Cover Image: A Crown of Ivy and Glass

A Crown of Ivy and Glass

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I think my expectations were too high about the beginning book of new fantasy series after reading Empirium trilogy! As one of the biggest fans the author, I wished I enjoyed the first book of the series a little more! The world building is little weak! I wanted to know more about Gallinor and magic system. It didn’t reveal so much at the beginning. This book also seems like more YA romance than fantasy. Because the main purpose of Gemma Ashbourne was a little vague.

I also have to admit both Gemma and Talan were not my kind of likable MCs. They were childish, impulsive. Gemma’s long repetitive inner thoughts made me bored and Talan is not the charismatic, strong hero I was looking for, apologizing for each action he takes. Oh boy! Just trust your instincts. Stop being so insecure!

Overall: I found this book a little flat and characters were irritating but I still keen on giving second chance for the upcoming installments. Sometimes the beginning of the trilogies can be problematic and the other books of the series can fix the problems of the previous book with satisfying conclusion! This author is genius and I adored, reread her previous works so I’m still curious enough to read the second book while I’m crossing my fingers to enjoy it more!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

Was this review helpful?

As much as I wanted to love this book, I just could never get into the plot or characters. Both just fell flat for me.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. I encourage you to check this one out! Wonderful adventure.

Was this review helpful?

A really unfortunate DNF at 20%. I desperately wanted to love A Crown of Ivy and Glass (I mean, can you really ask for any more than Bridgerton meets ACOTAR?), but this book was such a let down.

I didn't connect to Gemma, the protagonist, at all. I found her quite annoying and weak. The "romance" between Talan and Gemma was also way too insta-lovey for me. They met and then basically went straight to making out and wanting to rip each others' clothes off. There was no build-up, so the romantic scenes they had meant nothing to me as the reader.

Characters and ships make or break books for me. If this book's plot was bad, I probably wouldn't care as much and would be tempted to carry on, but I can't justify spending any more time on A Crown of Ivy and Glass.

I'd rate what I've read so far 1.5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

4.5ish stars but could change
First things first, I don't think this book is for everyone. That goes for both triggers and writing, to be honest. I really liked this book, but I can't really say if that's due to my unconditional love for Claire Legrand and everything she writes or the actual craft of it. It didn't meet my (frankly unreasonable) expectations, but I did truly enjoy ACOIAG and its writing and characters.
Now onto the actual meat of the review! To begin with, I had mixed thoughts on the characters most of the time. I often didn't like their personalities or occasional naivete, but I did like how they were developed and how they interacted with one another, which I've always considered a strength of Legrand's. One of my favorite aspects of this was the similarities between these new characters and her old ones. A lot of this that I saw was more in dynamics, but I loved that some traits were much like that of characters from the Empirium Trilogy, but I still didn't find them insanely predictable.
Next up, relationships of all sorts. First of all, I do think that this is one of those fantasy romance books where it's both fantasy and romance, but it leans so heavily on the romance in the beginning that you get frustrated that there isn't enough fantasy. The novel starts off with a huge, world-changing event with the Middlemist, but for the first half, all Gemma ever thinks about is Talan and occasionally her social status. I wished it was more fantasy there, but it definitely leans into the heavier aspects later. In terms of Talan and Gemma, I actually really liked them, but not /all/ the time. They're that couple where you need them to see straight, but you absolutely appreciate their acceptance of one another regardless. Even when I'm wary of a Legrand character, I always love how much respect and affection they show to those close to them. The friendships later in this book were really when the relationships shone for me. I don't want to spoil, but we met some characters that I really loved, and they were so amazing to one another.
Lastly(ish), plot and world-building. I didn't find the world the most digestible, but I was on page with the plot and world until like the last few chapters. Otherwise, there was a lot of great content. Was it the fastest? Not really. I pride myself on fast, one-sitting reading, and that didn't really pan out here. However, I didn't think the book was tremendously hurt by it. The world was so rich, and I loved the complexity of the demons and politics and greenways and the like.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this to /everyone/, but I certainly enjoyed it. Every book Legrand writes feels new even with their similarities, and that's why I'd say those who only like the Empirium Trilogy should stay away. It wasn't the perfection I wanted or even that similar to its comp titles, but I loved it and can't wait for book two!

Was this review helpful?

