Blood Crown by Ali Cross
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**
Being the last remaining survivor of the royal family after a coup when she was 10 years old, lead by the androids that were meant to protect and serve them but instead set out to destroy them, the now 19 year old Serantha or Sera as she goes by since she went into hiding, has a hard life. Now in an effort to protect her identity, she is a servant in the kitchen on the very ship that her parents used to reign as King and Queen of the West. She was meant to be part of the hope of the human race, along with the son of the King and Queen of the East, Nicolai by her side – creating the perfect DNA and fulfilling the prophecy. Instead, she is yelled at, forced to work in the hot kitchen, with hardly any food (not that an android army needs food!), and made to sleep in sub-par conditions – treated with no human decency.
Nicolai is dedicated to abdicating the thrown. If he can’t reign with Serantha by his side as intended, he doesn’t want to do it at all. He still remembers the little 10 year old version of her upon his last visit when they were committed to each other, shortly before her family was attached. He, as well as the rest of the world, was left believing that Serantha also perished the day her parents did. Therefore, he decides to join the rebellion to fight against the android army that has such a hold over the world – with plans to destroy the human race all together. This is much to his father’s chagrin, who believes he should stay and take over the Kingdom of the East as he had always intended.
But when Nicolai happens upon the mostly dormant West Capital ship to attack the Minds (the androids) that have gathered there, he finds something much more shocking than just a Mind get together…he sees HER, she’s older, has shorter hair, and is dressed in rags, but he knows it’s her – she didn’t perish after all. Instead of being honest with her, he simply acts like one of her subjects that have come to free her and the staff from their metal prison. She has another secret though…she remembers Nicolai from when they were children, but he seems hell-bent on keeping the information from her. He introduces himself as “Nic” and convinces himself she must remember him for him to make himself known. With the help of the people of the West, some “good” androids, and Nic, Serantha is in for a wild journey – but can she save the human race before it’s too late, before the android Minds take what they feel they deserve and kill everyone?
Starting out, the book was a little slow and confusing as it was told in multiple POV’s. But as the story picked up and the readers were told more about the interactions that Nicolai and Serantha had has children and the prophecy they were to fulfill, the story took on more shape and was a terrific love story, as well as a human interest story of sorts. Serantha has everything taken from her, but she is still willing to fight for her people – for the people, even those that persecuted her along the way. Nicolai just wants something worth fighting for, which is why he joins the rebellion against the Mind – he wants to make a difference as he feels his chance was taken away with Serantha’s supposed death. What comes of their purposes coming together is great and shows that even in the face of adversity, we can still make a difference as long as our hearts are in the right place.