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”For even dead, I will not die. I am the shepherd of shadow. The phantom of the fright. The demon in the daydream. The nightmare in the night.”
Elspeth and Ravyn have gathered most of the twelve providence cards, but the most important one has yet to be found: The Twin Alders.
If they are going to find it before the Solstice and cure the dark magic infecting the kingdom, they will need to journey beyond the dangerous mist-cloaked forest that surrounds their kingdom.
And the only one who can lead them to The Twin Alders and through the mist is the monster inside of Elspeth’s head. The Nightmare.
Thoughts on the Plot
Two Twisted Crowns picks up right when One Dark Window left off. Which is nice because we don’t have to muddle through anything and can get right to the point.
The plot moved nicely and I think this had a lot to do with the constant switching of POV.
In this book, we get mostly Ravyn and Elm’s point-of-views. Which was interesting, I definitely see Elm differently from the first book.
The same eery, misty weather sets up the atmosphere of this book nicely, just like it did within One Dark Window.
The tension felt so much tighter in this book and I found I really enjoyed it. The stakes are so much higher and the characters have far more to lose this time around, especially with The Nightmare no longer existing only in Elspeth’s head.
Thoughts on the Characters
While I really enjoyed the multiple POVs we got in this book, I think some parts ended up feeling rushed.
For instance, Ravyn and Eslpeth are not the main love interests in this book. We get another pairing, which if you’re a giant Ravyn and Elspeth Stan like I am, I was kinda disappointed.
The new pairing feels a little bit more of an insta-love trope. We do not get any sort of build-up like we did with Ravyn and Elspeth in the first book.
Speaking of Elspeth, she felt completely missing from her own story. I understand the degeneration was serious and hence why we get more of The Nightmare in this book. But I missed her, not nearly as much as Ravyn, but missed her nonetheless.
One thing I loved about this book, is the backstory we get about The Nightmare. How each of the cards were made and what each one does. We learn so much more than in the first book and I found myself thinking about the cards even after finishing the book.
Hauth continued to play the villain really well in this book. He had me on the edge of my seat at the end of the book. IYKYK
I will say, despite not fully enjoying the New Romantic pairing as much as I did Ravyn and Elspeth, I think it was this line where I really considered promoting Elm to book boyfriend.
“I’d be your King, but always your servant. Never your keeper”
I genuinely enjoyed this book and it was not at all what I was expecting after reading One Dark Window.
By the end, I had a newfound appreciation for Elm’s character and the new pairing within this book.
I also LOVED learning more about The Nightmare and the cards.
I also felt (surprisingly) a bit sad when The Nightmare and Elspeth were finally no longer one entity. They had a strange, dark bond, but I loved their banter and arguing, and the almost father-like figure The Nightmare almost became to Elspeth.
While One Dark Window gets 5 stars and a place on my favorite reads of 2023 list, Two Twisted Crowns fell a bit short and so it gets a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me.
The series overall gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. This duology is criminally underrated and if you have not read it, please read it ASAP!
Both books are out, so what do you have to lose? And if you have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!