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Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber – ARC Review!

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wren and Rose are two sisters, separated at birth after the murder of their parents, and they couldn’t be less alike. Wren, raised by witches is wild and brash. She has been brought up knowing the truth of her birth and current situation. Knowing she has a sister out there who she has never met. Rose has led a more sheltered life. Raised by the man who murdered her parents, though she is unaware of this fact, she is the perfect princess, delicate and well mannered. But the witches have a plan, kidnap Rose and install Wren in her place, ensuring that when she is crowned the Kingdom will once again be friendly to the witches that live there, but as is usually the case, things don’t always go to plan. There are multiple schemes a foot that could undermine Wren’s plan, not the least of which is Rose who isn’t quite ready to give up her throne. With danger coming from both within and without the Kingdom, the sisters will have to learn to work together if they are to bring down the man who murdered their parents and ensure a safe Kingdom for all.

Rose and Wren are seemingly polar opposites. One raised in a palace, with all the luxuries that entails and yet in some ways a gilded cage with someone always aware of her whereabouts and a total lack of privacy. Whereas the other was raised in a shack near the sea, but given total autonomy over her life, friends and time. Because of this, Rose and Wren have completely different ideas on how to get things done. For a good part of the book they don’t meet & I enjoyed being able to see them both out of their comfort zones and exploring what it must have been like to grow up that way, as well as coming to realisations about themselves whilst living in the others shoes.

The authors also grace us with a brilliant cast of side characters, some of my favourites being Celeste, Rose’s best friend; Shen, Wren’s best friend and the witch that kidnaps Rose and Tor, a guard from a neighbouring Kingdom who Prince Rose is supposed to be marrying. All of these character’s add something to the story, be it humour, depth or tension and I loved the scenes where they interacted with our two MC’s.

If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be exaggerated. Everything in this book seems to be dialled up to 10 & very stereo-typey, be it the Princessy ways in which Rose behaves, the evilness of our antagonist, the simpering of the palace staff & I have to say I loved it. It took me right back to reading old style fairy tales when I was a kid, and even had the tongue in cheek, quirky style of The Princess Bride in some parts. It’s written as a very fast moving book, with very few lulls and plenty of character exploration, but the authors manage to do this while still giving us enough depth in world building to make sure we get invested in the story & the characters goals. I loved getting to learn about the other Kingdoms, as well as the history of the land, and how the Witches came to be persecuted.

The romance was incredibly swoon worthy. I loved the slow burn enemies to lovers we got with our two MC’s, and I loved how Rose’s and Wren’s romances helped further their character arc’s as well as give us a deeper insight into them as characters. With Rose and Shen, she had to overcome him being a witch, as well as her kidnapper and one of the few people who doesn’t simper to her. He brings her down to earth, and helps her focus on what is really important. Wren and Tor have an almost forbidden romance, Wren slightly more eager to forgo the forbidden part than Tor. He is someone she can be herself with in a place where being herself could kill her. But as well as this, the romance also invites some humour into the story and creates some of the tongue in cheek moments I mentioned above.

As a whole I loved this book. If I had one sticking point, it would be that I found Rose a little annoying, and her need to constantly be treated like a princess grated on me a little. However, it wasn’t bad enough to detract from my overall love of the book. If you like your fantasies troped to the max, with tongue in cheek moments and killer endings that have you grabbing for the next book, then look no further.

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