Kate Callaghan’s ‚Crowned A Traitor‘ is literally a hell of a book: its main protagonist Klara is none other than Lucifer’s daughter who is destined to be his heir as ruler of Hell. There are just two problems. Klara really, really doesn’t want to rule Hell. And while this book starts off really strong, the ending is completely unsatisfying because it’s so exaggeratedly surprising. The big revelations appear so much out of nowhere that it feels like cheating – therefore, only three stars.
Of course, there’s a lot of really good stuff happening here. Good stuff in worldbuilding, characters and plot – right until the big battle everything is very much okay and on the way to a four-star rating. The worldbuilding is truly original and fascinating: Callaghan’s world consists of the realms of the Fae and of Hell, and of Malum which is pretty much in between these two extremes. This world is populated all sorts of creatures, demons and beings. We also meet many familiar faces from Greek mythology, including the ferryman Kharon and the Hounds which are basically Cerberus multiplied. All very satisfying indeed.
Same goes for the characters: Klara is a great character to follow: truly good at heart, but still a bit of an asshole – after all, she’s the Heir to Hell, and the Heir to Hell can’t sit around and collect daisies. Her travelling companions (Yes, there is a journey @Team Journey-Trope) are also interesting: a couple of Lycaons/Werewolves, a dead warlock, her love interest. A nice mixture, and there are also a lot of well-written villains around – naturally, remember, this is about Lucifer and his spawn.
The plot takes it slow: everything comes together nicely for most of it. Klara’s motivations and goals are established, we are liking her, yes, fine, of course a catastrophe happens…for 70 percent this is all excellent. Until it isn’t. Until suddenly, things take a turn for the worse in terms of what’s happening.
Regarding what’s happening: gaaaah! (screams like a furious cave troll from Moria) Why? This started off so good! But then there’s the big confrontation and it’s terribly written! People do all sorts of horror to each other, and the whole way it’s resolved is just so unsatisfying- because I didn’t see it coming! This book in a single gif:
Surprising your readers is usually a good thing – I’m a sucker for plot twists and sudden character deaths, don’t judge me – but you have to leave hints for it, otherwise it feels, as I said, like cheating. That’s what happened here. And as the ending was disappointing, I was left with the same feeling. And that’s really frustrating, because most of this was really, really good. I dunno what happened, whether the author desperately had to keep a deadline or there was actually someone threatening her puppies (or kittens, if you’re a cat person), but it was so unnecessarily rushed! There were way too many typos and the plot kept somersaulting around itself till my head was spinning (sighs).
So. that’s why it gets only three stars. Highly recommend the first three quarters of it, hate the last quarter. Because it left unsatisfied. I don’t like to be unsatisfied. Will still read the sequel, if there is one.
Thanks to the author and Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.