Review: Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh

Crown of Oblivion
Astrid is the surrogate for Princess Renya, which means she bears the physical punishment if Renya steps out of line. Astrid has no choice—she and her family are Outsiders, the lower class of people without magic and without citizenship.

But there is a way out of this life—competing in the deadly Race of Oblivion. To enter the race, an Outsider is administered the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memory clear of their past as they enter a new world with nothing to help them but a slip of paper bearing their name and the first clue. It’s not as simple as solving a puzzle, however—for a majority of the contestants, the race ends in death. But winning would mean not only freedom for Astrid, but citizenship and health care for her entire family. With a dying father to think of, Astrid is desperate to prevail.

Following my not-so-stellar review of Ivory and Bone, by Julie Eshbaugh, I was a little nervous to try anything else by this author. I'd felt that Ivory and Bone was a great premise but just extremely monotonous to read, but I'd hoped that was just down to the neolithic premise.

Unfortunately I had the exact same experience with Crown of Oblivion. I had expected 'Running Man' meets 'The Hunger Games' meets 'Proxy'. I got something that felt poorly paced and boring to read. Some scenes felt rushed and some scenes felt like they dragged.

I enjoyed the start of this book - the first 15% or so were based on Astrid's life as a surrogate in the palace and I enjoyed the palace politics and just as I started to understand that, I was dragged away into the race and this was just a matter of two characters going place to place, getting into confrontations and then moving on. I never felt a sense of urgency or excitement, and in the end I gave up.

I don't know if there's just something about this author that doesn't exactly 'spark joy' in me, but it's highly likely that I will not be trying any more of this author's books.
DND (at 70%)

Book released 12th November 2019 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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