Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin – Shadow Crown #1 (EPUB)
For most people, the act of killing is intangible. Unfathomable.
But not for seventeen-year-old Arden Eliri.
Having been involved in Cruex assassination attempts as a mere child, killing is a natural disposition for her. Growing up without parents, in a castle ruled by an iron-fisted king, is the furthest thing from a fairy tale, as is being forced into the Cruex, the king’s group of hand-selected assassins. But with each passing year, she comes to enjoy the act of killing more and more.
Kill or be killed—she chooses the former.
A decade ago, King Darius Tymond banished The Caldari—those who practice illusié, or old magick—from Trendalath Kingdom, ensuring that no Caldari will ever step foot in his kingdom again. But Arden discovers otherwise after a dual-assigned mission goes horribly awry. Even more startling, she discovers that she may have more in common with the Caldari than she’s been led to believe.
Arden wants to trust that King Tymond’s intentions are pure, but as their pasts collide in unexpected ways, the quicker she realizes the consequences and dangers of his reign. But Arden is also hiding something—something that threatens her very existence—and she’ll have to face her inner darkness and conquer it before it destroys her . . . and the kingdom she’s come to call her home.
Shadow Crown is perfect because that’s a lot going on but never so much that it gets confusing, and introduces you to the tropes of the genre too. It was a more mature book than I’m used to reading, but it was very intriguing to read. Dark fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and this reminds me why. Loved every minute and couldn’t put it down.