I’ve decided to believe that Nicnivin only has Ever’s best interests at heart. I think she may know more than she is letting on, but feels she is shouldn’t voice it as yet. Perhaps Ever must come to certain revelations on her own and at the right time.
While I am blown away with the fantasy of this world, I am fully invested in the romance between Dare and Ever. We see Ever let her guard down just a bit as she allows herself to live in the moment and enjoy Dare’s attention. We spend a lot of time in Ever’s head so we are really clear on what is going on there as far as Dare is concerned. Ever has it bad, though she continues to talk herself out of what could be. Since she refuses to accept that Tore is her father, she continues to presume that a relationship with Dare can never be; and when she decides to give in just a little, something will happen and she’ll talk herself out of it and rebuild her walls. I would love to be in Dare’s head for a change because his comments and actions can be so contradicting. I’m going to venture a guess that Dare also knows more than he’s letting on and wants Ever to come to him in her own time. He’s amazingly patient and is giving Ever the time she needs. I’m just happy they give in to their base needs every once in a while. I couldn’t stand it if they were holding out for the right time. Dare is very generous with his attentions.
Crown of Betrayal takes a darker look at the fae realm as we see true evil show itself and hurt innocent people. The world building in here continues to draw in the reader as we venture into different realms and learn more about all it’s hidden treasures. A lot happens in this installment and while we get a few answers, important things are still left open and somewhat unclear. Sometimes we are given hints that just cause more questions. It’s just enough to keep the reader satisfied, while longing for the next book.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ever’s crew. This tight-knit unit is the embodiment of loyalty, proving over and over that family does not have to connect you to someone by blood, but that bonds can be formed with people of your own choosing. Ever has this in Eryn, Axel, Doyle and Kirin. They follow Ever and stand by her without question. I can’t wait to get to know them better and hope Ms. Knox has plans for future books that explore these characters. I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface where they are concerned.
If you love anything about fantasy, fae and such, I recommend this series. I do caution you to read them in order, however.