I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
Published by HarperCollins on November 12, 2019
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
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Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.
But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.
From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
For me Crown of Oblivion has all the elements of a great book. Magic, strong family bonds, a society to be overturned and a race for survival. So it should have hit all the high notes.
I liked Astrid, she was determined, strong, caring and loves her family. The race tests her, and she does succeed more on the strength of others rather than on herself. But she admits that puzzles are not her strength. And she does everything she can to allow others to benefit while herself succeeding.
This was a very up and down book. I enjoyed the elements of the race and the fight for survival there. But there was a sub-plot that seemed to only appear at the end of the book and just left me slightly confused. I felt like more information was required.
And with political strife rife, Astrid journey to better her family will have more impact that she ever thought possible. It’s just that any actual sense of this is not picked up until the middle of the book. And then not fully dealt with until the end.
Crown of Oblivion would have rated higher if not for the ending. I don’t want to spoil what is to come but for me it felt like the story finished on a tangent. Something that was not a proper ender. There should have been either a few more chapters or an epilogue. There are too many questions that are left unanswered and too much satisfaction left to give.
I feel like a sequel in possible. And in many ways I hope that that is the case as there is so much more that I need to know. From whether the rebellion succeeds to whether Astrid will reunite her family. To simply finding out more about Princess Renya. There was more that this book can and should have given. So here is hoping for more.
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