Book Tour Review & Bonus Scene: Crown and Serpent by Heather Frost

Happy Friday, and happy publication day to Crown & Serpent, a new novella by Heather Frost. I’m thrilled to be on the book tour today. It was a fantastic read, and it made me think differently about some of the most villainous characters in the Fate of Eyrinthia series.

About the Book:

Title: Crown & Serpent

Author: Heather Frost

Series: Fate of Eyrinthia

Page Length: 244

Publication Date: August 25, 2023

Synopsis: All she wanted . . .  

Seventeen-year-old Iris Winn loves her quiet life with her father, studying the poisons that fascinate them both. But after his sudden death, Iris is now the ward of her estranged aunt and uncle. In order to claim her inheritance, she must live in the capital city of Lenzen for one year. While there, she must attend parties, balls, and participate in every other vapid thing the elite of Ryden value. Iris doesn’t care about learning their rules or joining their ranks–her only goal is to endure the next year. Then she meets Prince Henri Kaelin.  

Everything they demanded . . .  

Every young woman in Lenzen wants Henri–except for Iris. Unfortunately, the prince only has eyes for her. The king has decreed that Henri must choose a bride before his birthday, and Iris is determined it won’t be her. Dodging a prince’s focused attention while placating her relatives and the rest of Ryden’s high society is exhausting–and more dangerous than Iris could have ever imagined. She is about to learn that not all games are innocent, and some smiles are more lethal than poison. Luckily, Iris is a quick study, and this is a game she is determined to win.  

She would take it all.

***Crown & Serpent is a Fate of Eyrinthia prequel novella that’s actually the length of a novel. This villain origin story was released after Royal Rebel, but it can be read at any point in the series.***

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon | Book Bub


GIVEAWAY: Heather is also hosting a giveaway to celebrate Crown & Serpent‘s release. She is giving away a signed paperback of Royal Decoy + collectible bookmarks and postcard! You can get all the details and enter here:


The Fate of Eyrinthia series is one of my favorite romantasies, and I was super excited, and a little apprehensive, to read Iris and Henri’s backstories in Crown & Serpent. I don’t know why I was worried. Frost always knocks it out of the park with her stories, and this novella is no exception.

Iris and Henri are both such reprehensible villains, rulers, and parents in the series, and I wondered what made them so cruel, especially when dealing with their children. And though I was determined to hate them out of loyalty to Grayson, (their son and one of my favorite characters in the series), I found myself totally invested in their stories. I don’t know how Frost does it, but she managed to make me sympathize with these villains and understand them a little better.

The more I read by Frost, the more impressed I am with her ability to tell a story. I love her writing style and always feel immediately and wholly immersed in the book. In this series, Queen Iris is a master of poisons, and she often uses her knowledge to test her children. I despised her character until I read this novella. And though I still think she’s one scary antagonist, learning about her life and some of her heartbreaks before becoming queen definitely changed my perception of her.

And Henri! Ooof, I REALLY hate him, but… Frost got me to swoon over him in this story. Like his wife, King Henri is a monster, and the abuse he inflicts on his children is awful. But a young and shirtless Prince Henri? Swoon! After the swoon, though, I had to check myself. lol That’s the skill of the author. She created layered and nuanced characters, their good and their bad, their heartbreak and their successes, and their love story and family issues. These backstories shed light on the circumstances that led to their villainous ways.

A masterfully written villain origin story, Crown & Serpent is exciting and immersive and connects so perfectly to the rest of the series. That being said, you could read this as a standalone too. Special thanks to Heather Frost for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Bonus Scene from Crown & Serpent:

Unexpected Fate (Henri’s POV)  

Henri strode up the castle steps, shoving a hand through his wind-tangled hair. The dark brown locks were kept just a little too long in an effort to irritate his father. Perhaps more than that, he liked how the wind ripped through his hair when he rode. He wished he was back on his horse right now, but his father had summoned him. He’d left the stable immediately, leaving the servants to care for his favorite horse.

The rides were never long enough. Never hard enough, or far enough. Never enough to erase the fact that, despite being the crown prince of Ryden, he still had to bow to someone.

Servants inclined their heads as he passed them in the corridors, and visiting nobles smiled and called out to him. They were eager for his time, his attention. They all wanted something from him. Just like his father always wanted something from him.

For once, he would like to meet someone who didn’t want something from him. In all his nineteen years, he had yet to meet someone like that.

A person like that probably didn’t exist. At least not in Ryden.

Henri reached his father’s office, glancing around the well-known space. He would inherit this room one day, along with the rest of the castle—and the kingdom.

He looked forward to that day.

