A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire Legrand has been one of my most anticipated reads for this year and it truly did not disappoint.
Gemma has been burdened her whole life with a frailty that stems from close proximity to any kind of magic. She has suffered from terrible health her entire life, and on top of the health concerns, she lives in a world where magic makes the world go round, and is a sign of status. Meanwhile Gemma cannot stand to be around it and no one knows why. As a result of this affliction, Gemma’s view on life is to live as freely as possible because she doesn’t know how much time she has. This makes for a very brazen and bold attitude that I quite enjoyed, particularly when she flustered those around herself with her lack of filter.
It’s Gemma’s illness that has her teaming up with Talan, who is looking for a way to improve his family’s name in society, and Gemma and her family are just the people to assist with this. His end of the bargain is to help her end the feud between her family and the Bask’s, which he believes is caused by a demon, which could also be the reason behind her unexplainable illness. Together they try to find clues to seek out this demon, while getting to know each other better.
Talan was such a highlight throughout this book. He is absolutely adorable and yet steamy as all heck at the same time. Right from the start he was so supportive of Gemma, seeing the strength in her and seeing beyond her weaknesses where others saw her always as a burden. The way he viewed her was so pure, and reading the scenes where he made his feelings on how he saw her clear just made me love him more and more.
Gemma is more complicated. She’s adventurous, stubborn and determined to live life to its fullest despite her limiting illness. I honestly loved how much of a free spirit she was. She refused to let anything hold her back from being herself and achieving her desires, though she was far from a wholly admirable individual. She’s also selfish, and entitled as a high lady of standing might be expected to be. But her selfishness can also be understood, and it’s something that I found made her human, because really, in her situation, who wouldn’t do anything they possibly could to find a cure for a debilitating disease that made her extremely weak and could very well result in a young death. So though she does some questionable things in pursuit of help overcoming her bodies aversion to magic, it’s hard not to understand where she was coming from at times.
And her growth! I was so impressed with how much development her character went through from start to finish. In the beginning she just seemed like this shallow, if beautiful, rich girl, only worried about herself, but she becomes so much more than this throughout the course of the novel. What I loved most was that she went from this self involved woman, to actually thinking about and attempting to help those she cared about, and not just herself.
I feel like so much happened in this book. In a good way. It just covered so much more ground than I feel I was expecting despite it being a relatively thick book. I definitely enjoyed how much happened and it took me by surprise because it never felt like there was too much fluff, or filler with nothing really happening.
The ending sums things up pretty nicely without leaving any huge cliffhangers, but I still cannot wait for the second book in the Middlemist series to come out. I’m so hooked by both the story and the characters and I just want to get my hands on the next immediately.