The High Crown Chronicles by Jodi Gallegos is a rollercoaster centered around a naive, yet highly capable, newbie queen with a lot on her shoulders. Learning hard lessons every day, we are invited to follow her in this first person narrative, full of tough adversaries and bold allies.
Title: The High Crown Chronicles
Author: Jodi Gallegos
Release: September 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Goodreads Link: Here
Gallegos has done a magnificent job crafting characters. Our main character, Malory, is deeply fleshed out, considering this is a first-person narrative, this makes sense, but even characters that we see less often are fully formed and have rich backstories. Some characters are merely spoken about for most of the book and seen very little but they still feel very real in the story (such as Lord Cobol). King Jamis is my favorite character, hands down.
On world-building, the Unified Kingdoms serve as the backdrop for this story, and the thing I love most about how Gallegos portraits the kingdoms is how real the happenings feel. Yes, there are castle walls, but inside those, the lust for power, the intense love for one another but also secret shame, the corruption, the distrust. All of these things define the fight for power that a kingdom wages within their own walls. Gallegos shows that and then mirrors those struggles outside of Malory’s home kingdom when she becomes Queen of a new land. With this depth of realism, the setting comes alive.
I have to admit, this storyline made me scream with anger and shout with joy. Gallegos does an amazing job inciting emotion in the reader. Malory is sent through so many trials and unfortunately, she doesn’t win at all of them. Her naive and unguided behavior sometimes got her into trouble, but on the flip side, her intuition made me cheer. I found this storyline to be riveting, fast-paced and grounded enough that the fantasy was highly engaging.
Gallegos writing style is very easy to read. I have the smallest complaint about the reading. During the times Malory reflects on what’s going on around her, she thinks about information we may already know, or she works through information in her head that we’ve already experienced in the story. This causes a little bit of repetition. Outside of that, I found this story very easy to navigate and Gallegos skipped all the fluff and filler which can slow a story down. She does not rely on fancy wording to make the story seem like more than it is. The plot carries the depth of the story without that.
The themes in this book are pretty dark and include betrayal, deception, and political intrigue but Gallegos does offer us sincere balance because a book full of deception better come with some upsides! Malory, this sweet and strong young lady, clings to love as a way to fight against the darkness and honesty shows itself as an important theme as well.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Following Malory through her struggles and growth was riveting for me and I really enjoyed the whole cast of characters that Gallegos put there for Malory’s support. I look forward to book two!