Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
“He was going to burn them.
He was going to burn them alive.
He could do it. He would do it. He must do it. This was his destiny now as the Empire's monster. And what good was a monster if it could not be made useful for killing?”
Long before the last Windwalker embraced her powers, and the Emperor Solaris conquered the North, a golden prince decided to search for a pirate's hidden treasure. In this adventure he was not alone; an ambitious lord the West, the voice of reason, followed him, and so did the Crown's dog, a powerful Firebearer nearly maddened by grief and guilt. A murderer. But their quest was cut short because no one was willing to talk about the infamous pirate who hoarded the treasure - a pirate that supposedly cast a terrible curse - and because a gruesome murder happened. The prince, the lord and the murderer swore to avenge the victim. Little did they know, that the crime and the treasure hunt were deeply connected. And that their summer adventures would bind them for life.
“Go to the coast, they said. It'll be fun to hunt for lost pirate treasure, they said.”
The Crown's Dog takes place a few years before the events of Air Awakens (one of my most beloved book series), shedding light on Jax's insanity and the formation of the mighty Golden Guard, led by Prince Baldair.
If you've read Air Awakens, be prepared for a bittersweet trip down memory lane. You will witness firsthand the sorrow that ravaged Jax's sanity after the horrors of his past, and his inability to come to terms with it, or to forgive himself. The mad grin on his face, the one that hides all the ugly things he keeps inside, appeared for the first time when he, Baldair and Erion decided to search for gold and glory, but nothing went as planned. You will also witness a young Baldair, bold, reckless and carefree, whose only concern was how to antagonize his brother, kept in line only by Erion, the reasonable one who was striving to gain political advantage, but also had a good heart and unwavering loyalty towards his prince. The pirate adventure of the original members of the Golden Guard is told by dual POVs, Jax and Erion's, and is infused with mystery, secrets, hilarious banters and friendship, the kind that overlooks past mistakes and flaws and stays strong and true, no matter what.
If you haven't read Air Awakens, The Crown's Dog is the perfect opportunity to dive into Elise Kova's spectacular world, with its three-dimensional characters, the magic you can taste and the action that makes your heart beat wildly in your chest. You will meet three endearing young men who will be your guide to secret passages and alcoves, to debauchery and fun.
The Crown's Dog was a fun ride, but it also brought to the surface a truth I subconsciously knew the past year. I miss these characters. I miss Aldrick, whose appearance and the tension between him and his brother took me back to the first Air Awakens books (and made me squeal), I miss Jax, and Baldair. I miss the rich world of Solaris, its politics and magic system, and this nostalgia settled in my heart more severely than ever. But that is an author's highest accomplishment, right? The ability to leave their impact on your life, even after you finish their works.
With The Crown's Dog that yearning was deeply satisfied, and I can't wait to read Baldair and Raylynn's story!