Cruel Crown is 2 short stories. One following Cal's mother from obscurity to being Norta's Queen and the other following Farley, the Scarlet Guard from Red Queen.
Corianne is fascinating to read and though it doesn't reveal who topped her by the end, a fairly good case could be made for suicide. The short story written in the style of her diary lays out her life before, after and during her marriage to the King. We meet Elara and get to see what she's like before it all and of course, book mad Julian and others. It's a fair reading of the character and I liked it.
Farley's story is a little different. From the Lakeland's it follows her mission to.... well that's just it.. I'm not sure. She makes a broadcast, finds Mare's brother and of course, meets Mare, but I'm not sure what her focus is. She's a great character and I liked reading more about her.
All in all, Cruel Crown is a good read and a must if you love the Red Queen series. It offers a nice tantalising view on the rest of the Red Queen universe and I did read it very quickly.