I’m surprised this isn’t being marketed as young adult. The characters in the beginning felt immature. I didn’t find myself invested in them. I ended up stopping at 10%.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to love this book so bad, y'all. I'm a HUGE fan of Claire Legrand's! The Empirium Trilogy is literally one of my all time favorite fantasy trilogies and I regularly find myself itching to re-read the series again to relive that amazing story. Of course when I had the chance to read an arc of her upcoming adult fantasy debut I jumped at the opportunity and was so excited to start! I did like the book, but I didn't fall in love with it like I hoped I would.

First things first, Claire's prose is fantastic (as usual!). You are transported into the lush language and the author's keen ability to describe the surroundings in stunning clarity. The world building is light in the beginning and the information you need to understand the mist and Gallinor is slowly introduced. I appreciated that! And the romance? It was easily my favorite part of this book. The attraction between Talan and Gemma was apparent from their first gaze and they tumbled hopelessly in love thereafter. The spicy scenes were also written beautifully. I want to mention that this is a very sex positive book despite the fact that it's a regency era!

However- I thought the plot was a little too all over the place. It's hard to put into words and I hope I'm making sense here: how the book starts and finishes, it feels like it's two different novels. I think it's primarily due to the characters, since this is one of the more character driven plots I've read. For example, Gemma's objectives were constantly changing. It seemed never ending! What did she want, truly? I probably have a better grasp of it now that I finished the book, but throughout the reading journey I couldn't say for sure. It's not a development arc I'm fond of, it made me dislike Gemma just a little truth be told.

This book is also missing something that I've generally come to associate with Claire Legrand's work: diversity. I'm pretty sure there was only one character of color in this book! I was disappointed in that regard and I hope that by providing this in my review, this can be amended for future books in this series. I also want to mention that Gemma is bi-sexual and is disabled (chronic pain and anxiety), so that was great representation!

While I didn't love this book, I think I can say I like it just fine. It's an okay adventure with a really great romance. I wanted this to be a high stakes, fast paced plot to keep me on the edge of my seat- again, similar to what I experienced reading The Empirium Trilogy. I would still be interested in reading the rest of the books in this series as they come out though, perhaps now that I understand the vibe of this book I can appreciate the rest. I'll go ahead and pre-order this book anyway and maybe I'll re-read it upon release to see if my feelings change. Either way, I can confidently recommend this book to a specific sort of reader. Just because it wasn't my favorite doesn't mean it can't be yours!

Was this review helpful?

This was a pretty solid start to a new series from Claire Legrand! I devoured her Empirium trilogy (which I highly recommend for fans of YA/New Adult fantasy with dual timelines) and could not wait to begin the journey into the Middlemist with this book!

Crown of Ivy and Glass follows Gemma Ashbourne, the youngest of three sisters and member of an Anointed family tasked with protecting Gallinor against evil magic. Due to her sickness around Magic and being the only family member not in possession of some magic herself, Gemma’s sister Mara is taken in her place at a young age by the Warden to become a Rose warrior, one of the protectors of the Middlemist. For years, Gemma grapples with the guilt she has carried that her sister was taken and not her, as tradition dictates. After a particularly harrowing attack while visiting Mara, Gemma decides to lift everyone’s spirits with a party, using the occasion to also serve as a distraction for the Rose warriors to do their protective work. At the party, Gemma meets Talan, a handsome stranger from another land, and embarks on a new journey of bargains, family feuds, lies, demons, magic, and romance.

Claire Legrand has such a unique way of weaving her stories together, but I found the pacing of this to be much slower than her previous fantasy books. There was also a lot going on and I kept losing track of the different story lines. And while I appreciated the realness of the characters, I often times found myself getting frustrated with Gemma’s lack of maturity. I wanted so much more from her character! I am hopeful that her growth will be more evident in books 2 and 3 of the series.

Overall, Crown of Ivy and Glass was not a bad start, but I have high hopes for the future books in the series.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the advanced electronic copy!

Was this review helpful?

Claire Legrand is back with her new stunning novel A CROWN OF IVY AND GLASS that is sure to knock readers off their feet. After reading THE EMPIRIUM TRILOGY years ago, this author immediately was put on my radar for insta-buying. This new book is nothing short of Legrand's usual stellar work, with wonderful world-building and amazing characters. Gemma is up there with my favorites Eliana and Rielle, she truly was such an outstanding main lead. This book will absolutely be perfect for fantasy lovers and I am definitely ready to see what she writes next!

Was this review helpful?

