Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Chalice and the Crown
Author: Kassandra Flamouri
Expected publication: June 5th, 2020
Driven, talented, and determined to live up to her family’s fame, Sasha Nikolayeva is ballet’s crown princess. But just when Sasha lands her most prestigious role yet, she falls prey to a host of disturbing neurological symptoms that threaten to end her career and her very life. As her mind and body weaken, she spirals into the world of her nightmares, where beauty and cruelty exist in the same breath and villains rule from the shadows.
In the glittering, sharp-edged City of Roses, Sasha is no princess. She’s a thrall, a slave. Thousands like her suffer in cursed silence while citizens enjoy the splendor of the City, blissfully unaware that their servants are anything more than living dolls enchanted to do their bidding. But the City’s slavers know the truth, and they are always watching. One misstep could cost Sasha her life-or her soul.
Yet, even in captivity, Sasha can’t help being drawn to the beauty of her nightmare world and the underground rebels who offer her friendship, shelter, even love. Before Sasha can break her chains for good, she’ll need to choose between the life waiting for her at home and the countless lives she could save if she stays. To choose a nightmare over her real life, her future, would be madness…but maybe a little madness is just what it takes to change the fate of a city built on lies.
Rating: 4.75 / 5 stars
Imagine yourself living in the world where your nightmares are your real life and you can’t wake up from them.
This book truly blew my mind. I started reading it not really knowing what’s it about. I thought it was ballet and at the beginning it reminded me a lot of Black Swan (the movie I absolutely love) both because of the ballet and mental struggles, but as I got more into the plot I realized it was about something else entirely.
We follow a young girl, a ballet dancer Sasha, who after getting the lead role in Swan Lake and unfortunately losing her grandmother, starts having nightmares. She can’t escape those nightmare and they start appearing even when she’s awake, so much that she doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t. Suddenly, she is in this paralel world, City of Roses, where she is merely a thrall for those mightier than her. And she doesn’t know who she is.
This story is truly unique and I give major props to the author for creating such an interesting world, because I’ve never read of something similar before. A world where people are not people, they are slaves who don’t speak and don’t have a mind of their own. But Sasha is different of course, with helps of her friend and her true love, ballet, she becomes mindful and fights those manipulations. That alone shows us the power of our mind.
Although this book is very shocking and sad in some parts, it paints a beautiful picture of friendship, family and love. I loved how there are so many different characters with different traits. Other than Sasha, Sadra is definitely my favorite character and it’s because of her selflessness and because she’s the most amazing friend.
The part that I really enjoyed was all the beautiful songs and stories both from the real world and City of Roses. I always love reading about imaginary legends in fiction books, and one of those is the story about the blacksmith and the chalice. Those stories make books even more captivating.
Although the ending wasn’t really what I expected, it was very well made and it wrapped up the story perfectly. This whole book was unpredictable but that’s what made it even better.
I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys fantasy. I’m glad I read this because it’s truly one of the most unique books I’ve ever read.