Review: The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson

Published by: self-published
ISBN: 0998227609
ISBN 13: 9780998227603
Published: December 2016
Pages: 420
Format reviewed: mobi
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five

Read for the SPFBO, this is the next book I dove into once we had our shortlist of ten. Much more in the usual heavy-fantasy realm compared to the majority of the ten finalists, in this we have multiple points of view characters all coming together to shape our knowledge of the world. We start with Keilan – son of a fisherman and a strange woman, a pairing that seems to have left him with some talent certainly helpful for a life by the sea, even if it does dangerously drain him if used to excess.

We have a concubine who at first left me annoyed as ever, this is where we get the usual female characters… only to discover, thankfully, there is more to her than it seems at first.

We have The Crimson Queen, for who the book is titled, who wants those with magic to be able to use it without fear – such a usual trope, but handled well enough.

And quite a handful of others. The writing in this is good and easy to read, however perhaps stretches itself a little thin in parts by trying to follow too many characters at uneven paces. I would have been happy to follow these three alone. The previously mentioned trope along with the old farmer boy is actually the chosen one so har har to all those bullies who roughed him up until now makes parts of this novel easy to expect and follow, and mainly gets its differences from trying to shove so many different things into this, which may have worked better spread out over the series.

Overall though, the writing is solid, the pacing and editing decent, the characters mostly interesting, and was easy to pick up and read and keep reading until the end. This is a very good debut, and compared to the rest of the final ten for SPFBO compares fairly highly. This is grim, steady and has been crafted well, and certainly kept me distracted from my current blitz through of every book Bujold has ever written. Which has to count for something.


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