“Book Review: Eridani’s Crown”
Reviewed by Robyn-Lee Samuels
What happens to great rulers when power and paranoia takes over?
Set in a fantastical world called The Heart, Eridani’s Crown is a stand-alone grim-dark fantasy that chronicles the reign of Eridani, Queen of Kozhad. The story commences on the day she kills for the first time. When her parents are killed, Princess Eridani and her older brother are forced to defend themselves during one of their tutoring lessons. After slaying their attackers, the siblings return home to reclaim the throne from the man who murdered their parents.
Alex Shvartsman has crafted a beautiful tragedy that depicts Eridani’s transformation from the courageous, innovative, and caring 15-year-old queen to a powerful monarch obsessed with power and vengeance. From the title to the detailed map, the story’s focus is clear. The author explores the effect grief and a lust for power has on a heart that trusts no one.
Shvartsman’s monarch is a warrior queen who uplifts people and seeks to create an egalitarian society. She’s a strategic ruler and skilled in combat. Where other fantasy novels would emphasize a monarch’s need for a queen or king, the author steers clear of this trope. Instead, Eridani refuses to marry for convenience or alliances and insists on choosing a partner herself. However, this is not a tale about a queen who finds her one true love.
The magic system isn’t at the forefront of this story. Shvartman’s world is not about the magic or the religious system but rather a commentary on how political gameplay taints morality, rational thought, and at times common sense. Shvartsman’s world is as complex and diverse as our own. Characters use myths, legends, religion, and folklore to their advantage with intriguing consequences. The emphasis on choice and character motivation are what make this novel relatable and enjoyable. This is the beauty of Shvartman’s storytelling: Each challenge and choice leads Eridani further from the revolutionary monarch she set out to be.
Eridani’s Crown is an enjoyable exploration of the rise and fall of a noble, just monarch. It is a thought-provoking look at the human heart in conflict with itself. The immersive world-building and character-driven plot makes this an excellent read for anyone who wants a satisfying taste of the fantasy genre.
Publisher: UFO Publishing
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