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.
The fourth and final installment of the epic Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima, The Crimson Crown opens with the Clans celebrating Raisa’s coronation. Despite this, division and the threat of war loom. Raisa struggles to unite the various factions in her queendom as Han–who loves Raisa deeply–fights to stay one step ahead of his enemies while trying to find a way for them to be together. With Arden on the verge of invading the Fells and so many people turning on Han, can he and Raisa find a way to save the queendom and be together–one that won’t see everything they’ve fought and cared for turned to ash?
This book was an amazing read and so rife with danger and tension that I reached a point where I couldn’t put it down. While The Gray Wolf Throne focused on the dangers that Raisa faced, this novel focuses more on Han and all the people trying to frame him or kill him. Someone is murdering Wizards and dumping the bodies in Ragmarket in an attempt to frame him and as the pressure against Han grew I found myself literally holding my breath. I didn’t believe that Han was responsible, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out who was. That, as well as the threats he faced from the Clans and the Bayars, had me on my toes for the last two thirds of the novel.
Raisa and Han’s relationship was another jewel in this marvelously crafted story. Almost all books have a romance threaded through them, but I’ve never read one with two such well crafted star crossed lovers. From the first time they met in The Demon King you almost knew that Han and Raisa would fall in love and yet one obstacle after another was throne in their way, especially in this book when Han nearly died several times.
I must also applaud Chima for some shocking revelations that came at the end of the book. As I’d long suspected Mariana–Raisa’s mother–was murdered, but it wasn’t by wizards. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book, but I couldn’t believe the reveal when I read it. I actually had to reread the page to make sure I’d got it right. The same has to be said for who was responsible for the Wizard murders. It was a pair of revelations that I never saw coming and I admire Chima’s skill in this.
Cinda Williams Chima managed to do something with this series that I’d rarely seen done–make each book better than the last. I enjoyed reading the Seven Realms Series and found The Crimson Crown to be a wonderful read and a fantastic end to a wonderful adventure.