Okay! I’m finishing out the Crosspointe Chronicles series in reviews, and then I think I’ll take time off from reviewing late-series books, because I doubt it’s relevant to most readers. You’d hardly read a book review for the fourth book in a series if you could read the first and see if the series sounds like something you’re interested in. The Crosspointe Chronicles is actually one of the few series that you could read as stand-alone novels, but personally, I prefer knowing I understand all of the context and references in a book when I read it, so I try to read all series in order, regardless of whether they are capable of standing alone.
So! On to the review.
The cover is good, solid fantasy vibes and an indication that Margaret is a strong, sneaky lady
After the murders of the king and queen, the island empire of Crosspointe is on the verge of chaos. The ruthless Lord Chancellor has taken the throne and made slaves of most of the royal family. Now, in order to save the country they love, the king’s heirs are determined to rally whatever allies they have left and overthrow the Lord Chancellor—before the Jutras invade.
The Hollow Crown is possibly my favourite book in this series, tying with The Black Ship only because I love reading about pirates1. Margaret and Nicholas are my favourite couple to date, and I loved the strong motivation each were given to achieve their aims, and the tension caused when this drove them into conflict. Keros and Ellyn worked well as supporting characters, and I was glad their interactions never seemed unrealistic or forced.
As I have come to expect from Diana Pharaoh Francis, Margaret is a strong, unconventional, thoroughly interesting and believable heroine. Her relationship with Nicholas is fun to read, and his gradual acceptance of her character and the implications of this2, and the realisation this causes about his past actions was a highlight.
The conclusion of this novel is unexpected and well-written, and the developments in the latter portion of the book are enough to keep the most jaded fantasy fan interested. The Hollow Crown works well both as an instalment in the Crosspointe Chronicles and as a stand alone novel, though I would say that this book comes a lot closer to becoming a romance novel than the preceding books do.
The combination of Margaret and Nicholas’s witty banter and strong character development reminded me of an Ilona Andrews novel—particularly The Edge novels and the Hidden Legacy series. Keros’s arc in this novel was closer to a character from Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels series, and was an amazing addition to this novel and—I’m sure—any future instalments in the series. Anyone who enjoys well written magic systems and politics in their alternate world fantasy will love The Hollow Crown.
1Pet cats are also a plus
2Apologies if that’s overly vague. Spoilers, y’know?