Crown of Oblivion

Crown of Oblivion

by Julie Eshbaugh

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In this mesmerizing YA fantasy mash-up of The Road meets The Amazing Race, one girl chooses to risk her life in a cutthroat competition in order to win her freedom.     

In Lanoria, Outsiders, who don’t have magic, are inferior to Enchanteds, who do. That’s just a fact for Astrid, an Outsider who is indentured to pay off her family’s debts. She serves as the surrogate for the princess—if Renya steps out of line, Astrid is the one who bears the punishment for it.

But there is a way out: the life-or-death Race of Oblivion. First, racers are dosed with the drug Oblivion, which wipes their memories. Then, when they awake in the middle of nowhere, only cryptic clues—and a sheer will to live—will lead them through treacherous terrain full of opponents who wouldn’t think twice about killing each other to get ahead.

But what throws Astrid the most is what she never expected to encounter in this race. A familiar face she can’t place. Secret powers she shouldn’t have. And a confusing memory of the past that, if real, could mean the undoing of the entire social structure that has kept her a slave her entire life.

Competing could mean death…but it could also mean freedom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062399335
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/12/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 285,777
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Julie Eshbaugh is a YA writer and former filmmaker. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens, which received several honors from the Webby Awards. You can learn more about Julie’s writing escapades (with the online group Publishing Crawl) by visiting

