The Crimson Crown – Seven Realms #4 – Cinda Williams Chima

The Crimson Crown

By Cinda Williams Chima

Seven Realms #4

 

I was hooked the minute I started this series. I couldn’t put it down and this book.

Raisa has been crowned queen but danger is all around her. Her mother had been a weak queen who let her advisers and nobility get away with too much. They aren’t liking her changes.

The general of her army has more mercenaries from the country of Arden that native born soldiers which means the army is loyal to him and not to Raisa and the Fells. She can’t have that since the king of Arden would jump at the chance to invade Fells and she needs her army loyal to her.

The majority of her queendom is comprised of three groups of people; the clans who live in the mountains, the valefolk who live in and around the city and wizards. Nobody likes each other. Hatred runs deep but Raisa wants to heal the divide. She needs everyone to work together if her nation is to survive the imminent war with Arden.

Han Alister has to protect the queen and he has a plan. First, he needs to become the High Wizard, an impossible feat considering he was a street lord before he was fostered by the clans. The current High Wizard would rather see him dead. Han is working many different angles and playing dangerous games with dangerous people and now someone is trying to frame him for the recent wizard murders in the slums.

I was sad to see this series end and now I’m desperately searching for a new series to read. Any suggestions?

The Gray Wolf Throne – Seven Realms #3 – Cinda Williams Chima

Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir of the Queendom of Fells, is headed home from her self-imposed exile. It’s a dangerous road due to the assassins after her and the civil war that has poured over from Arden into Tamron which neighbors Fells. Luckily the Captain of the Queen’s Guard along with 8 of his soldiers has found her to escort her home. Unfortunately, they are attacked and she is shot with a poisoned arrow and will die without help.
Han Alister finds her and puts her on his horse as he races towards the nearby clan camp. He tries to heal her with his magic while riding which almost kills him too.
When Raisa awakens, she learns that her mother, the queen has died by “falling” off her balcony. Before she died, she had changed the order of succession to make her Raisa’s thirteen-year-old sister the heir if the queen died and Raisa could not be located.
Raisa has to find a way to come out of hiding without being killed. Her sister is too easily manipulated to be queen.
Like the first two books of the series, I was enthralled all the way through this book. I did get a little annoyed with Raisa’s behavior at times though. In the first book and halfway through the second, she was in love with Amon Byrne, but then she falls in love with Han Alister while in hiding and pretending to be Rebecca Morley, a daughter of a nobleman and a student at Oden’s Ford. When Han finds out she lied to him, he stops their romance and Raisa is out kissing other people within days. She seems fickle. I don’t think she knows what love really is.
Even though I was annoyed at Raisa’s fickle behavior, I liked her and most of the other characters but Han is my favorite. Han is a former street thug, turned clan member turned wizard. I love his devotion to Raisa and how he always comes through for her.
This is an excellent series. I highly recommend it.

The Exiled Queen – Seven Realms #2 – Cinda Williams Chima

I can’t give this series enough praise! The characters and world that Cinda Williams Chima has created here is extraordinary. I can’t seem to put it down nor find enough hours in my day to read. Last night I read until my eyes went blurry but I couldn’t stop until I finished this book.

 

In the last book, Raisa’s mother tried to force her to marry Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard, which is totally against the law but the High Wizard seems to have some sort of magical influence over the queen. Luckily, Raisa escaped with the help of Amon Byrne, the son of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

Raisa traveled under an assumed name, Rebecca Morley, through horrible conditions with Amon and 8 of his cadets to Oden’s Ford to attend military school. Here’s where I became a little confused. Bear with me while I go on a side trip. Oden’s Ford contains many schools; one for wizards on the other side of the river from the military school, and another school for temple dedicates where students learn music, art and philosophy. What I didn’t quite understand was if Oden’s Ford is the name of the entire campus which includes all of the schools or if it was a town or if it was a small country of its own. I tried following the directions on how each of the characters traveled to Oden’s Ford but I got lost. I cheated and found a map from a spinoff series of the Seven Realms but I’m still confused.

Raisa is the princess heir of the country of Fells which is a mountainous region in the north of the continent. They traveled west through the mountains, past something called Westgate which seemed to guard the west border of the country of Fells yet they entered a swampland called The Fens where a people called Water Walkers live that the author described as part of the Queendom of Fells. They traveled southeast through the swamps to Tamron, the country connected to Fells. There was an abandoned guard house on the border. They then traveled south to Oden’s Ford. Even with the map, I couldn’t figure out if Oden’s Ford is part of Tamron or a country all on its own.

