A new high fantasy series bursts into life with the DRAGON SPIRITS who reign supreme in the magic-drenched world of Tassar.
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.
Lauren is a fantasy author of character-driven stories and epic adventure. Her books usually contain dragons, rarely feature romance, and are typically fun and hopeful. She lives in a tiny village in the UK, has a degree in Psychology, and was a professional copywriter before going full-time as an author (it’s just more fun to write about dragons than corporate copy!) She has previously published under the name L.L. McNeil.
The Iron Crown is the first novel in the Dragon Spirits. It is an epic high fantasy novel featuring creatures like dragons and griffins. The story is told from five perspectives: Fenn, Jisyel, Calidra, Torsten, and Apollo. It did take me a little long to be fully invested into the story due to the alternating points of view. However, I loved it and everything made a lot more sense once I got to know all the characters and their place in their story. This was an excellent introduction to the series and I cannot wait to see what else it has to offer.
The story opens with Fenn, who wakes up with amnesia on the Isle of Salt where he encountered the Dragon Spirit, Tassan. He is discovered by Jisyel and Calidra and taken to an inn. Jisyel’s grandmother, Bellandri, owns the inn, The Hog’s Tusk, in Hogsbrook that she owned for 43 years. She raised Jisyel there after her mother passed away. When Calidra Vantonen, of Fellwood, daughter of a Laird showed up seven years ago, she was a guest at the inn that ended up staying and becoming the partner of Jisyel. After Calidra not seeing her father for 12 years, she learns of his recent passing and a request for her to return to the mainland to attend the funeral. Jisyel and Calidra take Fenn with them on the journey to the mainland to start the quest to find out Fenn’s identity and for Calidra to return home.
When the three of them arrive on Bragalia, they find that there are new dangers on the horizon. A quest to not only find out about Fenn, but to also figure out this new danger sets off the events of this series. Along the way, they meet the other characters that all have their own stakes in the story, such as Torsten, Apollo, Varlot, and Selys. Each character is very dynamic, as their full motives are not always known. The ones, who might be on the side of evil, may or may not be that way, whereas those on the side of good may or may not be pure. This interesting cast of character is the main driving force in the story as they are different from each other and I cannot wait to learn more about them.
Bragalia is divided into cantons that are each ruled by a Laird. Bragalia is one of many places in the wide world of Tassar. The world created by the author is a rich universe with complex politics and descriptive scenery. I loved how the author did two essential methods for world building as not only was it revealed through the writing, but the world is also revealed to Fenn as he is introduced to it with his amnesia. The Dragon Spirits are the guardians of the world, who can curse and bless others. They were an interesting part of the magic system without the series and I cannot wait to learn more about them and the rest of the introduced magic.
Overall, the story has some nice twists and turns that lead to an unexpected ending. There is some predictability, but it was well done and integrated into the mysteries of the story. There is a cliffhanger ending that leaves some pieces open-ended that will be addressed in the sequel, The Shadow Gate. The characters that are together and those that are separate by the end will be interesting to see how they all come back together or if they will be apart. I loved how the characters were dynamic with their groups as it fit well with the narrative of the story. I believe this novel was entered in the SPFBO 7 this year and I wish it tons of luck. I cannot wait to see what the sequel has in store once it becomes available.
**I give a special thank you to Storytellers on Tour and the author for the opportunity to participate with this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**