Coronets and Steel

( 25 )

Overview

Aurelia Kim Murray is a California girl who wishes there were more to life. And there is. For Kim is part of a royal family from a tiny eastern European country, and soon finds herself swept up in the romance and mystery she always wanted-and more, because there's something very different about her bloodline and the magical nature of her ancestral country.

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Coronets and Steel

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Overview

Aurelia Kim Murray is a California girl who wishes there were more to life. And there is. For Kim is part of a royal family from a tiny eastern European country, and soon finds herself swept up in the romance and mystery she always wanted-and more, because there's something very different about her bloodline and the magical nature of her ancestral country.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
History aficionado and champion fencer Aurelia Kim Murray investigates her taciturn grandmother's European roots and her own identity in Smith's sweeping, feminist Ruritanian romance. Kidnapped by Prince Alec Ysvorod, who mistakes her for his not-much-beloved fiancée, the slightly-too-perfect Kim is thrust into the complicated and potentially deadly politics of a small, haunted kingdom threatened equally by its neighbors as by its scheming ruling families. Smith (Inda) engages readers with humor and rapier-sharp wit, and extensive details from Central European history (right down to a 19th-century method of stamping coins) make the nation of Dobrenica terrifically real. Though readers who prefer lightning-paced books may stumble over long sections of expository conversations, a lively heroine, mysterious ghosts, and a complex and intricate plot always get the action going again. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Aurelia Kim Murray, a graduate student descended from a family who fled Austria before World War II, travels to Europe to investigate the mystery of her heritage, sparked by the fevered behest of her beloved and mysteriously ill grandmother. In Vienna, Kim encounters her first "ghost" along with an attractive stranger who seems to follow her and who embroils her in the dangerous politics of a country she never knew existed. In her latest novel, Smith (Inda; Treason's Shore) pits a modern-day woman against the intrigues of a past century. VERDICT Recalling The Count of Monte Cristo and The Prisoner of Zenda in plot and theme, this cross-world fantasy/romance should appeal to YA and adult fans of the genre.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756406851
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 297,658
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sherwood Smith started making books out of paper towels at age six. In between stories, she studied and traveled in Europe, got a Masters degree in history, and now lives in Southern California with her spouse, two kids, and two dogs. She’s worked in jobs ranging from counter work in a smoky harbor bar to the film industry. Writing books is what she loves best. She’s the author of the high fantasy History of Sartorias-deles series as well as the modern-day fantasy adventures of Kim Murray in Coronets and Steel. Learn more at www.sherwoodsmith.net.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2010

    Awesome and fun read

    I finished Coronets and Steel last night at 1 am, and the only reason I didn't finish it the night before (really, earlier that day) at 5 am was that I had had a really long day and my eyes were fuzzing out on me. As I paged toward the end I glared in horror at the meager five pages awaiting my greedy eyes. What do you mean there were only a few pages left? The story couldn't be over, could it? Luckily, there will be a sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting.

    Coronets and Steel begins with a Kim, a new college graduate, searching through Europe for traces of her family history*. A vague memory of her mother's and a couple theater tickets have brought her to Vienna, where she resumes her quest in a genealogy office.

    Leaving the office, she sees her first ghost, though she doesn't know it at the time, who leads her into an encounter with a man who swears he knows her. But she's never met him in her life. He's handsome though, and polite, so she gets a drink with him...and ends up waking up on a train. And promptly escapes out the window.

    A zigzag chase ensues with the handsome Alec finally apologizing and explaining his mistake. Turns out she looks just like someone named Ruli, who also happens to be Kim's cousin. A bit of Kim's family history is explained and she ends up traveling to Dobrenica, a small country in the Carpathian Mountains, where her grandmother was born. Where her grandmother was a princess.

    I admit to being pleasantly surprised with much of this plotline. You're not going to get Princess Diaries here. There are echoes of Once a Princess and Twice a Prince in the plotline, as well as Crown Duel, but Kim is a different character than either of those two heroines. She's more serious than Sasha and more experienced and laid back than Mel. Echoes of Sasha resounded in her speaking style, at least at first, but both of the characters are from LA, so I was able to write it off as nothing more than dialect; as the story progresses and you learn more about Kim, the echoes of Sasha disappear.

    I was frustrated at a few points with Kim's apparent denseness with the situation. She often assumes the best of people, which gets her into trouble in a few situations, but her escapes from those situations are clever and exciting to read. Also, her saving grace, Kim admits to her denseness when shown the real motivations behind such situations. That helps make Kim's denseness a character trait, not a plot device.

    At one point I remember thinking "if she gets kidnapped here I will be disappointed, because I can so see it coming" and she did get kidnapped. Almost. My irritation with being right was swept away by her ingenious escape and the resulting piece of good luck it brings.

    At no point was the story so predicable that I could see the ending. A few scenes were expected, but once the story got into full flow I couldn't figure out any of the turns. The few guesses I had turned out to be wrong.

    I like Kim. She's practical, funny, serious, and learns how to think on her feet.

