Cruel Crown in a novella containing two short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the first queen that we know has died in Red Queen; her history and how she became queen are two bits of information that served to fuel my anger against Elara and how the first book ended. It definitely added some logs to the fire.
The second story I had to force myself to finish. I didn’t care much for Farley in Red Queen, and Shade Barrow’s storyline came back into focus at the end of the book proper, so this second story revealed very little that I didn’t already know and feel comfortable with.
I would suggest finding these digitally if you can, especially if they are on sale or part of some kind of deal. They are not necessary, but if you are enjoying the series they add a little more spice to the universe that would otherwise make the actual books a little too long.
This short story shows us the history of the first queen of Tiberius the Sixth, Corianne. she is Cal’s mother and from the Singer family of House Jacos. When a silver has the singing ability it’s like they can hypnotize people into doing what they want them to do. I am a little confused about how singers differ from whispers, who are silvers that can get into your mind and make you think things or see your memories and thoughts.
Corianne wins Tibe’s heart without a Queenstrial quite by accident, and while this is not the first time it has happened in the history of Norta, it enrages the other young ladies who had been preparing to win their place on the throne. One such lady, Elara, whom we know from Red Queen to be Tibe’s second wife, takes out her rage on Corianne and uses her whisper power to make Corianne increasingly paranoid and eventually suicidal.
The second short story in this collection follows Farley of the Scarlet Guard through her missions that ultimately lead her to Shade Barrow (Mare’s brother, also of mixed blood with abilities) and contact with Mare Barrow. This story was very boring and revealed nothing to me that I felt necessary, especially since the suspense of Shade’s whereabouts is brought to a conclusion at the end of Red Queen. Farley herself wasn’t that important of a character in Red Queen, so her inclusion here is strange, but I suppose it gives us an overall sense of how the Scarlet Guard operates behind the scenes, where in Red Queen we just saw them poking in from time to time and being destructive.
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