Raisa enrolled as a cadet in Wien House at Oden’s Ford. She may be out of Fells but danger is all around her. Students come from all over the Seven Realms to attend the schools at Oden’s Ford. She knows that Micah Bayar to whom she was almost forced to marry, his twin sister and his two cousins are enrolled in Mystwerk House just across the bridge so she will have to be careful not to run into them. Fortunately, most students who attend Wien House are from the war-torn country of Arden where wizards are viewed as demons so the wizards from Mystwerk rarely cross the bridge to the Wein House side of the river.

What Raisa doesn’t know is that two other unexpected people are at Oden’s Ford. Cat Tyborn and Han Alister aka Cuffs Alister, two street gang lords with whom she had dealings with in Fells. Cat is attending Temple School because Micahs father, Lord Bayar killed all her street gang while searching for Cuffs who took a powerful and illegal amulet from him. The Speaker (priest) from her neighborhood paid for her to attend Temple School because she is so talented at music and because he was helping her escape the same fate as her friends.

Hans was sent to Mystwerk after the clans revealed to him why he wore the silver cuffs on his wrists all his life. He is a powerful wizard descended from the Demon King, a line that no one but the clans knew existed. They had fitted him with magical cuffs when he was an infant to hide his abilities. After they revealed the truth and removed the cuffs, they sent him to Mystwerk to learn magic and help them fight the Wizard Council if it ever comes to a wat between the clans and wizards who hate each other.

Whew! That was a lot of explaining.

Han has to deal with Micah Bayar and dodge his attempts to get the amulet back which by rights belonged to the Demon King and has been outlawed in Fells.

There’s a lot at stake and a lot that can go wrong.

I’m off to read the next book.

Flamecaster – Shattered Realms #1 – Cinda Williams Chima

I learned of this series on Facebook from one of two authors who care about what their readers are reading and care to promote other authors by asking what everyone is reading and loving this week. It’s one of the places I get ideas of what to read next. It was either posted by one of Larissa Ione’s or Nalini Singh’s followers.

I’m glad I picked this book. I have been dabbling in the Fantasy genre lately and have been really enjoying it. I think this book is Young Adult also…at least, I assume it is because of the ages of most of the leading characters…but I’m always amazed at what can be included in the Young Adult genre. It seems to allow all the blood and gore possible, references to rape and molestation and even have limited sex scenes. I think the only thing that can’t be included is erotic scenes.

This book is written in the points of view of four different characters but two are the main protagonists, Adrien and Jenna.

Adrian sul’Han, also known as Ash, is the son of the Grey Wolf line. His mother is the queen of Fells and he is a powerful healer. His older sister was the heir to the throne until she was ambushed at the border by their enemy, the King of Arden’s soldiers. Even though he is the next oldest, his youngest sister will be groomed for the throne now because only females can hold the throne.

When his father was assassinated in front of him, Ash ran off to healing school under a different name since he was thought to have been killed too. In the summers, he posed as a ferrier and traveled around assassinating key figures in Arden’s army.

After an attack on his life by crazy priests of the major religion of Arden who think mages and healers are evil, Ash decides to travel to Ardenscourt and somehow kill the king himself.

Jenna was working in the mines just outside the city of Delphi when King Gerard of Arden came to the mines on some kind of promotional tour. When one of the minors threw horse dung at the king, he reached down and snapped the neck of little Maggi, an eight-year-old orphan girl who was forced to work the mines by the king’s soldiers. Then he killed her best friend Riley.

Since that day, Jenna has been working with a secret group called the patriots to sabotage the Arden army.

Jenna is unique. She has a magemark on the back of her neck yet she isn’t a mage and mages don’t have magemarks. She has never met anyone else with the mark.

Ash and Jenna’s lives become intertwined later in the book but it would spoil some things so I won’t go into it.

This book was a winner. I loved it and have already started the second book. I looked up the author and discovered she has two other series related to this series so this might be a spinoff but I’m not sure if the books share characters or not. I might read them later.

A Court of Wing and Ruin – A Court of Thorns and Roses #3 – Sarah J. Maas

I always forget how much I enjoy this series until I start reading it again. It’s not that it’s forgettable, it’s just that it isn’t my usual genre so it gets lost in the shuffle. If that makes any sense.

I wasn’t digging the lead character, Feyre, in the beginning of this book. She was out for revenge on Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, because she thinks he was responsible for her sisters being captured and put into the Cauldron by the King of Hybern. And he was responsible to a point but only because he loved her and thought she loved him back. He believed she’d been kidnapped by Rhysand, the High Lord of Night Court who everyone thinks is cruel and evil thanks to the image that Rhysand himself has put out to the world to protect his people. Tamlin had no clue Feyre had fallen in love with Rhys nor did he know that Rhys was the exact opposite of what he portrays. Feyre had only sent him a short message telling him she was okay and not to look for her but anyone who loves someone would not give up in them just based on a short note that she could have been forced to write.

Tamlin did make some mistakes but her revenge was petty and stupid in my eyes.

