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The Shattered Crown: A Legends of Ansu Fantasy

Crystal Crown Trilogy, Book 1
By: J.W. Webb
Narrated by: Andrew McDermott
Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A fiery young queen and a cynical mercenary are thrown together when a sorcerer usurps their high king's throne.

Queen Ariane dreams of her goddess who warns that the high king has been murdered and his enchanted crown broken, the remnants stolen by a renegade prince. Despairing she rides deep into her overlord's realm - a land now ruled by the scheming usurper, Caswallon, the sorcerer.

Corin an Fol returns home after many years fighting in other people's wars. But he finds no solace - instead he is persuaded to seek out Queen Ariane and assist her in the struggle against Caswallon. But the sorcerer knows their game and sends his creatures to waylay them. Corin and his queen must learn to trust each other before the enemy arrives. That's not going to be easy - she has a foul temper, and he's not fond of royalty.

The Shattered Crown is the first book in an exciting new trilogy called The Crystal King that also forms part of the Legends of Ansu, a spellbinding new fantasy series that will appeal to fans of Game of Thrones. If you like tough action featuring gritty characters set to a vivid fantasy backdrop of war, treachery, and vengeance, then you are going to love this new tale by JW Webb.

Get The Shattered Crown to discover this exciting series today.

©2015 James William Pugh (P)2019 James William Pugh

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid story, if a bit heavy-handed

***Obligatory Disclaimer***
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher at my request and have chosen to write this unbiased review.

Herein we have a good story in a dark and gritty world told from an omniscient viewpoint.

But first, the narrator.
Andrew McDermott has a fair array of distinct voices, but unfortunately they all sound male. His accent worked well for character voices, but in the narration it made things just a bit difficult to understand at times. What dropped his performance to three stars, however, is that vocal inflections and tempo shifts are almost nonexistent.

In terms of plot, this is a good story with excellent pacing. The events flow into each other quite well.

I'll admit to uncertainty as to when this story takes place in relation to the other books, as at least the audible editions are not numbered, so I don't really know how much I'm missing.

That said, I have to confess that I'm not really a fan of the main character. I find him boorish and misogynistic and more than a bit egotistical. Of course, I think he's meant to be on all counts.

The queen, on the other hand, is a joy to read. She's equal parts grace, poise, and nobility. She's a fun and inspiring character that you can't help rooting for.

Although there are things in the world that didn't jive well with me, it seems to all be well thought out and interesting.

Now, there are a few issues.
The main one has to do with chronology.

The main character returns home after 14 years and for some reason the romantic interest he left behind is not only still unattached but more than happy to throw herself at him?

There's nothing here indicative of the level of obsession that situation would require. If it had been 5 years I could maybe see it. But given the provided details of just doesn't make sense.

Also, the "romance" (if you can call it that) between him and the queen feels so contrived I didn't quite know what to think. Nothing about it makes sense. Neither character has any reason that I can see to care one whit what happens to the other.

And lastly, the omniscient POV is both distracting and a little irritating. There are large swaths of narration that delve full on into things that none of the characters have any way of knowing about, and in many cases wouldn't care even if they did.

Finally, the ending.
This one is a little tricky.
The climax of the book is well written with the conclusion of a major conflict and was quite satisfying.
Then then we dive into a huge chunk of, basically, the narrator giving a treatise on the origins/nature of the gods and the world and some other tidbits that I won't give away.

In short, it doesn't seem to belong.
I could see it as an introduction to the book or, better yet, as a piece of bonus material provided to the author's newsletter or patreon subscribers. But placed at the end of the book just feels really out of place.

In the end, if you like the grittiness of Game of Thrones but want something shorter with less characters, this might be just the thing you're looking for.

But if character-driven fantasy with motivations that feel real is what you're after, you'll probably be happier looking elsewhere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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👑 Review for The Shattered Crown 👑

If you’re looking for action and adventure, look no further. This book has it in spades! Our hero, Corin an Fol, is ready to retire to a peaceful life after so many years of living by the sword. Funny how life has other ideas. First, he must help Queen Ariane.

This story is well written, but at times I wished I had kept a journal with the character’s names just so I could keep up with all of the who’s who.