A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire Legrand is a fantastic fantasy novel that I would highly recommend. From the moment I started reading, I was drawn into the world of magic and mystery. The characters are well-developed and the story is fast-paced and exciting. The plot is full of twists and turns and the writing style is captivating and engaging. I found myself eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. I loved the way the story explored themes of friendship, loyalty

Was this review helpful?

Make sure you check trigger warnings before reading this book. There was a large amount of self deprecating behaviors and suicide. I wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t get past a few things. Gemma, the main character, has a strong belief and personality externally but then her inner dialogue is weak and repetitive. I kept expecting her to have more character development than she did. Talan is a weak and unimpressive main male character. He has zero backbone and is just constantly apologizing for the crappy things he’s done and Gemma just constantly takes him back. It was exhausting watching their relationship unfold. With this being the first book in a series I do understand that the character development and plot should progress throughout the next books which does leave me hopeful that the next book will be better. There were several holes in the story which hopefully gets addressed. I’m not ready to write this series off just yet based on this first book but the second book needs to be better developed. Overall, I give this book 2.5⭐️.

Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and the author for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

2.5/5 Stars (I don’t even want to give it a star rating but if I had to this is it)

2/5 Spice

TW : Sexual Content, Violence, Manipulation

Rep : Chronic Pain and Anxiety & Panic Attacks

Thank you to Sourcebooks Cascablanca and Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I will start this review of by saying I can’t even describe what I feel about this book at this current moment. I'm writing this review on December 5th after finishing the book and I can’t decide if I liked the book or if I despise it for existing. I early on in the book was worried about how the chronic pain was going to be represented and I do still worry slightly about there eventually being a magic cure, in this book at least the chronic pain doesn’t go away and I felt like it honestly was well done as someone who suffers from chronic pain.

I grabbed this arc not realizing it was the author of Furyborn and I don’t know if that would have changed how I went into the book but after reading this I understand why Furyborn is hit or miss. This book honestly was all over the place for plot, it felt like too much and not enough all at once and constantly more stuff was being introduced. I am giving it some slack as it is book 1 in the series but still there was one point about 70% in I messaged my friend and told them I had no idea what the main plot line was which is a problem. Overall I think I mostly enjoyed it but the ending pissed me off. I won’t spoil it but I am legit questioning if I missed something because the ending made zero sense to me. Typically this is where I would include a tiny paragraph about what the book is about but I don’t think I can do that in a way that would make sense.

I liked the world and magic system and I might read book 2 depending on if I can get pass my disappointment at the end of this book. The characters didn’t super stand out against other high fantasy characters but they were still fun to follow and I wanna learn more about the FMC’s sisters as they will be interesting. This book was sitting at about a solid 3 to 3.5 stars until the ending because it was fun and interesting but also felt a bit long as it is 560 pages which I am not used to anymore. I still think that some people might love this book and I am excited that they love it because don’t get me wrong I love the main couple so far, I think they are absolutely adorable.

I don’t know if I would recommend this book honestly but maybe give it a try if you like fantasy mixed with a regency like era and magic.

Was this review helpful?

As someone who struggles with chronic pain, this book made me feel seen. Also, I just love the characters. Legrand continues to craft gorgeous (and steamy) fantasy. I can’t wait to read more.

Was this review helpful?

Claire Legrand has done it again. I just love it when one of my most anticipated read exceeds my overtly hyped expectations that I have already had. And I starkly loved it. This book seemed like the building block of the entire series and the characters. I had fun reading about the world and noticing every actions of the main characters. I’m hooked on this series, simply can’t wait enough to read the next one already.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publisher, author and NetGalley for a free arc in exchange for an honest review… this was so sad for me, but I honestly couldn’t connect with or like the main character. And this basically ruined the entire book for me. I found her very insufferable, but I think a lot of people will absolutely love this book. I might just not be the right target audience for this book or author!

Was this review helpful?

