Series: Crownchasers #1
Author: Rebecca Coffindaffer
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Published: September 29th, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Emperor Atar Faroshti is on his deathbed, and his final wish is a surprising one. Instead of naming an heir, he instead initiates the first crownchase in centuries, a race across the galaxy to locate the royal seal which has been hidden somewhere in the vast empire. Each of the empire’s prime families send a representative, and the Faroshti family’s is the Emperor’s niece, Alyssa Farshot. Alyssa is not pleased to be pulled back into the family legacy she has long been trying to outrun, and she would rather be out there in her ship, exploring the galaxy as she has been for the past several years. But seeing it as her duty to fulfill her uncle’s dying request, she prepares herself to take part in one last adventure even though the throne is the last thing she wants. More pieces are at play around this crownchase however, from political maneuvering and power plays by the prime families to the supposedly neutral religious group that holds the stewardship of the empire until the race is won, the crownchasers are getting into much more than they anticipated as the already competitive race through space turns deadly.
I’ve been taking a break from sci-fi since the herculean effort it took for me to get through Harrow the Ninth earlier this summer (totally worth it though), but this book was the perfect way to get back into this genre. I’ve seen a few reviews comparing this to the Aurora Cycle series and I would say it certainly has its similarities in terms of setting and feel, but the stakes are completely different and so are the character dynamics, which I though were way more interesting in this book, despite the fact that I found it to be a plot driven read. For one, the crownchasers all know each other, and I loved how the story evolved from a race to find the seal to them ultimately needing to become allies to get through the obstacles in their path.
The little flashbacks to Alyssa’s childhood aboard the kingship and her early days as an explorer were a great addition, and gave more insight into not only her character, but her relationship with her loyal engineer, Hell Monkey (can’t say I care much for that name though – how am I supposed to take his character seriously?). With the main plot being such a wild ride, there is little time for character building and these interludes were the only places where it was possible to get a better understanding, not only of Alyssa’s personality, but that of the other crownchasers. Initially, they all seem to be just competitors in this race, but as the story progresses, it is clear that they have all spent significant time together growing up, and outside the competition are actually quite friendly towards each other – mostly. Coy and Faye were the secondary characters that really stood out to me and Alyssa’s dynamic with both of them was really interesting, though I would have liked some more backstory on Faye.
As for our antagonist, Edgar Voles, he was a far more complicated character than was initially evident. He is given his own POV, unlike any of the other crownchasers, an interesting choice by the author, since he is not exactly a traditional villain, so to speak, and while he is not very likeable, Edgar is certainly a fascinating character with a lot of potential. We do get some hints as to why he is the way he is, but there is so much more to be revealed about Edgar, and I’m excited to see how his character develops.
While Alyssa does initially appear to be a bit of a cliche protagonist and I did find her a bit juvenile for the first quarter of the book or so, she quickly grows on you, and her reckless, rebellious, yet kindhearted nature makes her a character that’s really fun to root for. I will say however, that if you’re paying attention to the story, it is quite predictable after a point. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. The role the media played in the chase was an interesting one, and I’m curious to see how this angle plays out, especially given how this book ended.
Crownchasers is a fast-paced adventure that I feel would be enjoyable to many readers, even if science fiction isn’t really your thing. Until recently, sci-fi and space operas ranked pretty low on my list, but books like this and the Aurora Cycle series have made the genre much more entertaining for me. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun and exciting read, and of course, sci-fi fans are sure to enjoy this.
Crownchasers releases on September 29th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!