    The ending leaves quite a few hanging threads and questions to be answered. Not to mention my panicked reading of the last chapter while thinking "there'sgottabemorethere'sgottabemore" and the shriek of "Nooooooooo!" when I got to the last page. But did I mention there's going to be a sequel? I can't wait.

    *If you're wondering, this is not a Sartorias-deles story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 14, 2014

    check it out

    must read from the start and not backwards like i did

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    The mountain is

    Huge

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2011

    There's gotta be. more!!!!

    This book has you going from the first chapter! An easy read that you just can't put down. Caution, there is a serious cliff hanger.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 11, 2010

    Awesome and fun story

    I finished it last night at 1 am, and the only reason I didn't finish it the night before (really, earlier that day) at 5 am was that I had had a really long day and my eyes were fuzzing out on me. As I paged toward the end I glared in horror at the meager five pages awaiting my greedy eyes. What do you mean there were only a few pages left? The story couldn't be over, could it? Luckily, there will be a sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting.

    Coronets and Steel begins with a Kim, a new college graduate, searching through Europe for traces of her family history*. A vague memory of her mother's and a couple theater tickets have brought her to Vienna, where she resumes her quest in a genealogy office. Leaving the office, she sees her first ghost, though she doesn't know it at the time, who leads her into an encounter with a man who swears he knows her. But she's never met him in her life.

    He's handsome though, and polite, so she gets a drink with him...and ends up waking up on a train. And promptly escapes out the window.

    A zigzag chase ensues with the handsome Alec finally apologizing and explaining his mistake. Turns out she looks just like someone named Ruli, who also happens to be Kim's cousin. A bit of Kim's family history is explained and she ends up traveling to Dobrenica, a small country in the Carpathian Mountains, where her grandmother was born. Where her grandmother was a princess.

    I admit to being pleasantly surprised with much of this plotline. You're not going to get Princess Diaries here. There are echoes of Once a Princess and Twice a Prince in the plotline, as well as Crown Duel, but Kim is a different character than either of those two heroines. She's more serious than Sasha and more experienced and laid back than Mel. Echoes of Sasha resounded in her speaking style, at least at first, but both of the characters are from LA, so I was able to write it off as nothing more than dialect; as the story progresses and you learn more about Kim, the echoes of Sasha disappear.

    I was frustrated at a few points with Kim's apparent denseness with the situation. She often assumes the best of people, which gets her into trouble in a few situations, but her escapes from those situations are clever and exciting to read. Also, her saving grace, Kim admits to her denseness when shown the real motivations behind such situations. That helps make Kim's denseness a character trait, not a plot device.

    At one point I remember thinking "if she gets kidnapped here I will be disappointed, because I can so see it coming" and she did get kidnapped. Almost. My irritation with being right was swept away by her ingenious escape and the resulting piece of good luck it brings.

    At no point was the story so predicable that I could see the ending. A few scenes were expected, but once the story got into full flow I couldn't figure out any of the turns. The few guesses I had turned out to be wrong.

    I like Kim. She's practical, funny, serious, and learns how to think on her feet.

    The ending leaves quite a few hanging threads and questions to be answered. Not to mention my panicked reading of the last chapter while thinking "there'sgottabemorethere'sgottabemore" and the shriek of "Nooooooooo!" when I got to the last page. But did I mention there's going to be a sequel? I can't wait.




    *If you're wondering, this is not a Sartorias-deles story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    this is an exciting at times jocular but always action-packed thriller

    Bored Los Angeles graduate student Kim Murray's French only speaking grandmere is ill. As grandmere recovers from the debilitating fever, she remains mute; but encourages strongly for Kim to travel to Europe to learn her family's genealogy. Before leaving the States, her grandma gave her minuscule bits of information about their heritage, but refuses to go into any depth.

    After Paris proved fruitless, she reaches Vienna lacking information as to where to start so she visits a genealogist. Kim goes on a tour when she notices what looks like a ghost. Soon after that, a suave male treats her like an old friend he has not seen in a while although she swears she never met this sophisticate before. She and this Alec go for drinks, but when she awakens she is on a train though she is unsure how she got on it. However, the biggest shock of all is to learn she looks so much like missing cousin Ruli, they could have been twins. Alec wants her to pretend to be Ruli so he can find her.

    Told by the third generation American, this is an exciting at times jocular but always action-packed thriller as Kim digs up her roots in Europe. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the heroine's European adventure as she is 200 proof American believing she can do anything while also being facetious and irreverent when she is drugged, abducted, and confronting family ghosts. This is her tale as the rest of the cast supports her escapades as a young brash American trashes her kidnapper and taunts the spirits that haunt her and her family.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 30, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2010

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    Posted November 6, 2011

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    Posted October 14, 2011

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    Posted September 12, 2010

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    Posted June 6, 2012

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    Posted July 22, 2013

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    Posted November 16, 2011

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    Posted September 24, 2010

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    Posted February 15, 2011

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    Posted September 20, 2010

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    Posted September 25, 2010

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    Posted January 17, 2011

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    Posted April 6, 2011

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