Even the bonking can’t save this one

Iron Crowned, by Richelle Mead (Bantam Press, RRP $40):

Best-selling author Richelle Mead has made her name writing the Vampire Academy novels but this novel is the first in a different series, still in the fantasy realm but minus the fangs.

Otherworld is an embattled realm mystically entwined with our world. Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom.

Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object that even the most powerful gentry fear.

But who can Eugenie trust? Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way.

The characters are very much two-dimensional and some of the aren’t particularly likeable: including Eugenie, the heroine of the piece.

Even the big dollop of fighting action and bonking can’t save this book from being an unrewarding read.

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