Book Review: The Delinquent Crown: A YA Fantasy Adventure (Olexia Legends, #1) by Sydney Faith
C+ | Although the premise was interesting and I did enjoy it overall, the book was too fast-paced and incredibly underdeveloped. Concepts were there, just not fleshed out enough, which was quite frustrating because there is a lot of potential. While there is conflict, things were resolved too quickly or simply brushed off rather than explored.
Sydney contacted me via my blog — moon & coffee. — asking if I would be willing to read and review her book in exchange for a copy. Now, I love me some good fantasy, so I said yes. So many thanks to Sydney for this opportunity.
Even though it did take me a few days to get through this book — nursing school takes priority after all & wow is this semester kicking my butt — this is a very fast-paced novel. Quite frankly, it’s too fast-paced. Although I don’t necessarily mind a fast-paced book, too many things happened in a short amount of time, and thus, character development and worldbuilding suffered immensely. It felt like I was on at some speed dating event where I’d be talking with a really cool and awesome guy, only for the buzzer to go off. Then, I’d find myself stuck with someone who isn’t as fantastic but is interesting enough.
It’s such a shame because there’s a lot of potential here. Unfortunately, stones were left unturned, and roads were left unexplored, even for a book that is marketed for young adults (although it reads more like a middle-grade book). I’m a greedy girl, and I want more from this promising book.
Warning — the review posted below will contain spoilers.
Title: The Delinquent Crown: A YA Fantasy Adventure (Olexia Legends, #1)
Author: Sydney Faith
Synopsis: Olexia is a wild and dangerous world filled with magic.
Miri and Nick find Olexia by chance but choose their fate when they step through the portal. A shard of glass and a hastily-written letter from their mother are all they have to solve their puzzling past.
In Olexia Miri and Nick find danger and unlikely allies, and with their help, they learn to wield their newfound powers and find out the truth about Olexia's buried secrets.
When the ruthless Council leader learns the siblings harbor a powerful artifact, he sends his bloodthirsty LaKaio soldiers to hunt them down at any cost.
With time running out and secrets about their past being revealed around every corner, Miri and Nick must decide if they're going to hide away or rise up against the sinister leaders of Olexia.
Publication Date: 9 September 2019
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Now, what’s the plot?
Well, it’s about two orphans, Miri and Nick, who are suddenly sent to another world during their search (well, more Miri’s search) for their parents. They get through into Olexia, where they discover they have magic and things about themselves and their parents. It’s a plot riddled with cliches, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I was able to predict what was going to happen ¼ of the way into the book. It’s generic and nothing too special.
In regards to the worldbuilding?
It, too, suffered from the all too fast pacing and is severely underdeveloped. Okay, magic and the current political situation were explained. Still, I was often left asking “who, what, when, where, why, and how,” when it came to certain things.
How is Miri the most powerful? What did magic exactly have to do with her health? How is it that Miri and Nick are so quick to control their abilities, especially Miri? Why hype up the magic mirror that Kayta is so obsessed with, but not actually do anything substantial with it? What is so special about the mirror anyway that everyone is after it? How exactly did Miri and Nick’s mother send them to our world? What is so wrong about having another kid in line for the throne? What happens when the heir dies, and there’s no one else? How does succession work?
This leads me to the villains.
What is so wrong with Zekta and Garran? So, they usurped the throne and run the show. So they started to plot against the king and queen after they lost their daughter. What did the king and queen do to this family — to their daughter — that they decided to usurp them? You don’t grow to despise someone unless they did someone horrendous to you and/or the ones you love. If anything, I feel more sympathy for Zekta and Garran. Now, of course, a lust for power can be the reason. However, why juxtapose their desire to overthrow the king and queen and rise to power with the loss of their daughter if their daughter’s death has nothing to do with anything?
Okay, fine. Zekta and Garran “betrayed” the king and queen, who broke the laws of the land. Okay. Aside from the fact that Siymin states that the Council is deciding on regulations that will “eventually force us (Siymin & his family) away from our farm,” what other evidence is there that shows that the Council, Zekta, and Garran are the bad guys?