Narrator, Andrew McDermott, gives another 5-star performance. His range of voices for the different characters is top-notch! Also, his silvery voice is perfect for this genre. I could listen to him all day long! Just as a side note, I’d like to hear him do a book from a more contemporary setting. 🤞🏻

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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enjoyed

I enjoyed listening to this book and am looking forward to listening to more of this series and also more from the author.

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A totally immersive audio experience

The Shattered Crown is the first of the Crystal Crown Trilogy and I was delighted to find Corin an Fol is a central player. Cynical and war weary, Corin an Fol returns home for solace but is persuaded to seek out Queen Ariane and help in her struggle against the evil usurper, Sorcerer Caswallom.

The Crystal Crown has kept evil at bay in the Four Kingdoms. As the sorcerer's urging the young prince, Ariane's cousin and nominated heir, attempts to place the crown on his head. The crown burns the prince and he drops the crown which shatters. The shards of the crown are lost when the prince gathers them and flees. The shards of the crown are essential for the restoration of balance of good and evil. There are many threads and many players as the gods of Ansu prepare for war and manipulate the affairs of humans.

I love Andrew McDermott's narration. His voice and accent are perfect for this sword and sorcery fantasy. The vocal characterisations add so much to this fast paced and exciting adventure with truly nasty evil entities and much loved heroes. The foul mouthed Ariane is quite formidable and totally delightful. A female role model. I totally recommend these legends for all who love epic fantasy.

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LOVED IT!

I absolutely loved it! This book caught my attention from the very beginning and held it throughout the entire book. This book is full of action, adventure and suspense. The narration was superb and gave the story that extra flair! The author did an excellent job with the character builds and plot. This was my first book by this author but definitely not my last! I look forward to reading the next book in this series! I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Who am I?

Besides their quest, that's the main question thruout.
Mysteries solved and mysteries posed. This series keeps getting better.
Mr McDermott as usual excels in his performance with a smooth delivery.
This audio was given to me free and I voluntarily gave this review.

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Disappointing Narration

This review is about the narration of the Audible version and has nothing to do with the book itself! The story seems interesting and the narrator certainly has the capacity to make the reading interesting but to me he fails to do so. I like the accent just fine but as he reads he either misses critical pauses or runs right through them. While I realize this could be a cultural speech pattern, for me it was very distracting. The narration has an irritating cadence that really detracts from the story-line so much so that I couldn't get beyond the first chapter. I really wanted to like this but it's a bust for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian M
  • 11-20-19

Jam-packed with action and nail-biting suspense

The Shattered Crown is the first book in the Crystal Crown Trilogy. J W Webb has done a superb job with his world building, his characters are well drawn and his storyline is jam-packed with action and nail-biting suspense.

My introduction to Corin an Fol was through the excellent books in the Mercenary Trilogy (giving an insight to Corin’s earlier life and exploits) so I am already familiar with this lovable mercenary soldier/bodyguard with the sardonic humour, a bit of a soft centre inside that tough exterior, and a strong sense of right and wrong. If he’s being paid to do a job he stays on track irrespective of the odds stacked against him. In his own way he is chivalrous, loyal and fiercely protective so there are times when he will go above and beyond his own self-interest in the defence of others. A reluctant hero, I’m enjoying following more of his adventures.

It’s great that in Ariane there is a strong, no-nonsense, kick-ass female in the mix – and a Queen, no less. Captain Barin’s character is endearing and he’s definitely someone to have on your side in a fight.

The malicious and unscrupulous villains, the sorcerer Caswallon and his sidekick the master assassin Rael of Crenna, are frightening and loathsome (as are the nasty spirits, goblins, dragons and Hagan’s band of mercenaries aiding and abetting Caswallon).

Building on J W Webb’s vivid imagery, Andrew McDermott’s first-rate narration really brings this book to life and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting listen.

Looking forward to the next book in this trilogy, The Lost Prince.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Va
  • 11-11-19

Excellent dark fantasy series

An engrossing, fast-paced story with lots of intrigue and action. likeable heroes and malevolent adversaries.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful