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.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Crown of Oblivion
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Page Count: 480
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★
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.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book via Harperteen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
Content Warning: Indentured Servitude, Beating/Whipping, Drug use, abuse & dealing
I may not know my own name, but I know misery, and this is it.
Crown of Oblivion is a Young Adult fantasy that has science fiction undertones. Strongly influenced by The Great Race, and compared to The Hunger Games, the story revolves around a race and a system of inequality. In the land of Lanoria, indentured servants, known as Outsiders, are magicless, and powerless. Astrid is the surrogate to Princess Renya, and takes any physical punishment that she earns through disobedience. Astrid is no foreigner to a life of difficulty. Her father is ill, and she does everything she can to get him a pass to receive medical help. When she is finally able to get the document he needs, he collapses and dies on the stage at a national affair.
Shortly after, Astrid finds herself signing up for the Race of Oblivion–a race where Outsiders can participate to win and become a Citizen. With becoming a Citizen, her entire family would gain access to citizenship, and would receive help and status.
For the winner, the Race of Oblivion means citizenship, but there’s only one winner each year. For many of the contestants, the race means death. It’s cruel, really. Stripped of all their personal memories, racers wake with amnesia somewhere outside the city walls, with nothing more than a short list of instructions and a map to the first clue.
Once Astrid is basically drugged and finds herself nameless in the race, many new obstacles appear. One never knows who is trustworthy, and fatalities occur regularly.
I didn’t feel that Astrid really play the game in the race. She never really worked towards solving any of the clues, and left others around her do it for her. This is a small fry complaint in comparison to the lack of world-building, and an unclear magic system. I found myself throughout wanting to know much more especially about the magic system, but it wasn’t discussed thoroughly enough. I thought Astrid’s character was done well. She was inquisitive, and didn’t fall into the trap of trusting everyone she met along the way throughout the race.
Overall, I thought this was a decent read. I simply wanted more information, especially the world-building, dissected further. Unfortunately, the plot simply didn’t resonate with me. Several aspects were new and unique, but overall, it felt familiar to me.
Sexual content: Minimal
My Rating: ★★★
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Julie Eshbaugh is a YA writer and former filmmaker. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens which received several honors from the Webby Awards. Her new YA fantasy standalone, CROWN OF OBLIVION, is coming from HarperTeen November 2019. IVORY AND BONE (HarperTeen 2016) and OBSIDIAN AND STARS (HarperTeen 2017), her prehistoric fan tasy duology, are out now. You can learn more about Julie’s writing escapades by visiting www.julieeshbaugh.com
Pinterest: https://www.pintere st.es/julieeshbaugh/
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