In a way, this ties a lot into the worldbuilding.
We don’t see how Zekta and Garran’s rule impacts the people of Olexia. We’re told that because they usurped the throne and are “crushing the life” out of Siymin’s family, we should dislike them. But that’s not enough. Even Siymin states that “the majority believe The Council has our best interest in mind.” There is no evidence proving this contrary. We don’t see mentions of vast inequality as a result of Garran and Zekta’s rule. We don’t get any scenes of the LaKaio committing acts of violence and/or hate against the ordinary, everyday people in Olexia. It’s hard to believe that Garran, Zekta, and the Council should be overthrown so that the “rightful” rulers should reclaim their crown.
I need evidence to believe.
Being told isn’t enough. I need to be shown proof of why I should believe what I’m being told.
Worldbuilding isn’t just relating the differences in how water tastes between Olexia and Earth. If you’re going to talk revolution and try to have the protagonists reclaim their birthright and throne, you need to get into current politics, and its impact on people’s lives. You need to show me a village decimated by LaKaio soldiers. Show me normal, everyday people suffering due to the political choices the Council made.
It certainly didn’t help matters that everything was too easy and convenient for Miri and Nick.
They have magic, and they can master their magic quickly. Teleportation? Yup, Nick learned that real quick.
When their royal heritage was revealed, it was like nothing happened, which was so disappointing. Miri and Nick never truly got to process anything. Finally, the truth of who they are is here, and we get nothing.
Siymin is quick to say that Nick is the rightful ruler and should challenge the Council, but again, why should he? What proof do we have as readers that the Council should be overthrown? What evidence do we have that Nick (or Miri — although Siymin is quick to say Nick should rule since he’s firstborn) would make a good ruler?
We didn’t get a scene where Miri and Nick process the truth together. Also, we didn’t have a scene where Nick, Miri, and their mother (Daira) can actually talk about things. Instead, we had Daira commanding Nick — which quite frankly she has no right to do. Oh, and we get scenes where water’s taste and whether or not dancing exists on Earth are discussed.
Look, I can appreciate this worldbuilding aspect of books, but there needs to be a balance, especially when the worldbuilding itself only skims the surface of its potential. If the worldbuilding is weak, there needs to be compensation somewhere, but there isn’t any here. It results in this book becoming very shallow and unbelievable.
When you make characters ride the struggle bus, they need to struggle. They need to have the opportunity to be infuriated, to be melancholy, to feel like there’s no hope. Handing things to characters and making things too easy for them doesn’t make for a good book because it becomes hard to believe that there’s any real conflict.
It’s hard when you like the characters, but they’re not given the opportunity to really grow when things are made convenient and easy for the protagonists.
As an adult reader, I can’t help but catch these things, even in a middle grade/young adult book.
So, how about the writing?
One of the good things about this book is that the writing itself is simple and easy to understand. I really appreciated that, mainly because I would read this in between me reading my med-surg textbook.
However, POVs jump around way too much to the point where I did multiple double-takes. One moment we’re in Miri’s head and then the next we’re in Kayta’s head. Confusing? Yes. I don’t mind multiple POVs, but I think there needs to be a line drawn or something so prevent confusion.
Still, I enjoyed this book. For all the issues I couldn’t help but notice, I did get invested nonetheless and I enjoyed it. I think that’s what drives the disappointment because this book could have been so much more. I had a lot of nostalgia reading this book because it’s like those books I used to read when I was younger. But even without that nostalgia driving me, I had fun reading this because the characters and events drew a variety of emotions from me.
I am looking forward to what the future brings for Sydney and this series.
Do I Recommend? Yes.
This book reads like a book I used to read back in third or fourth grade. This isn’t meant to be an insult because there are fantastic children/middle-grade books out there that genuinely held a place in my heart and I think of them fondly even now.
I would honestly recommend this book to young readers in grade/middle school since the language isn’t overly complicated. It’s an excellent book to introduce young readers into the fantasy genre.
Again, thank you Syndey for this opportunity to read and review your book.