Wednesday 31 January 2024

Book Review - Goddess Crown

You know that feeling when you randomly discover a book and you go “I need to read this as soon as I can”? It’s almost a physical reaction. Well, that was me when I first heard of Goddess Crown by Shade Lapite. It just ticked all the boxes for me: a standalone fantasy with deep inspiration of Nigerian mythology. And as soon as I got an Advance Reader Proof copy front the publisher, I practically dropped what I was reading and started this. 

Title and Author: Goddess Crown by Shade Lapite
Publisher: Walker Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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Kalothia has grown up in the shadow of the her kingdom, hidden away after her parents were outed as enemies of the king. But when assassins attack her home and kill her guardians on her sixteenth birthday, Kalothia is forced to flee and finds herself in the king’s court.

But the king’s court is no safer. Men think they are entitled and someone is plotting against her. How far will Kalothia be willing to go to keep herself and the kingdom safe?

Like I told you right on the top, when I first became aware of this, I got very excited. I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! And I had high hopes for this. 

And, honestly? I feel let down by my excitement.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with this. The writing is good, the characters are ok, the story is good. Everything works. 

But it all feels a little meh, and I can’t help feeling that if this was a duology, Goddess Crown would have been better. It would have allowed the story is breathe, the characters and relationships to grown naturally and made us care for them. Same with the world building, which is something I wanted more of, and the themes that this book wanted to tackle. 

Also, it would have helped with pacing. The pacing felt all over the place (even though it does take place within two/three weeks so the story did move at pace) - slow at the start (even though events happen that mean it shouldn’t) and breakneck fast at the end (it felt almost rushed and, if the story and relationship took time to grow and allowed readers to care, the stakes would have felt higher).

Also, the feminism elements felt very heavy handed at times. Not that it’s a bad thing, but there are YA/teen books out there that have tackled sexism, misogyny and feminism with more subtlety and with layers. Compared to those, Goddess Crown does feel at times that it’s hitting you round the head

This book wasn’t bad (I am very intrigued over what Shade writes next!), but I had such high hopes for this and it let me down, affecting my enjoyment. I do think this would be perfect for younger YA readers, though, so I will be pushing this on my socials…

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