Review: The Elements of the Crown by Kay L. Moody

Title: The Elements of the Crown

Author: Kay L. Moody

Series: The Elements of Kamdaria (Books 1-4)

Page Length: 450

Publication Date: Dec. 3, 2019

Synopsis: Talise has a gift that could save her life. In an empire divided into three rings, seventeen-year-old Talise is from the outer ring. This dangerous and crime-laden land has one constant… death. Her only chance for escape is to become Master Shaper—an honored position in the palace court and military. Each year, the emperor chooses one student to receive the title.

After ten years of training at an elite academy, Talise clearly has a gift for manipulating the elements of water, air, earth, and fire. But Aaden, a handsome student from the privileged inner ring, is poised to steal the title away from her.

When they come before the emperor, he is impressed with the great skill both Talise and Aaden possess. He presents them with a set of trials, and she knows this is the chance she needs to prove herself. As long as Aaden doesn’t ruin everything.

But secrets hide in every corner of the palace, masking a conflict far more dangerous than her previous home in the outer ring. Now, she must play along with the emperor’s lies and games, or else she will lose her life to an enemy she never expected.

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LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

My Review:

I’ve been on a young adult fantasy kick lately, and I feel like I am on a total lucky streak with my book choices in the past several weeks. This book is no exception. It is unique and creative, and I absolutely loved it!

The Elements of the Crown includes the first four novellas in The Elements of Kamdaria series: Ice Crown, Wind Crown, Dust Crown, and Flame Crown. A young-adult fantasy series, the story follows Talise on her journey to become Master Shaper, one of the most prestigious titles one can possess.

A Master Shaper has the innate ability to manipulate the four elements. I loved this element of the story! It is original, fascinating, and impressive. Many of the characters, including Talise and her friends, the emperor, and the guards, have the ability to manipulate the elements. Very cool!

Sidenote: I love to garden and would totally want to control earth. That would be so fun to plan!

Talise can control all four elements. She far surpasses all of her peers, except one, and she is the only person who can successfully manipulate ice.

The powers that many characters have and the ways in which they manipulate the elements are described so vividly that I could easily imagine their exciting powers. From Aaden sculpting cherry blossom trees out of fire to Wendy teaching Talise how to manipulate wind for more accurate dagger throwing, the element shaping is spectacular!

The vivid world-building is also worth mentioning. Moody has created a fascinating dystopian society rife with harsh punishments, societal inequities, and rebellion. The setting heightens the suspense and aids in progressing the plot in an interesting and unique way.

Another highlight of the book is the slow-burning, enemies-to-love-interest romance. The relationship between Talise and Aaden is so complicated. At the start of the series, he is an arrogant and hurtful young man. I never thought he would become one of the most likable characters in the series. There is a depth to both Talise and Aaden that I appreciate. I found myself rooting for these two, both individually and as a couple.

One of my favorite parts sums up the way they feel about each other perfectly:


Her name rolled out of his mouth as if he’d been holding onto it for several days. As if he’d considered it, treasured it, and now he was just trying it out, seeing how it felt out in the open.

It felt amazing.

She hated herself for feeling like that, but she did. She wanted to hear him say it again.

Talise and Aaden both struggle with their past, with letting people in, and with learning to trust others. On top of that, they are each other’s fiercest competition, which adds an interesting layer to the story. Even with theses obstacles, there is an undeniable connection between them. I’m interested to see how their relationship progresses in future books.

This is an action-packed novel with well-developed characters and an interesting plot with a ton of twists and turns. I found it hard to put down. I want to know more about Talise and her journey and can’t wait to read more of this entertaining series.

  • Will Talise and Aaden come to terms with their past?
  • Does she remain working for the powerful Emperor?
  • Does she remain friends with Wendy, her school best-friend?
  • Can Talise and Aaden resolve their differences and admit their feelings for each other?
  • Will Talise and her friends become involved in the conflict with the rebels that are threatening the Emperor?
  • Will Talise invoke change in this unfair and cruel dystopian society?

As the story progresses, all of these questions (and more) are answered.


Favorite Parts:

  • the amazing abilities to control the elements
  • the slow-burning romance
  • the dystopian elements
  • the skillfully paced way in which the story progresses


Readers who like dystopian fiction with fantastical element-shaping components will love this book. If you like young adult fantasy with strong-willed and fierce female protagonists, then this is the book for you! Thanks so much to Book Sirens for providing me a copy of this book!

20 thoughts on “Review: The Elements of the Crown by Kay L. Moody

  1. In your opinion, do the novellas stand on their own or do they work together? I read only the first one and it ended at such a strange time. Should I continue and finish all four of I didn’t like the first? Great review!

    1. Thanks so much! in response to your questions, the novellas definitely build upon each other. In my opinion, all of the novellas end in the same way, but that weirdly abrupt cliffhanger propelled me to read the next books. I thought the second and third novellas were the strongest in the group.

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