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Crown of Oblivion 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I have been excited to read this book since the moment I read the plot. And it did not disappoint. There were no moments where the story dragged. The flow was perfect and it kept me entertained and wanting to read more. I cared about Astrid and her journey. Her sadness and love for her family was felt throughout the novel. The twists and reveals were so good. There are character reveals that I did not see coming. Probably due to the the fact that Astrid has no memory and with that the reader has a harder time predicting anything. I saw that this is a standalone novel but I would love to read more about Astrid. If you like a bit of mystery, being kept on your toes, and characters you can relate to and care about then read Crown of Oblivion.
Jessica_Peterson 6 months ago
Crown of Oblivion is a stressful and exciting sprint that felt like a mash up of the dystopian elements of Hunger Games and the fast pace run through the wild west of Vengeance Road. Our main heroine Astrid proves to be not only capable, but really badass. I mean, by the 3/4 mark she was running around, describing a gash on her leg that was bleeding everywhere while she caught up to a nemesis that she inevitably had to fight with a recently dislocated shoulder. Oh yeah. That kind of badass. Crown of Oblivion has essentially two groups of people. Enchanteds and Outsiders. Enchanteds are full citizens with all the benefits that brings, who can use magic, and Outsiders are essentially indentured servants who have been inoculated against the magic and have little to no benefits of citizenship. I wasn’t super clear on the inoculation and why it was a thing, but I had to read this book kind of quickly, so maybe I just missed it somewhere. Anyway, the Race of Oblivion gives an Outsider the chance to become a full citizen. It’s literally a race, where contestants follow puzzles and clues to cross the country and find the finish line. The only catch is that most of the contestants that don’t win end up dying along the way. And if you do survive, but don’t come in first, you have to extend your servitude for a number of years. So like, no good choices here. This is where Astrid comes in. She’s an Outsider, but she mysteriously has magic that she’s been hiding her whole life. She doesn’t know where it came from. But it certainly gives her an edge in the competition. But it’s also illegal, and her fellow racers will do anything to get rid of her. And so will, we find out later, the government. I didn’t have a good handle on the magic system here. It didn’t bother me too much because I’m not so much a details person when it comes to world building, but I was slightly confused as to how it all fit together. So one thing I wasn’t sure I was on board with but ended up LOVING by the end was the fact that the racers have their memories wiped going into the race. It made the beginning of this race kind of…lackluster to me, but as we went on, it proved such a good choice. This provided so much opportunity for twists and reveals that I raced through the middle part of this book (no pun intended). Each new piece of information Astrid discovered pushed you closer and closer to the finish line, and I was here for all of it. Darius! Can’t leave this guy out. You didn’t think I’d forget about the romance, do you? This is also reminiscent of Hunger Games for me. A tenuous partnership built out of necessity, turns to something else. But it’s a beautiful journey, you guys. Remember those twists I mentioned just a second ago? There was a whole sub plot with a rebel group working against the monarchy/government that was extremely important, but I was more interested in the race to the death, so this part wasn’t quite as fun for me. It doesn’t detract from the story, of course, and adds in to those twists I keep mentioning. The ending did feel a little abrupt. I immediately went to Good Reads to try to figure out if it will have a sequel, but it appears to be a stand alone. Not that things weren’t concluded, but I was surprised there wasn’t one more chapter tying things up. Anyway. Crown of Oblivion isn’t perfect, but holy moly is it a blast to read. See this review in its natural habitat at www (dot) ramblingsonreadings (dot) com
LatestReads 8 months ago
Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh is a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, up-all-night kind of book! It has the Hunger Games-like setting and danger and the Caraval-like clues: vague and open to lots of different interpretations. To start, the plot of the story captured my attention from the very beginning. I am a sucker for high-intensity situations filled with twists and turns at every corner. And Crown of Oblivion delivered! There were so many moments where I began to question who was trustworthy, and I was always surprised by everything that happened. Unlike other novels, it was hard for me to guess what she would go through next or the competitor she would meet next. I attribute this to how the book started. The book opens with the race being only a day or two away. I was thrown into the thick of things without too much background. At first, I was a bit frustrated as I didn't understand the relationships Astrid had with those around her. However, it made sense later on why Eshbaugh chose to reveal so little in the beginning: it puts readers on the same level of knowledge as Astrid, which makes it easier to step into the story. There were one or two things that I, as a reader, knew that Astrid didn't know (things that happen right before she is drugged), but that doesn't come into play during the race. The lack of background information also helped me to connect with Astrid more. Throughout the race, bits and pieces of her memory return and readers can almost feel what she is experiencing afterwards as it is a "new" memory to Astrid and the reader. As a result, I felt more connected to Astrid. It was super creative of Eshbaugh to use Astrid's memory loss to help readers sympathize and relate with Astrid more. Eshabugh's writing was extraordinarily descriptive and engaging throughout the book. I found myself reading chapter after chapter, unable to