His father sat behind his large wooden desk, papers strewn before him. He glanced up, his brown eyes severe as ever. “You could have made yourself presentable.”

“I didn’t want to make you wait.”

“Appearances matter, Henri.”

Henri’s hands curled to fists at his sides. “Of course, Sire. It won’t happen again.”

“See that it doesn’t.” King Ezra straightened in his chair. The man was large, his frame wide and powerful despite his age. He’d been well into his reign when he had Farrell, his first son. By the time he’d fathered Henri, Ezra was old enough to be considered Henri’s grandfather.

The man seemed intent on outliving everyone in Ryden. Despite his gray hair, the man’s age hadn’t seemed to have hit him yet. His limbs were strong, his mind sharp. The fates would take him one day, though. And when that day came, Henri would not mourn his father.

Ezra snorted. “Farrell never gave me reason to reprimand him. You can’t seem to make it through a day without correction.”

Henri’s jaw tensed. “Apologies.” It was his rote reply, because there was truly nothing else he could say when he was compared to his dead brother. He was always found lacking. Once, he’d tried to defend himself.

He’d quickly learned his lesson.

Ezra tossed his quill aside, not bothering to put it in its place.

The carelessness of the action grated on Henri, because Ezra always expected perfection from him.

“The Summer Festival is next week,” his father said.

Henri nodded, his face smooth though irritation flared. The Summer Festival. A holiday dedicated to Farrell’s memory. A way to honor Ezra’s perfect son.

Henri had no holidays dedicated to him. And while Farrell’s mother was immortalized in statues and art throughout the kingdom, Henri’s mother’s name was nothing more than a whispered memory. Unimportant, in the scheme of things. A means to an end for Ezra, and nothing more.

Just like Henri.

“I would like to make an announcement during my speech,” Ezra said, bringing Henri back to the present moment. “But I must discuss it with you first.”

Surprise lit through him. His father never included him in discussions. He only gave orders and reprimands. He never cared for Henri’s opinion.

His chest swelled, and his chin lifted. He tried to keep his excitement from his tone as he simply said, “Oh?”

Ezra pushed back from the desk and rose to his feet. His eyes were sharp on Henri. “It is time you married.”

The thrill of anticipation snuffed out. Henri’s shoulders fell a fraction. “That is what you wish to discuss?”

Ezra nodded. “I have considered many candidates. There are fortunes we could add to ours, strong bloodlines we could blend with ours. But no one in Ryden has presented me with a perfect candidate. Which is why I think you should choose your bride.”

Henri stared, his pulse quickening. He wasn’t sure he had heard correctly. “You want me to . . . choose my wife?”

Ezra huffed an annoyed breath. “Do keep up, Henri.”

Henri’s spine straightened. “Do you have a list of young women for me to choose from?”

“No. My only rule is that she must be of noble blood, and that you must make your choice by your birthday. At the ball held in your honor, you will announce your choice. If you fail to make a selection by then, I will choose for you. Do we have an understanding?”

“Yes,” Henri said. Fates, his father had never given him a choice in his life. Certainly not such an important choice as this. It made him wary. Suspicious. What was his father’s purpose in this? Did he expect Henri to fail?

Fates, his father had already said that a perfect candidate didn’t exist. That meant any choice Henri made could be seen as lacking. Wrong.

Ezra was setting him up to fail.

“It’s settled, then,” Ezra said. He moved around the desk, coming to stop in front of Henri. His nose wrinkled.

He didn’t approve of Henri’s passion for riding. He thought it was time wasted. He didn’t say anything about it now, though.

The king of Ryden met Henri’s gaze. “You are choosing your wife. The woman who will stand at your side in all things. The mother of your offspring. The future queen of Ryden.” He leaned in, his breath heating Henri’s skin. “Do not make a mistake.”

Oh, Henri didn’t intend to make a mistake. Not in this. Even if his father didn’t expect failure, he was testing Henri. That much was clear, because everything in Henri’s life was a fates-blasted test. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Because this was a test Henri was excited about. This might well be the first step in Henri’s independence. The first stone he could lay in a foundation that would stand long after his father died.

If a perfect candidate for his wife existed, he would find her. And he would do it within the timeframe his father insisted on.

Henri met his father’s gaze, unflinching. “I won’t fail,” he said.

Not in this.

About the Author:

Heather Frost is a #1 Amazon bestselling author who writes magical stories with breath-stealing romance. She is the author of the Seers trilogy, the Fate of Eyrinthia series, and Esperance. Her books have been Whitney Award and Swoony Award Finalists. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and re-watch Lord of the Rings. She lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains in northern Utah. To learn more about Heather and her books, visit her website:

LINKS: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Mailing List

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