Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

The basics

Title: Crown of Feathers


Series: Crown of Feathers #1

- Crown of Feathers (2019)
- Heart of Flames (2020)
- Wings of Shadow (2021)

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Goodreads Summary:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

What happened in Crown of Feathers?

  • Val and Veronyka only have each other. Their parents died fighting the empire, and their grandmother died more recently.
  • Val finds two phoenix eggs. Her plan is to hatch them and for the girls, who are animages, to become phoenix riders.
  • Riders are all animages and fought the empire using their phoenix bonds.
  • Additionally, the girls also have Shadow Mage powers and are able to enter and manipulate minds. Val is better at this than Veronyka.
  • Only one egg hatches and the phoenix bonds with Veronyka. She names her Xephyra.
  • Val is very bitter about the whole thing. She starts telling Veronyka to command Xephyra rather than befriend her.
  • One day Val is out getting food when empire soldiers arrive at the cottage. They don’t find anything worth taking and Veronyka and Xephyra are, thankfully, out of the house.
  • Sev, a young soldier and secret animage bumps into Veronyka and lets her go. He’s only with the empire because he was facing murder charges, and this was the best option for him.
  • Val poisons Xephyra to prove a point. Veronyka tries to ressurect her but it doesn’t seem to work so Veronyka leaves.
  • Veronyka bumps into a young girl called Sparrow and her bird, Chirp. They overhear some Riders in the village and Veronyka tries to join them but is rejected.
  • Veronyka pretends to be a boy and joins the Riders, claiming that it was her sister who spoke to them the other day. As a boy called Nyk, Veronyka joins the Riders as a stable hand and will perhaps be allowed to join them as an apprentice if she can find a sponsor next time they’re recruiting.
  • Meanwhile, Sev meets an old woman called Trix and a bondservant called Kade. They’re both servants in the empire’s army. The army is heading to the Eyrie and they need to stop them.
  • Veronyka meets Tristan, the commander’s son. He’s scared of fire, which isn’t great for a phoenix rider.
  • The commander tests the apprentices and Tristan fails at the obstacle course, so the commander says he has to practice with Nyk, who clearly is a strong animage.
  • The two train together and Nyk explains they have to trreat animals as equals. Nyk also helps Tristan block his fear of fire.
  • Tristan takes the obstacle course again and passes it.
  • Veronyka learns there are breeding cages with female phoenixes. Just two. The breeding hasn’t been going well, probably because the females are CAGED and also unbonded.
  • Sev tries to leave the army with a llama but Kade stops him. The captain finds out and punishes them both.
  • Sev learns Trix’s real name is Ilithyia and she’s a Shadow mage.
  • There’s a feast at the Eyrie and Val shows up. So does Xephyra. She’s been reborn and has come to find Veronyka.
  • Xephyra is captured and put in the breeding cages. Nyk tried to stop all this from happening and accidentally used her shadow magic on the humans too. No one noticed, thankfully.
  • The commander tells Tristan he has to use his phoenix, Rex, to mate with the females.
  • Sev poisons the soldiers and escapes with some phoenix eggs that Trix and Kade were looking after. Kade is left behind, Trix is killed, and Sev is injured. He heads to the Eyrie to warn the Riders.
  • There are some raiders nearby so the commander takes some adult Riders and goes to fight them off and protect the villages.
  • Sev arrives at the Eyrie, wounded and weak. He tells Tristan and co the soldiers aren’t far away and 400 of them are coming.
  • Elliot fully admits to being an empire spy because they have his sister.
  • Veronyka figures out that Trix/Ilithyia is (or was) her grandmother.
  • The soldiers are only an hour away and the adult Riders are still out sorting out the raiders (which were a distraction), so the Apprentices will have to fight. Tristan takes charge.
  • Val reveals Veronyka’s identity to Tristan. He doesn’t seem mad or anything and he was pretty much putting the puzzle pieces together by this point. Veronyka tells Tristan that she’s bonded to Xephyra.
  • The battle ensues. The female phoenixes are freed. One dies, and the other flees the battle. But ultimately after fighting with the other animals in the village, the Apprentices win the battle.
  • The commander and the other Riders arrive back to help.
  • Veronyka tells the commander the truth after he congratulates her on the battle. She refuses to hide her identity if she becomes a Rider.
  • The others stick up for her and it looks like the Riders are going to start recruiting women.
  • Sev tells the commander he wants to spy on the empire for him. He wants to go back for Kade.
  • Veronyka confronts Val as she is sneaking away. Val reveals that she is Avalkyra reborn.
  • Val heads off with an egg that she stole from Sev’s bag. She recalls how, as Avalkyra, she shot her pregnant sister Pheronia and killed her. Veronyka is Pheronia’s baby, Val’s niece.

That’s what happened in Crown of Feathers! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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