I have just finished reading this amazing Fantasy Novel. It has some great world building and I will love to read more of this authors work in the future. It's a great epic romance, a lot happens in the novel. However it is not perfect, sometimes the main character Gemma is super annoying and spoiled. I did love the twists in the novel, and I wanted to read more on the main characters sisters Farrin and Mara. I believe it will be interesting to see where the author takes the series as I believe the world she has created needs many more books over all it a 4 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

There are few authors who can write quite so beautifully as Claire Legrand. The attention to detail in her word choice is something incredibly special, and it's on full display in her adult debut. It was easy to get sucked right into the luscious, expansive world of Edyn, easier still to get pulled into each emotion. And with fragrances sprinkled throughout the prose, the became a truly scentsory experience. I adored the side characters and the support they each offered Gemma through her bouts of panic and chronic pain. This was mental illness rep at its best, not seeking to erase, but rather to move through it. A beautiful, captivating blend of regency vibes and high fantasy with a romance for the ages. And while the pacing felt a bit stop and go, A COURT OF IVY AND GLASS set the stage for the trilogy beautifully (most excited for Farrin's book).

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! There are so many layers to this story, it's a little hard to wrap my head around it.
The beginning is fun, flirty, magical, and a little sad. They're hunting demons and falling in love.
Then  it's intense and a little scary.  No sooner do you get the answers to the big mystery, that another bigger mystery comes up.
Next, it's a run for their lives from an unfathomable evil. With the love of family and new friends, they escape to fight another day.
That ending kinda wrecked me. I was hoping for.... no, I won't spoil it for you, but now I'm even more eager for book 2.

Was this review helpful?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟💫 4.75

First, a huge thank you to Sophie from Sourcebooks International for sending me this ARC. I´ll treasure it forever.

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬 & 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐬:
Adult fantasy, dark magic, folktales, romance, high society, panic attacks, chronic pain and illnesses, passion with a good level of spice, mystery, gods and magical creatures, fae, demons, shapeshifting female warriors, necromancer, elemental magic


A Crown of Ivy and Glass, the first book in the Middlemist trilogy, is a story about romance, dark magic, costuming and architecture, dance, music, monsters and myths. A story about sisterhood, passionate lovers and this is only the beginning.
Each book will follow one of the Ashbourne sisters, and in this first novel, we are introduced to Lady Imogen “Gemma” Ashbourne…. a young, rich and beautiful woman of a family, which was Anointed by the gods and blessed with incredible abilities, she seemingly has it all.
But underneath every woman´s her glittering façade, Gemma is deeply sad. Years ago, her sister Mara was taken to the Middlemist to be a guard of the priory of Rosewarren, where she and other shapeshifting female warriors protect the human realm of Edyn against treacherous magic. Her mother abandoned the family. Her father and eldest sister, Farrin, often forget that she exists since they are embroiled in a deadly blood feud with the mysterious Bask family from the North. A feud brought to life long ago by a demon called The Man with the Three-Eyed Crown. And worst of all, Gemma is the only Ashbourne to possess no magic. Instead, her body fights it like poison. Constantly ill, aching with loneliness, Gemma craves love and yearns to belong.
But that all changes when she meets Talan d'Astier. A charming, sarcastic and criminally handsome man, with a mysterious family history. His family destroyed themselves, seduced by a demon, and Talan, the only survivor, is determined to redeem their honour. Intrigued and enchanted, Gemma proposes a bargain: She'll help Talan navigate high society if he helps her destroy the Basks by killing the demon.
Whilst attacks on the Middlemist are increasing, the plot against the Basks quickly spirals out of control, something immense and terrifying is awakening in Gemma, drawing her inexorably toward Talan in an all-consuming passion that could destroy her—or show her the true strength of her power at last.

Personal thoughts:

My first initial reaction to this book was that it is the perfect blend between an English high society period drama and an epic fantasy novel.
It has the lightness and shimmer of a high society balls hosted at a beautiful mansion in the countryside that is covered in ivy from the out and inside. It has the softness of a silk gown and the magical aesthetic of a pre-Raphaelite painting. But it also has the weight and eerie darkness you would hope for in a fantasy world. The danger and mystery. Therefore, I absolutely adored the world building around the Mist, the Rosewarren, the history, folktales, and gods, since it was so characteristically “Claire Legrand” with its rich details, its depth and extended even further once the Fae and demons were introduced.

The romance. The romance was about passion, desire, and at one point reminded me of the rain scene in Pride & Prejudice. Nevertheless, it was also about falling in and out of trust, about wondering whether they are soulmates or if he´s just really good at manipulating.I throroughly enjoyed the dynamic between Gemma and Talan, however I was not completly convinced by how quickly they fell in love.

Along with that, Claire Legrand was once again able to create a story that was carried by an incredibly complex main character. Gemma is a woman, who not only suffers from chronic pain and illness, but also from sadness, loneliness and self-hatred that is so deeply rooted inside her. But that is not what defines her in the end. It’s her strength, resilience and emotional journey throughout the book, which we get to accompany her through both the glittering highs and the ink black lows.

