About the Book:
Title: The Claw and the Crowned
Author: Sarah M. Cradit
Series: The Book of All Things
Release Date: January 3, 2023
Synopsis: Freedom is her desire. Vengeance is his price.
Slip into this scintillating tale of a young royal whose loyalty is torn between the prince she was sold to and the tempestuous knight determined to ruin her.
Imryll is unfit to be a princess. Everyone has always told her so. So when the king stuns everyone by crowning her the prince’s consort, her life is completely upended, crushing any lingering dreams of a future away from the suffocating Rhiagain court.
Still reeling from the news, she meets Drazhan, the formidable, mercurial knight who wins the right to be her personal guard. But when he defiantly refuses any show of respect, a dangerous spark ignites between them, one she doesn’t know how to extinguish. Worse, she’s not sure she wants to.
The dark knight’s licentious midnight whispers linger over her, commands she feels inexplicably called to obey. His dangerous promises spread their tendrils over her desperate, failed attempts to embrace life with the prince, her childhood best friend. They take her apart and put her back together, piece by agonizing piece.
Yet she can’t shake the sense Drazhan is hiding something important. He refuses to explain why he surrendered a life of privilege to become her guard. The roaring vengeance burning in his heart, scorching him from the inside out, is a painful mystery Imryll can’t solve.
But she will.
Because Drazhan’s revenge doesn’t just start with Imryll.
It ends with her.
Sarah M. Cradit is one of my favorite dark romantasy authors, and The Claw and the Crowned reaffirms why. It’s twisty, suspenseful, and spicy, and the world-building and story are super immersive. I love the character arcs and the surprising revelations, and the swoon-tastic enemies-to-lovers romance!
Imryll, the female protagonist, goes through so much over the course of the story, and I really felt for her. A strong woman with dreams of leaving the Rhiagain court, her life isn’t her own as she is picked to be the Prince’s First Chosen, which is basically a concubine. It doesn’t matter that the prince is her best friend. Imryll feels trapped, and she yearns for freedom. The story highlights how difficult it is to be a woman in this strict and unforgiving patriarchal society where your fate is decided by men and those in power, and I love how Imryll rejects and confronts the sexism she faces.
There is an interesting love triangle since Torian (the prince) is in love with Imryll, Imryll has feelings for Drazhan, and Drazhan is fighting his growing feelings for Imryll. It’s twisted and complex and further complicated by Drazhan, who wants to kill Torian and sleep with Imryll as a type of revenge.
Poor Torian! He’s so in love with Imryll, but like her, he feels trapped in a situation he can’t control or fix. I can see why he and Imryll are best friends. They are alike in many ways. However, her chemistry lies with Drazhan.
No one knows of Drazhan’s ulterior motives and the lengths he’s willing to go to avenge the deaths of his family. Using Imryll is part of his plan, but he never thought he’d grow feelings for her. Imryll and Drazhan have the most amazing chemistry, and their enemies-to-lovers romance is filled with pining, lust, hatred, confusion, lies, betrayal, growing tender feelings, and so much conflict. Often, it’s hard to tell if they hate or like each other, but the sexual tension and angst are always high. This is definitely the steamiest of the series, and I’m so not complaining. lol
This story really sinks its claws into you (pun intended). Like the other books in the series, the world-building is vivid, immersive, and unique, and there are also some pretty surprising twists and revelations. I was so curious to see what Imryll would do once she learned of them. These shocking surprises change everything she thinks she knows. And the epilogue is EVERYTHING!!!! Special thanks to Sarah M. Cradit for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The world building.
- The character development.
Lamenting was the business of fools. There could be no gain, no joy in speaking life into impossible potential.
It was no victory to best someone if it required using the monster’s own tactics to do it.
Truth tastes foul to those who feast on lies.
We both have the capacity for darkness, but we know who we are. We know who we are. We showed each other the void, and we can choose to stay in the light.
My heart only beats when it’s near yours.
Be sure to check the content warnings. This is a dark fantasy, and there are some elements that could trigger readers.