The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)
by Cinda Williams Chima
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.
Navigating the cutthroat world of blueblood politics has never been more dangerous, and former streetlord Han Alister 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. (goodreads.com)
The conclusion to the Seven Realms series sees a war brought to Raisa’s front door and all sorts of deception and bad guys abound. Thankfully, there are also an abundance of secret tunnels and passageways for our heroes to travel through. Brilliant planning on their ancestors’ parts, I say!
The Crimson Crown helped me pinpoint something that had been bugging me throughout the series. I was so mad and annoyed by the Clans’ complete dislike and hatred towards Dancer and Han. Dancer, especially, since his mother was Clan and he was Clan-born. As soon as they found out he was a wizard they wanted to put him to death and they exiled him. This boy grew up with them and showed no signs of being evil, but then they all turn on him just because of what he can DO. Clans have their own magic but apparently the kind of magic Charmcasters (or, jinxfingers, as they call them) can do is evil and never done for good. These Clan people just can’t give up on their past. A THOUSAND years go by and they still mistrust and hate the wizards. I’d have thought that maybe since one of their own flesh and blood showed signs of magic that they’d try and see if he could do good for them. But no. And the hypocrisy with which they treat Han is just infuriating. Not once did I warm up to anyone – other than Willow – in the Clans. I couldn’t stand Raisa’s father or grandmother. I hated Nightwalker and Bird wasn’t really that interesting to me until she sort of started to think for herself – but I still didn’t like her much. I mean, even some of the WIZARDS were willing to listen to reason and see that things needed to change. Not all of them, but some.
I could see how the new generation would be forming together to rule with more mixing of the people in the Queendom and around. It made more sense how they should work together and not against each other and because of Raisa and Han they were brought together. Few of the older generations wanted Raisa’s plans to work, but it was time for the younger ones to take up the leadership roles and start to breakdown the walls that had been built between people and races if they were to stand strong as a country.
Raisa surprised me throughout the series with the head she seemed to have for getting things to work out, even if she did make mistakes. She is certainly a strong female protagonist and I truly enjoyed reading her.
Another thing that stuck out to me in this series is the characters’ – both male AND female – reference to how much they like kissing and kissing before getting married. Raisa surprised me by how many kisses she shared with the boys in the book. It’s rare you read a fantasy book and have the female character be as much of a, um, player? as the male. Sure all the girls loooooved Han and looooooved Nightwalker and loooooved
Malfoy Malik, but also Raisa looooooved the boys and she managed to get what she wanted and have little flings with them. She wasn’t a damsel in distress and she wasn’t a floozy, she was totally in control of her romances and I’m not sure if this stood out to me BECAUSE it’s so rare to have a female character act like a typical male character in a book or if because it bothered me. I don’t think it bothered me to be honest, but I assure you it made me think about why I noticed it so much. Why it seemed so odd in a book. I can only conclude it’s because she was a girl. Because every time Han’s dalliances were referenced I hardly blinked an eye! So, points to Ms. Cinda Williams Chima for treating her boys and girls equally in this series. And I’d like to see more stories like this – where the girl can kiss boys and not be called a slut or a harlot or be thought of any less because she just likes kissing boys. Han liked kissing girls and no one cared about that, either. 😉
Ultimately, the Seven Realms series was exactly what I needed in a fantasy series. I loved it to pieces and I am so happy that I went on this ebook buying binge even though I wasn’t supposed to be spending money at the time. It has been a long time since I have been so immersed in a series that I don’t want to put it down and just read four books back-to-back without coming up for air. I should have looked into this series earlier – BUT! – the bright side is that all 4 books were published by the time I did so I had zero wait time between instalments. HA!