put it down. Due to the intense competition, there never is a dull moment. It did get to be a lot in some parts, as it was fast-paced, but I prefer that to a book that has lulls in it. One of the things I enjoyed most about Eshbaugh's writing is her vibrant descriptions of all the locations Astrid races throughout the book. She races through a desert, a carnival, a forest, and the outskirts of town. The only piece of writing in the world that I didn't understand was the magic. I only got bits and pieces of how it worked and some of the limitations. Eshbaugh described how and why a person wouldn't get magic, but besides that, I didn't know too much. The concept was fascinating, and I wished I could read more of it! I found that Eshabugh wrote her main characters very well. As I have mentioned multiple times, I was able to relate to Astrid easily. Darius, another competitor, was also written quite well. He was dynamic, and as more of Astrid's memories return, he gets more and more suspicious. There were others like Darius too—shady characters with questionable motives. Other characters were the perfect characters to hate. In conclusion, Crown of Oblivion was a beautifully written, fast-paced, action-packed book. I adored every moment of it! My favorite aspect of the book is how Eshabugh let her readers connect to Astrid. To join the race, Astrid takes a drug that temporarily wipes all of her memories. As she races across the country, her memories begin to come back sporadically. When they do, they are new to the reader and Astrid. Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who loves rea
Theresajs 8 months ago
This is one of my favorite books this year!!! I love that it's a dystopian/fantasy. I just love and admire everything about Astrid. She is strong, tough and resilient - even when having to face that things aren't as she had been told - because at the heart of it all is family! Astrid, despite having her memory wiped, still retains who she is - she is kind and she cares and she doesn't shy away from a challenge. Julie tells a powerful story - she doesn't sugar coat the political discord and what is happening between those with power and those without. A mirror of today's society in so many ways. I read this book in one sitting as I just could not put it down. I needed to know what happens next! I would love a sequel as I want to know what happens after all is said and done. How do they move forward?
ruthsic 8 months ago
Crown of Oblivion is a book with a fantasy tone but science fiction like setting, and yes, it has similarities to The Hunger Games in that there is a race that only the indentured population participates in. In Lanoria, the population is divided between the Enchanted and the Outsiders, the latter are either indentured or be full citizens, and depending on that they may or may not have the embeds that mark them as such; both cases of Outsiders, however, have been inoculated to not be allowed to use Enchanted magic. Astrid is an Outsider, whose family was indentured for her mother's debts, and who is the Princess' surrogate, as in her close friend and who has to take the physical punishments. With her older brother having run away from his surrogate position years ago, and her father recently dead, she enters the Race of Oblivion to gain citizenship to save her younger brother. As the name suggests, the Race of Oblivion is a scavenger hunt race much like The Amazing Race, which has the participants ingesting a temporary memory-erasing drug before it begins, so they enter the race a blank slate with no personal memories but still having their knowledge. The race is brutal in that the clues are hard, and the other participants ruthless because there is only one winner and losers get years added to their indenture. Astrid has an advantage in that she is somehow able to use Enchanted magic, but keeping that on the down low is difficult when you have many witnesses, so has to be careful around authority during the race. She reluctantly partners with another racer, Darius, who she has a past with that she doesn't remember until later, and encounters other people working against the rules of Lanoria. The racing parts of the book are thrilling, of course, and plot allows for sufficient character development during the moments of action. The journey takes her through difficult terrain, and lets us meet the various kinds of people - some apathetic, some helpful, some resentful. A person like Astrid, who was indentured and basically conditioned from childhood, gets a temporary fresh perspective on her situation; her relationship with Renya was also something that is complicated and was explored towards the end of the book. The setting is a mix of fantasy and modern technology, with the people using comms, automobiles and embeds, but also have a deadly game of magic ability as their main sport, and a reliance on slave labor. It isn't entirely explained why the Outsiders are segregated (aside from the obvious from the name) since the only way they can be distinguished on sight seems to be the presence of embeds, and I do hope future books clarify the past of Lanoria.
JusticeReads 8 months ago
Best book I’ve read this year! Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh was an utter action backed YA novel from beginning to end! Raw, fresh and unique, this story unfolds in a dystopian setting with themes of injustice, inequality and horrors that people should never have to witness. I was completely enthralled in Astrid’s world and couldn’t get enough of her experiences. The world building was done quite nicely; not over done like some fantasy novels can be, but enough for me to envision the surroundings and still develop my relationship with the main character! Astrid, an Outsider, is forced to become a surrogate to the princess… she takes all the punishments that the princess deserves for breaking rules and such. My heart immediately broke for Astrid but at the same time, I was intrigued. How does this girl take this pain and suffering and move past it? The Race of Oblivion definitely distracts her well enough. This race is brutal and cold, and threatening and vicious. Making it worse, the racers are given Oblivion. A drug that makes them lose all memories before even starting