(4.5 stars rounded up to a 5)
The Liar’s Crown is a YA fantasy romance with lots of adventure by Abigail Owen. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at fourteen hours and is narrated by Samara Naeymi with Luis Moreno. We follow our main character with a first-person point-of-view.
Meren is the presumed-dead-at-birth twin of Tabra, the princess of Aryd. She serves as the “reserve” princess, a body double for times when her sister may be in danger. Twin princesses has been a long-held secret in their family for generations, as King Eidolon of Tyndra routinely steals one per generation. With their grandmother the queen dead, Eidolon attempts to ally with their country by marrying Tabra. Meren fulfils her duty by taking her sister’s place during the official dinner before her coronation, and is abducted by a Shadowraith.
I really enjoyed the world-building and magic system in this book. The pace and plotting were pretty on-point as well. I wish there was a bit more development regarding world politics, but I’m guessing we may get a bit more of that in the next installment.
In some books with “secret twins,” the royal-presenting twin can be condescending to her “duplicate,” but I’m glad to note that is not the case here. The two girls appear to be very close and love each other unconditionally. Meren doesn’t resent her sister at all, but does hold hope that one day she could be fully known as herself and not just her sister’s shadow.
Meren is an enjoyable main character because she is not simply intelligent–princesses must learn the ins and outs of their allies and enemies, after all, including the literal lay of the land–but she also has street smarts she’s learned by sneaking out of the desert town she typically hides in. I really liked Reven as her main love interest. He’s a well-fleshed-out morally gray character who is literally full of darkness and shadows but still strives to do good.
This book is on the higher end of YA, possibly leaning more into New Adult as Meren is eighteen. There are a few steamy scenes, and one sex scene that does not fade to black.
Samara Naeymi narrates the vast majority of the book, and Luis Moreno narrates half of the epilogue. I will be excited if Luis will have more content to narrate in the next book! I wish I didn’t have to wait until May 2023 when we’ll get more of this story.
Tropes in this book include: enemies to lovers, mistaken identity, secret twin, forced proximity, dark fantasy, queer side character (sapphic)
CW: abduction, violence, death, murder, mind control
Special thanks to Entangled Teen, RB Media, and NetGalley for providing an audio galley of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own. The Liar’s Crown releases on Tuesday, August 30th, 2022.
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