My opinion of her improved over the rest of the book but I have never really connected to Feyre. She is not the reason I like this series. It is the story line and the other characters like Rhysand, Cassian, Mor, Lucien and especially Azriel. I even like Tamlin, probably more than Feyre.

In this book, all the courts are gearing up for war with the King of Hybern who apparently has no real name or if he does, it was never mentioned in the book. His power, along with the Cauldron is unparalleled so it will take a miracle to beat him. Some of the courts may side with Hybern so Feyre is trying to convince them otherwise.

This book delves in deeper to some of the character’s personalities and backgrounds. There are  some developing romances too.

This is definitely a series that I recommend for fantasy and paranormal romance readers.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight – Charley Davidson #11 – Daryinda Jones

I love the sarcastic humor in this series. Even in the direst situation, Charley either has a hilarious thought or something smartass to say which has me cracking up a lot.

As usual, Charley is juggling many things at once. She’s the Grim Reaper so she has to deal with the departed who cross over through her but now that she learned she is a god, she has even more to deal with. It doesn’t help that she got in an argument with the Archangel Michael and now angels are watching her every move. She thinks it has to do with her threatening to take over the world or it could be that her husband Reyes is from down under—not Austrailia—the other down under.

When Reyes was born on Earth, he was kidnapped from his birth parents by a creepy couple, the Fosters, who then handed him over to a monster of a man who abused him for most of his life. Charley had investigated the couple and found out that they had another son name Shawn who she was pretty sure they had abducted aslo but they raised him until adulthood. Charley was surprised when Shawn walked into her office and asked her to investigate the Fosters. He told her that he had secretly tested his DNA against theirs and knows they are not his real parents. He also admitted to her that he saw her parked near their home and had run her license plate so he knew who she was. She wasn’t as stealthy as she thought she was.

Charley and Reyes’ still have their daughter in hiding since so many dark forces are after her like Satan and Eidolon, the evil god from another realm. It’s hard for Charley to live apart from her baby but she knows she has to do it to keep her safe.

She also is dealing with a stalker who is stalking her best friend’s daughter and trying to figure out what her Uncle Bob is up to because he has been acting strange.

The one thing that bothers me about this series is the small children who are either ghosts or get killed by either accidents or evil people. I mean, I know this kind of thing happens in the world but this author seems to be obsessed with having creepy children ghosts and having bad guys kill children. For this reason, this will probably be my last Charley Davidson book. It just rips out my soul to see bad things happen to children and to see it over and over again is just too much for me to handle. In this book alone, there was a ghost of a toddler who had died because a dresser fell on top of him, a ten-year-old boy ghost, bones of a child that were found and the little creepy girl who is a regular in the series…and one more near the end of the book. That is the one that made up my mind about booting this series from my reading list. It’s too bad because this is an impressive series that I would have really like to continue but the excessive abused and dead children thing ruined it for me.

 

Crooked Kingdom – Six of Crows #2 – Leigh Bardugo

This book was packed full of action just like the first book but this book let us get to know the characters a little better. It tells how each of Kaz’s crew members ended up joining his gang which I’m not really going to get into here.

Hopefully, no one will try to read the second book without reading the first book because the following will spoil the ending of the first book.

At the end of the last book, Kaz and crew had just pulled off the impossible job but were double-crossed by Jan Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council who run Ketterdam. He had promised them thirty million kruge (dollars) if they handed over the scientist who was responsible for inventing jurda parem, a drug that gives a certain race of people, Grisha, who wield magic super powers but has devastating side effects for the Grisha who ingest it. One dose will addict the Grisha and it is almost impossible to kick the habit. Two doses and the Grisha will never beat the addiction and they’ll do anything to get another dose so their masters can ask them to do anything and they will do it. So far, jurda parem is not something that is widely known and there is only a small amount available since the scientist has kept his formula a secret.

Luckily, Kaz had the foresight to know that Van Eck might try to betray the deal so he hid the real scientist when he met him to get the money. Van Eck kidnapped one of Kaz’s crew members, one that Kaz has a soft spot for, and told Kaz that he had a week to hand over the scientist or he would start torturing Inej.

Van Eck is rich and powerful. He had originally told them that the entire Merchant Council wanted the scientist to keep him safe and out of the hands of anyone with nefarious inclinations but he lied. The Merchant Council had no idea about jurda parem or the deal he made with Kaz…and Jan Van Eck was just the kind of evil person who should never have the formula for jurda parem. Kaz can’t go to the Merchant Council without proof or without Van Eck killing Inej.

I love how Kaz schemes and how he does things that seem unimportant at the time but then we find out later that is was something ingenious. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked way against him this time so I was not sure if things would end up good or bad.

I think this was the conclusion to the story. The author has written a trilogy called The Grisha Trilogy that sounds interesting. I might have to read it.