the race. The unfolding of each moment is built with such anticipation that I found it very hard to put the back down (and I’m in a fast paced online course at the moment). I enjoyed Astrid’s encounters with all of the side characters greatly. Just enough interaction but not too much to make the story drag. The action took precedence. Left and right, Astrid was challenged and though some characters helped her in unexpected ways, Astrid ultimately pulled herself through, giving us our desired clever and brave heroine. With family elements throughout, the story felt real and relatable. There is a very, very slow burning romance weaved into this story, but it does not have the spotlight by any means. It does, however, help to see that even in the darkest of times, love shows itself, in many shapes and forms. Eshbaugh’s latest release is nothing short of compelling and an absolute thrill ride. Crown of Oblivion is a story that I won’t soon forget and nor should I… the ending hints at a sequel ;) This is perfect for any dystopian fan of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner series and more. Get ready for the race of your life!
onemused 8 months ago
Engrossing and completely thrilling, CROWN OF OBLIVION is a fantastic new YA fantasy that I highly recommend. Dealing with themes including social injustice, health care inequality, and citizenship lotteries, this book is quite the read. In a world where people are separated by their birth into Enchanteds and Outsiders (upper and lower class respectively), Astrid is an Outsider. When her mother died, she also took on some of her indentured time, which is typically twenty years (to start, time can be added for various offenses/non-offenses) during which they are subjugated and often tortured by the Enchanted class. Astrid's indentured time has her as a Surrogate, essentially a whipping boy for the princess. Anytime the Princess Renya does anything wrong, Astrid receives her punishment, typically of whipping. Astrid's back is covered in scars because of it. Each year, the Race of Oblivion allows one Outsider the ability to become an Enchanted citizen through a series of challenges- all while their memories have been completely removed. If you lose, you get more indentured time. However, most of the entrants lose their lives in the race. After a series of events makes her desperate, Astrid enters the race and is exposed to unexpected challenges, new insights into her world, and many life-or-death situations. I absolutely devoured this book. It is non-stop action from start to finish, and the many twists at the end really shocked me, which I love. In terms of the world-building, I do feel like we learned enough about the society to fully grasp it. In terms of characters, I completely fell in love with Astrid- she's fierce, brave, loyal, and clever. The side characters did not all feel fully fleshed out to me. We get to know a couple pretty well, but this book is really Astrid's, and I enjoyed her perspectives. There's also a little bit of romance, which is icing on the cake, though I found Astrid's physical and personal journey to be the most compelling parts of the book. I also will say that I loved the inclusion of Astrid's younger brother, who seems to have autism (though not named as such). I would absolutely be on board with more books featuring these characters and this world. Compelling, engrossing, and exhilarating, CROWN OF OBLIVION is an incredible journey in a new YA fantasy world that will leave readers quickly turning pages. Highly recommend for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES, RED QUEEN, THE SCORPIO RACES, and other highly engaging YA fantasy reads. Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.
BarbTRC 8 months ago
Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh is a YA Fantasy novel. Astrid Jael, our heroine, is a surrogate outsider to the Princess Reyna, with both being very close. However, Astrid suffers consequences, such as being whipped, for anything that the family deems Reyna has done wrong; Astrid has the scars on her back to prove her loyalty to Reyna. But when Astrid tries to help her family, even with Reyna’s help, her father dies and Astrid needs to step up to save her young brother. She decides to enter the Race of Oblivion, which is a death defying race (similar a little to Hunger Games), with only the winner receiving full citizenship with benefits for the entire family. The race is difficult and brutal, as for most of the contestants, the race will end in their deaths. This will free her brother and herself as surrogatea; despite the low odds, Astrid signs up to enter the race. Each contestant is given a memory altering drug (Oblivion) that wipes out their memory, being in the middle of nowhere and trying to find clues to further them in the game. Astrid was a wonderful heroine, who was loyal, strong, smart, independent and who had secret magical ability, which she kept hidden until she needed to use it to save herself. Along the way, Astrid meets many people who would help her or try to kill her, as well as finding her long lost older brother, who turns out to be a member of the OLA (revolutionary group). Determined to do this alone, Astrid reluctantly accepts the help of Darius, to partner up until they would reach the end. What follows is an intense, exciting, action filled adventure that will have us on the edge of our seat throughout the many violent and dangerous situations as they get closer to the end. Esbaugh gives us some great secondary characters besides Astrid; Darius, Reyna, both of her brothers, and a nasty villain in Prince Lars. I did love Astrid, and liked Darius after a bit. As we raced to the climax, there were so many twists and turns that caught us by surprise, and changing things drastically. Crown of Oblivion was not only exciting and intense, but it was an intriguing and compelling story line. The world building was very well done and different. Julie Esbaugh did a wonderful job writing this story in a difficult world. I have not seen if this is going to be a series, but I thought that though the end was satisfying, there were things left open that could result in another book or two. I suggest if you enjoy YA fantasy, you should read Crown of Oblivion.