Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publishing Info: September 2020 by Harper Teen
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this duology opener.
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.
This book reminded me why I’m such a sucker for space opera, and why I want to see more of it in YA. Crownchasers is a planet-hopping adventure and I had so much fun reading it. At just 375 pages, it was a pretty quick read, and I was on my edge of my seat for every single one of those pages.
The plot revolves around the crownchase, a competition between the prime families of the empire to determine who will be the next emperor. This involves a lot of space travel, discovering new planets, and working out mysterious clues. There is also a media element as well, as the whole galaxy seems to be watching the crownchase to see who will be victorious, which reminded me of The Hunger Games.
Alyssa Farshot is a reluctant participant in the crownchase. She loves exploring, and has never had any desire to sit on the empire’s throne. Alyssa brings a whole lot of snarky humour to this book and I loved how daring and reckless she is. Her voice is one of the best parts of this book, I felt like I was on this wild ride right along with her, and it was great to see how her character developed over the course of the story. As well as the pressures of the crownchase, she also has to deal with her grief over the loss of her uncle, and I thought Coffindaffer did an excellent job of weaving Alyssa’s character growth into such a fast-paced and action-packed book.
The majority of the book is told through Alyssa’s perspective, but we do get some short scenes from Edgar’s point of view. I would have liked to have seen more of his personality come through in those scenes, so I could really understand his character and his motivations.
There’s some romance, but it takes a back-seat in this book, which I really appreciated since a lot of YA seems to be very romance-heavy. The main character and her love interest already have an established friendship and some history of hooking up at the start of the book, so the romance didn’t feel rushed. Friendship, especially female friendship, is a big part of this book too. There’s also lots of LGBTQ+ rep which I loved to see.
If you’re looking for more YA sci-fi in your life, this book will satisfy all your space exploration needs! If you’ve not yet delved into the realms of space operas, this is a great introduction to the genre, as it’s fun, adventurous and fast-paced.
The ending of this book destroyed me and I cannot wait for the sequel, Thronebreakers, to come out later this year!