Thursday, July 4, 2013
Review: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
(Book Four in the Seven Realms Series)
by Cinda Williams Chima
Published October 2012 by Hyperion Book CH
Rating: 5 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads: A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed-Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.
Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana'Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells' inner turmoil, Raisa's best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.
Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?
A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
I've been with the Seven Realms Series since the publication of The Demon King in 2009. I don't think I realized what I was getting myself into. Following the journey of Raisa and Han through four quite long novels led to me being so invested in their ending that I read all six hundred pages of The Crimson Crown in one day. One. Day. I had the worst book hangover ever after that.
The Crimson Crown is the best book of the quartet. In theory, the readers of the quartet have reached a point where we understand the way the world of the Seven Realms works. So Chima can take a break from world building, right? Oh so wrong. Instead of relying on our previous knowledge, Chima continues to educate us about her world until the very end, adding layers upon layers to the Seven Realms until I felt as though I could pass a history test on a fictional world. The beauty of this is that these parts aren't boring at all, and I had a level of interest that surprised me.
I read book three in the quartet, The Gray Wolf Throne, a year and a half ago. I was a little shaky on the details of the previous book going into The Crimson Crown. Despite the complexities of the previous novels, it only took me about fifty pages to become fully invested in Han and Raisa again. Chima doesn't do a recap, but she does drop little hints along the way about things the reader may have forgotten from the other novels. I loved being able to re-immerse myself in the world of the Seven Realms without any difficulty.
So much happens in The Crimson Crown: revelations, loss, love, danger, backstabbing, intrigue. You name it, it's probably in here somewhere. I read it all in one day because I had to know what would happen. The narrative is third person, though it switches between multiple points of view, in no set pattern. This definitely keeps things very interesting, because the reader knows more than any single narrator and wants to see how it all plays out. Or, in my case, wants to yell at the characters and tell them what the other characters are up to.
I am deeply satisfied with The Crimson Crown as the ending of the Seven Realms Series. The character development, world building, and loaded plot (loaded in a good way-like a baked potato!) kept me glued to the book. When I finished, I felt like my emotions were far too big for my body. That's the best way to end a series, in my opinion.