The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz was different from any other YA novel I've read. Historical fiction but in an alternate magical world was really cool. Who wouldn't like an underdog princess with her magical best friend? Although the romance was stereotypical, I did enjoy the soap opera-like quality of the book. I wish there was more of the world description and maybe one less character storyline. That's where this book falls short of being really good instead of average. I felt that de la Cruz tried to do too much. Princess Marie and Aelywn were interesting enough without having to go into the other secondary characters. I wanted more. Instead I felt I didn't get to truly know them. I liked the story of Ronan Astor and would have enjoyed it more had she had her own book.
Ultimately, there were too many characters with too similar voices. I did enjoy the magical alternate historical setting so I will read the next book in the series to see if there is a more tightly woven story.