Published by HarperTeen on November 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Dystopian
Source: eARC from Publisher
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.
But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.
From the beginning, the race is filled with twists and turns. One of them is Darius, a fellow racer Astrid meets but isn’t sure she can trust. Though they team up in the race, as Astrid’s memories begin to resurface, she remembers just who he was to her—a scorned foe who may want revenge. Astrid also starts to notice she has powers no Outsider should—which could help her win the race, but also make her a target if anyone finds out. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Astrid must decide what is more important: risking her life to remember the mysteries of the past, or playing a cutthroat game in order to win her—and her family’s—freedom.
Crown of Oblivion is a young adult novel by Julie Eshbaugh. Crown of Oblivion felt like a mash up of fantasy and a dystopian, and it was an action packed read that kept me flipping pages until there were no more pages to flip. This novel kept me entertained and wanting more! I am really hoping that there will be a sequel to Crown of Oblivion.
In Crown of Oblivion we meet Astrid, our main character. Astrid is the princess’ surrogate, which is really just a glorified word for a punishment bearer. Every time the Princess steps a toe out of line, Astrid gets punished. (doesn’t that sound awful??) The only way out for Astrid is for her to gain full citizenship and earn her way to freedom. And the way to do that is to win the bloody Race of Oblivion! The Race of Oblivion felt kind of like the hunger games, or like the Brimstone Bleed race from Victoria Scott’s Fire and Flood series. One of the most interesting aspects of the race, is that to enter it means you will also be losing all of your memories. Each of the racers are drugged with Oblivion, which erases their memories, and then dropped in the middle of nowhere, with only a single clue to follow. Only one person can win, and throughout the race there are scattered puzzles for the entrants to solve. Kind of like a very deadly scavenger hunt.
It was equal parts fascinating and terrifying, and I simply could not stop reading. Once I picked up Crown of Oblivion, I said goodbye to our world and I didn’t reenter until I was done with the novel. That is the mark of a good story in my option. I was riveted, and when I was done, I was left with an almost desperate desire to read more of author Julie Eshbaughs works. Her writing style draws the readers in and does not let go. Though the plot basis for Crown of Oblivion did not feel total unique, the storyline was different enough from other books to keep me guessing what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed Astrid’s race. Most of the originality from the story comes from the character development. I loved watching Astrid grow as a character. The race tested her physically but also mentally, and not just in the ways I was expecting.
I haven’t even gone into the politics of the world, but Julie Eshbaugh did a fantastic job fleshing out the political unrest that the country is experiencing. The world is starkly divided into haves and have-nots and the have- not’s are on the verge of rebellion. The unrest is a strong undercurrent throughout the story that made things even more interesting and really upped the stakes. This book was really wonderful from start to finish and I find myself really wanting more! I so hope there is a sequel! (But, yes, this book could stand alone, as a standalone if left as is.)
If you are a fan of the hunger games or The Fire and Flood series by Victoria Scott, I think you will love Crown of Oblivion.Love #HungerGames & #FireandFlood? #Win a copy #CrownofOblivion by @JulieEshbaugh at @BookBriefs @HarperTeen Click To Tweet
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