Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Review: TWO TWISTED CROWNS by Rachel Gillig


Rating: 5/5 stars

Suspense, action, romance, betrayal, intrigue, magic: this book has it all. 

Two Twisted Crowns is the sequel and conclusion to One Dark Window, which follows a girl who is inhabited by the soul of a monster she calls Nightmare. I really enjoyed the first book, but I absolutely loved this second book. 

We solely followed Elspeth’s perspective in the first book, but here we interchange between Elspeth’s, Ravyn’s, and Elm’s POVs. And I loved it! I didn’t care for Elm in the first book, but I really grew to love him after reading through his eyes. By the end, I was actually looking forward the most to his chapters. I also enjoyed his and Ione’s relationship more than Elspeth and Ravyn's, although I still loved both couples. 

I do appreciate that the romance in this series is fairly clean, having only one spicy scene in the first book (even though it was unnecessary) and none in the second book. I’m always on the lookout for fantasy books with clean romance in them. I loved the character-building and character relationships that were present in this series. 

Regardless if you think the story itself is interesting or not, this book is still very well-written. Gillig set a good foundation in One Dark Window and seamlessly built on it in Two Twisted Crowns. Somehow I liked this book even more than the first, even though I was skeptical when I first picked it up. The ending here nicely wrapped up all the plot points and answered all my questions. It was a very satisfying conclusion where I didn’t fully know how everything would play out until it did. 

I would recommend this series. It’s pitched as being similar to For the Wolf and Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale, all books that I did not enjoy, yet I still ended up loving the Shepherd King duology. Each of the above books has a female protagonist, a dark forest, a castle, ancient magic, a historical setting, and a romance with a mysterious man. However, One Dark Window and Two Twisted Crowns handled that all in a way that I enjoyed reading about while the other books did not. I can’t really pinpoint what the difference is, other than possibly that I like Rachel Gillig’s writing style while I do not like the other books’ authors’ writing styles. Either way, I was very surprised that I ended up loving this duology so much, and I can’t wait to read future books from Rachel Gillig.