Melissa McShane definitely isn’t your standard, run-of-the-mill, YA romance author, even though she is relatively prolific in the genre. Her books might follow the usual literary tropes that most readers are already familiar with- the reclusive, bookish, girl; the dashing Prince/Romeo hybrid- but she injects her own trademark character into her stories that it feels like as if you’re reading a romance tale told for the very first time in the history of the romance genre.
Servant of the Crown (published in July 2015), looks just like your standard romance/fantasy fare at first glance. Though a quick read of the first few pages would reveal that this book is not your average princess-prince love story. The first book in the Tremontane novel series, this fuses high fantasy with the gritty and oftentimes dizzying world of the steampunk genre.
The heroine, Alison Quinn (aka Countess of Waxwold), is not one to enjoy the benefits that her high birth accorded her. At the most, she’s perfectly content on her own with only her books for company. But when she was called upon to become a lady-in-waiting for the Tremontane queen’s mother, loyal Alison has no choice but to go and fulfill her duty to her majesty.
Of course, she has to use everything in her power to not become Prince Anthony North’s (the queen’s brother) next conquest. But is she really that repulsed with this man? Or is it love that she’s hiding beneath all of that hate?
Aside from the romance arc, readers should also be prepared to entranced by the steampunk elements in the book (such as the machines powered by “magical” batteries and such). McShane writes with exquisite taste, and her descriptions and narratives are almost always on point, with nary a boring scene in between.
If you’re looking for something more than you usual, sappy, love story, then Servant of the Crown is a must-read.