ARC Review: Crown of Dust by C.F.E. Black

The enemy is dead. The battle has only just begun. Red and Aly thought they had eliminated the greatest to their lives, but as they return from their trip north, a new enemy rises from within their own ranks, threatening to rip Red and Aly apart. Lord Benedict Alexander has a distant claim to the throne, and he will do everything in his power to usurp Red’s rule before the official coronation at summer’s end. Convinced Red was corrupted by his trip into the Canyon, Lord Alexander fights to destroy Red’s kingship, and with it, Red’s Binding to Aly. Now Red must earn the trust of his countrymen, not only to retain his throne and continue his fight against Kassia and the Canyon, but to keep Aly as well, for Aly is bound to serve the crown, no matter who wears it. Fight for the crown. Fight for love. Or lose them both.

  • Title: Crown of Dust
  • Author: C.F.E. Black
  • Series: Scepter and Crown
  • Publisher: N/A
  • Publication Date: November 1, 2022
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
  • Targeted Age Range: YA
  • Content Warnings: N/A
  • Rating: ★★★★★

⮞ 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 ⮜
This time I felt both Aly and Red have grown so much more from the first book. If in the first book Red has been acting like a petulant child, this time he took matters into his own hands, and instead of blaming others for his unfortunate events he tried to do something to change the bad things that came his way. He still had moments of doubt towards Aly here and there but they were a little bit less this time.
Aly as in the first book has been my fave character, I really enjoyed her, how strong and how powerful she becomes from day to day. This time she really showed she can handle everything that comes her way.
Seb and Elise went up on my fave list, I legit want a book only about them and their banter. I feel they have so many things in common and there is definitely some enemies-to-lovers brewing. For some reason, I feel Elise has always had a thing for Seb but hasn’t really been honest with herself.

⮞ 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝-𝐁𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 ⮜
This time you get more details about the world they’re living in which was a change compared to the other book. In the first book, you get to see the world-building from one side of their region, and now we see it from another part of the region. You’re being taken into the heart of the place they live, how unbalanced the rich and poor life is, and how many things Red has to fix so people can live decently. Some things in the book were a bit disgusting and they may or may not make me scrunch my nose like I could’ve felt the stench coming from the pages lol.

⮞ 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝 ⮜
I felt this time the book picked up a notch compared to the first one. It felt intense, more intriguing, and sucked me right in. Loved how Aly pushed herself to improve her magic and how under pressure she could do so many amazing things. The pace of the book felt faster this time, with plenty of events happening along the way with full action, banter, and lots of interesting moments. The world-building as usual isn’t the main focus but the details we got about their world, the differences between the poor and rich were fascinating.

⮞ 𝐒𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐞 ⮜
The book is a clean, prohibited, slow-burn romance. Their romance is very, very slow-burn romance and fade to black, nothing smutty, nothing detailed which was enjoyable because I felt the romance is not the main point in the story, but the whole action that drives both characters.

C.F.E. Black lives in north Alabama with her two sons, one droopy hound dog, an ornery cat, and her superhero husband.

Follow C.F.E. Black: Facebook | Instagram | Website |

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