(Cover picture courtesy of Cinda Williams Chima’s site.)
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.
I’m far from a romantically inclined person but I really did love the twist about Hanalea and Alger Waterlow. Not only was it unexpected, I liked how it was resolved and how Cinda Williams Chima treated it in general. History is written by the victors, as the saying goes.
The main story of Han and Raisa is also pretty good. There’s lots of betrayal, intrigue and drama but it never really goes into soap opera territory. Politics and duty often get in the way of love but I liked how both characters handled it according it to their personalities: Raisa tried hiding behind duty and Han challenged her to follow her heart instead. It makes for a great subplot on top of all of the chaos in the Fells and elsewhere.
They’re on the brink of civil war as a foreign army invades and nothing is as it seems, of course. I loved how Raisa really rose to the challenge in this book. She was always a strong character but she really came into her own in this last installment. I can actually picture her as a successful queen now that she’s matured so much in The Crimson Crown. Not that she was immature in the first book but now she’s behaving like a grown woman despite the fact she’s still really a teenager. Han, of course, is great as usual. He really grows into his role as Raisa’s adviser and confidant and he is determined to do everything he can to protect her. Han is just awesome so there’s not really much to say.
The plot was pretty good as well. It felt sort of incomplete at the end what with the random twist but at the same time it was a generally satisfying end to a good series. The rest of the book, however, was excellent and I was so involved I really didn’t want to put The Crimson Crown down, even to eat or sleep. So I’d say that’s a sign of a good book.
If you loved the previous three books in the series, I think you’ll really enjoy the last installment. I may or may not read Cinda Williams Chima’s other series but at least I can say that I’m glad I picked up the Seven Realms series. It was definitely a worthwhile read, despite the rocky beginning.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.