Will Telaine's mission risk more than just her life? . . . Agent of the Crown by Melissa McShane (Review & Giveaway)

This is the third book in this series I have read. Here are my reviews of the first two books: Servant of the Crown and Rider of the Crown. Check out my review and enter the giveaway for Agent of the Crown below...

Agent of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontane #3)Agent of the Crown
(The Crown of Tremontane #3)
by Melissa McShane
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 410 Pages
February 25th 2016 by Night Harbor Publishing

Summary

Telaine North Hunter, Princess of Tremontane, is beautiful, spoiled, flirtatious, and the center of fashionable society throughout Tremontane.

She’s also a spy.

As an agent of the Crown, Telaine uses her high society connections to gather information for her uncle, King Jeffrey. But when an overheard conversation reveals a sinister plot centered on the Baron of Steepridge, Telaine must pose as a common Deviser in the distant frontier town of Longbourne to uncover the truth.

Fresh from her glittering world of the palace, Telaine is completely unprepared for rural life. She must conceal her identity not only from the townspeople, but from the suspicious, corrupt Baron as well. Her only assistance comes from Mistress Weaver, a local woman with an agenda of her own, and Ben, the handsome young blacksmith who reaches out a hand of friendship when others turn away.

As the days pass with no success in sight, Telaine’s pretense becomes real, and her growing attachment to Longbourne and its people comes into conflict with her mission. She can’t keep up the lie forever, but when the truth comes out, will she face it as the Princess—or as an agent of the Crown?

 
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My Review

AGENT OF THE CROWN is the third book set in the fantasy world of Tremontane, where magic exists as part of the land, but most do not bare it, and only some can feel it. Telaine is one of those who can feel the magic and pull from it to fuel "devices" as she works as a Deviser, which comes in handy as a spy for the King, or an Agent of the Crown, as his spies are called. The story took more of a steampunk feel than the others as Telaine works, repairs, and creates. It was a very enjoyable aspect of the story, as was getting to know these new characters, being reacquainted with characters from former books, the tension of espionage and war, and the sweet romance. Another enjoyable release from this author for fantasy or steampunk fans.

What is nice about this series is that each book jumps forward in time, focusing on different branches of the North family. Telaine is two generations down from those who were the focus of the first story. There are some characters and references to those prior family branches and their stories, but each book could also be read as a standalone. My reading experience was more enjoyable and meaningful because I'd read the other books, but it wasn't necessary to follow the story.

I loved these characters! I loved Telaine with her intellect, talent, bravery, and sweetness. She's a different type of character than the previous heroines. More quiet and reserved with a different kind of strength, but just as strong in her own way. I loved her lines towards the end and admired her resolve. I loved getting to know Mistress Weaver and Ben Garrett, as well as all the townspeople. I loved the glimpses of King Jeffrey and his family. I loved the solidness of Ben. He felt so sure and steady and acted honorably. The scenes between Telaine and him were wonderful.

The pacing for this story was definitely more relaxed than the previous two books. The beginning of the story was fun and I loved how the characters were introduced and how the plot moved. About half way through things felt slightly stagnant when Telaine hadn't found what she was looking for and was playing a waiting game. Then she figures things out, but must wait. The romance had already somewhat resolved as well so there wasn't a lot of tension there. It made things drag slightly. However, then things really pick up. And I mean really. I literally didn't put the book down all through the last third. There was tension and a climax and heartbreak... There is some serious heartbreak. The emotions towards the end pulled me in and made me really fall for these characters even more.

The author delves into some tough subjects. Subjects that really appalled and disgusted me, especially dealing with children being abused. It made parts of the story uncomfortable and not enjoyable, but also gave background to the situation and characters. Thank goodness the details involving the children weren't ever actually witnessed or descriptive, but more just suggested to.

The book also included a short novelette, almost like an extra epilogue, involving the heroine from Servant of the Crown. It was really sweet and thoroughly enjoyable. I'm curious who will be the focus of the next book. I'm not ready to leave the land of Tremontane and the North family, so hopefully the author isn't either.

Content: Some adult subject matter, violence (including towards children and almost rape), gay references, and innuendo.

Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, which did not affect my review in any way.

Other Books in the Series

Servant of the Crown
Servant of the Crown
(The Crown of Tremontane #1)
by Melissa McShane
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 405 Pages
July 15th 2015 by Night Harbor Publishing

Summary

Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.

When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.

Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

You can see my review here.

   
(Affiliate links included.)

Rider of the CrownRider of the Crown
(The Crown of Tremontane #2)
by Melissa McShane
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 385 Pages
October 22nd 2015 by Night Harbor Publishing

Summary

Imogen, warrior of the Kirkellan tribes, has never wanted to be anything else. But when the long war between the Kirkellan and the country of Ruskald ends, the terms of the peace treaty require Imogen to be married to the vicious King of Ruskald for five years. Confined to his freezing city, forbidden to fight, Imogen sees nothing but darkness in her future—until the arrival of Elspeth North, heir to the Crown of Tremontane, brings three countries to the brink of war and sets Imogen free.

Now, sent to be the ambassador of her people to Tremontane, Imogen faces new challenges as she struggles to maintain her warrior’s identity in a world of glittering ballrooms and foreign customs. As a diplomat, Imogen discovers skills she never knew she had—as well as a forbidden attraction to the handsome and charismatic King Jeffrey North. But when war once again threatens not only Tremontane but her own people, Imogen must decide: is she the warrior, the diplomat—or something greater?

You can see my review here.

   
(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Melissa McShane

Melissa McShane grew up a nomad, following her family all over the United States, and ended up living in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three very needy cats. Her love of reading was always a constant during those uncertain years, and her love of writing grew out of that. She wrote reviews and critical essays for many years before turning to fiction, and was surprised at how much she liked it. She loves the fantasy genre and how it stretches the imagination.


Giveaway

Agent of the Crown by Melissa McShane (winner's choice of print or ebook)
Open internationally
Ends March 12th

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