The Crimson Crown

crimsoncrown By Cinda Williams Chima [LibraryThingGoodreads]

In the final book in the Seven Realms series, Raisa has finally been placed on the throne as Queen of the Fells – but that doesn’t mean she’s safe. The wizards still hope to replace her; the clans are willing to go to war to get her to marry one of their own; neighboring kingdoms threaten their borders. And her bodyguard, street lord-turned-wizard Han Allister, is determined to marry Raisa himself. Though Raisa returns Han’s love, she knows she has to make a political alliance for the good of the kingdom. But a thousand-year-old secret just might make Han the most powerful match of all.

In the past few years, I’ve been let down a lot by the ends of series. So many authors seem able to set up a great story, but not to end it in a way that doesn’t basically make you want to throw yourself off a cliff in despair. And since I’ve been waiting a year and a half for The Crimson Crown, I was super duper worried about how it would all pan out.

Luckily, I didn’t have to be. The Crimson Crown is great. Like The Gray Wolf Throne, it zips along at a whipcracking pace, crammed to the gills with action, sexual tension, political intrigue, betrayals, surprising alliances, and Han being a hilarious troll towards the other wizards, which: YES. I don’t want to go too much into plot details, but suffice to say that the dangling plot threads are wrapped up nicely but not tritely, and the relationships between the characters – not just Han and Raisa – grow and resolve in satisfying, believable ways. And Raisa, especially, continues to be a wonderful character: utterly devoted to her queendom, selfless when it comes to her own fate but unwilling to compromise when it would hurt her people, a brilliant strategist, and – thanks to her time in military school – totally badass in a fight. She’s a fantastic heroine and I’m thrilled that she was allowed to shine all the way through the series.

My one caveat is…well. The clans are inspired by Native American culture, and for the most part the series treats them well, as fully-realized, complex characters and not stereotypes spouting off stilted eco-wisdom. Raisa herself is of mixed race, as are several other characters, all of whom are good guys. However, show

Overall, though, Chima’s characters are, whatever their race, three-dimensional and compelling, and The Crimson Crown is an incredibly gripping read and a fantastic conclusion to a wonderful series. Four and a half cupcakes, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

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