by L.L. MacRae
Fenn’s first and only memory is finding himself in the middle of a forest, face to face with a dragon spirit mocking him, all knowledge gone apart from his own name.
Lost and confused, his only hope for answers is Calidra—a woman living on the edge of the world with her partner. Forced to return home when her father dies, Calidra has put off facing her estranged mother for seven years, and she begrudgingly helps Fenn, forging papers for him so he can avoid the Queen’s Inquisitors.
But her mother is the least of her worries when they discover an ancient enemy is rising again. It should be impossible with the Iron Crown in power—and Fenn is terrified he might unwittingly be playing a part in the war’s resurgence.
Surrounded by vengeful spirits and powerful magic, Fenn’s desperate attempt to find his way home might well alter the fate of Tassar, and every power in it.
A new high fantasy series bursts into life with the DRAGON SPIRITS who reign supreme in the magic-drenched world of Tassar.
The Iron Crown by L.L. MacRae had been sitting in my TBR pile for a while now, but thanks to Self-Published Fantasy Month, I had a great excuse to bump it up my TBR! The Iron Crown was chosen by fans to be this year’s read-along book, and I will confess that I’ve always wanted to take part in a read-along but have never managed it yet, partly because of work or other commitments. So I must congratulate L.L. MacRae for being the first author to help me complete a read-along! And what an honour it was to finally enter the world of Tassar.
The Iron Crown is classic fantasy at its finest featuring dragon spirits, terrifying and magical monsters, imminent war, flaming swords, and a quest across the land to not only save it, but to discover one’s purpose in life. This tale is split between multiple characters, including Fenn, a young lad who’s lost his memory and may be carrying more secrets than even he’s aware of, and Calidra, the daughter of a laird who most certainly doesn’t want to face up to her destiny. We meet other intriguing POV characters along the way as we follow Fenn and Calidra on their journey. As you’d expect from a fantasy story such as this, Fenn and Calidra gather an ensemble of allies on the way and there’s plenty of intriguing twists and turns within the main cast!
What I’ll whine about:
This was definitely an exciting start to a new fantasy series, though it starts a little slow as we learn more about the characters and their world and the overarching plot takes time to build. My biggest complaint, which is a nitpick shared by similar fantasy series, is that I was left with many unanswered questions by the end and can only hope these will be resolved in the sequels to come!
What I’ll gush about:
I’d class The Iron Crown as character driven fantasy as it’s their baggage which kicks the story off. The relationship between Calidra and her long-term partner, Jisyel, was a joy to witness, as was their growing trust of Fenn. I appreciated getting to grips with one of the antagonist’s POV’s, who revealed another side of the world, though the show was stolen by Apollo the thief, a POV character introduced in the second half of the book and with his own prequel novella I can’t wait to read next!
One of the main reasons I read fantasy is for the world-building, and I loved the world that the author unveiled. In this world, dragon spirits rule over various natural domains, such as lakes and forests, and have a direct impact on the human lives around them. It was fascinating to learn more about the dragons and the relationship between them and their human servants who receive magical boons and powers in exchange for worship. I’m looking forward to learning more about the dragons and their monstrous enemies in the sequel.
The Iron Crown is an enjoyable fantasy romp that covers my favourite fantasy tropes whilst feeling fresh.