I think this book isn´t going to be everyone’s taste and many will make too early decisions and judgements, however I hope that more people will fall in love with this book as much as I did. I cannot wait for this book to come out next year and for everyone to dive into this world and story. Meanwhile, I´m going to sit here in misery wondering how many human sacrifices it will take to get an ARC of the second book too.
Lastly, and on a very unprofessional note: If my “Farrin and the Queen are secretly lovers and Farrin´s book will have a sapphic romance” theory turns out to be true…. I WILL SCREAM SO LOUD IT WILL BE HEARD ACROSS THE ENTIRE PLANET!!

Was this review helpful?


The Characters:

I loved Gemma’s character from the very first pages. She’s a very feisty, cunning, courageous, girl who is tough and loving but also struggles with selflessness and ADORES beautiful dresses. I loved the representation for her panic attacks.

Talon was so deeply caring and unbelievably sweet but the whole time there was just SOMETHING about him that made you wonder what he was hiding. I had guessed that particular plot twist but thats mainly because I love a secretly “evil” love interest. However, its very clear that Talon isn’t evil at all and he truly loves Gemma. I adore how his power helped her with her pain. They are so unbelievably cute together.

In regards to the side characters, I loved them all! The sisters were so complex and interesting. None of the characters got blurred together. Claire truly took time in crafting them all into their own unique person.

Alastrina is a very interesting character as well. I love the contrast of her obvious disdain to the small moment of her pulling Gemma to safety towards the end. Claire is incredible at crafting such complex characters. I love how Ryder helps Gemma with her panic. I love the Villa for becoming so deeply devoted to her. Lulath is my favorite of them all but I absolutely love Nesset and Phaidra. Also Queen Yvaine is so mysterious and I am beyond interested in her character.

The World:

Okay, this world is beautiful and MASSIVE! There are so many parts to it and so many unanswered questions still. I am so excited to learn more about it and its magic. God only knows how many creatures live in this world and the Olden country! I’m ready to see them all!

The Writing:

The writing was, as always, perfect. Claire is one of those authors that you read and immediately know she’s the Chosen One. I’ve read most of her books and I have to say, I have never found an issue with her authorial voice or writing style. Her descriptions are so specific and beautiful. Her dialogue is always interesting, snappy, and true to the characters. And she creates amazing tense, terrifying, and epic fight scenes!

The way Claire describes the faerie and their magic is so beautiful and perfectly whimsical. She really captured the fae essence. I love how it is so individual to the other types of magic and parts of the world that they all stand out on their own.

Thought Dump:

It is so clear that Ryder LOVES Farrin and I have been dying to know if he was the boy who saved her from the fire all those years ago! I am VERY exciting for the enemies-to-lovers action between Farrin and Ryder, like, yes please!

Not the way Phaidra’s death had me tearing up. We barely knew the Villa and yet I love Lulath, Phaidra, and Nesset with my whole heart. “Free.”

What WAS that climax? It was so epic! The way Claire describes fight scenes, the way she described the power battle between Gemma, Kilraith and Talon?! And my goodness I was a wreck when Farrin and Mara joined AND ESPECIALLY when the Basks were there to help!! Oh my what an amazing climax. Claire is truly so spectacularly talented. I can’t even describe how amazing this entire climax was.

I am a sucker for a love interest being under control by an evil being who then attacks the MC. Don’t ask me why but its my favorite thing ever and the way Claire did that with Talon was so unique and horrifying but also so cool at the same time. I loved it so much.

That ending was so beyond sweet. I loved Gemma and Talon’s last night together and the sheer beauty of that last page, wow.

“Take care of her for me. Love her as she deserves.”


Overall, I have so many thoughts and feelings that I could never possibly express. This book was truly an emotional rollercoaster. I was laughing, raging, and crying. Furyborn is probably my favorite trilogy ever and so I was nervous about this book, but it is right up there with Furyborn. I am so excited to see the direction she takes with book two and I absolutely need the sequel ASAP! I don’t ever want to leave these characters or this world!

I highly recommend this for anyone who loves a good mash up of Bridgerton and ACOTAR with writing that is ten times superior to both. The magic, the world, the characters, the writing, the rep, were all on point!

Was this review helpful?