Review: THE AWAKENING OF REN CROWN (Ren Crown #1) by Anne Zoelle

Ren Crown 1
Title: The Awakening of Ren Crown

Author: Anne Zoelle

Published: 9th July 2012 (Excelsine Press)

ebook, 461 pages

Genre: Fantasy, College Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 stars


“You had your first recorded death. Congratulations.”




In a world where layers of magic create worlds on top of our own, a girl desperately hunts an elixir for death. Through the hallowed halls—and criminal underworld—of the magic world’s most elite institution, time and glittering evil stalk her steps.

Animated creations, enchanted gadgets, and marvelous machines vie with the students themselves: mischievous engineers, diabolical tacticians, battle-hardened warriors, and terrifying roommates. But even amidst an eclectic and powerful student body, there is something off about Ren’s magic…and the wrong people have started to notice.

Where art comes alive and the bonds of destiny are forged, Ren will find the answer to who and what she is.

A secret inside a secret world.

Flowers bloomed beneath him spreading everywhere… He smiled. A glorious, lovely smile.

My Thoughts

I have to admit there were a lot of times were I was TOTALLY stumped by the magic system. It got to a point quite a few times where I closed the book and thought “I don’t actually have any idea of what is going on…” It doesn’t speak badly on the writing, but the world is just really complex and has a lot of components – still really fun though! 

Layered worlds. LOADS of different types of Mages. Protection Wards. Shields. Necromancy. YES to all. 

The world-building was totally overwhelming but ultimately really interesting! I think this mirrors Ren’s character pretty well, as she spends a majority of her time in this book research and learning, and trying to gain as much knowledge as possible in the short time she’s given herself.

At first Ren’s punishments actually made me really angry, I just wanted everyone to leave her alone. But when it turned into those community service hours, that was where things got good, and I could breathe again. You have to PUSH THROUGH

The last 1/3 of the book was really great, and was probably my favourite part. Loads of action, and finally consecutive scenes where I knew EXACTLY what was going on.

Flowers bloomed beneath him, spreading everywhere. The winning moment of the game. The feel of a perfect second extended forever.
He smiled. A glorious, lovely smile.

We’ve got to talk about some of the characters, which are literally 68% of the reason I continued to read this book after I got stuck so many times. Generally the friends that Ren makes that fit into her “social circle” with the exception of Constantine, are all great because in their own way they all provide different things for Ren, and speak as a testament of her character. 

My favourites: 

The first friend Ren makes after everything “goes down”. I love that Will and Ren are basically nerd twins  (ouch – “twin” – this still hurts) in their constant thirst for knowledge. 

MY GUY. Every guy like him in any book I have ever or will ever read is automatically MY GUY. Any guy who kind of needs a punch in the face a couple of times a week to remind them they’re not as hot shit as they think they are… MY GUY.

And finally Ren, Florence Crown herself – My new queen probably.
I wasn’t expecting to love her as much as I do. I thought that she would end up being a whiny protagonist who sits and lets things happen to her without pushing herself to change her situation, but boy was I wrong. She’s probably one of the best friends that you could ask for, and she goes for what she wants, no matter how much work needs to be put into it. I LOVE that she doesn’t immediately master every new skill she learns. PLUS she is always aware of and learning from her mistakes.

Although I did struggle with this book at times, the plot and characters kept me interested and I’ll definitely be picking up the 2nd book – The Protection of Ren Crown

In the meantime, I would live. With hope.


2 thoughts on “Review: THE AWAKENING OF REN CROWN (Ren Crown #1) by Anne Zoelle

    • Lauren says:

      That’s usually mine too (that’s why I only ended up making it through 60 pages of Truthwitch) but I’d heard such good things about the characters that I had to push through! But it was difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

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