I can’t remember if Victoria actually asked me to review this, or if I picked it up for free one day and decided to write a review, but either way, on with the show!
The Crimson League (Book One in the Herezoth Trilogy)
Victoria is a New Orleans girl, born and raised, with an appreciation for the charm of the Deep South. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English and a master’s degree in Spanish literature, all from the University of Alabama. She started college as a journalism major and worked a year as a staff reporter for the Alabama student newspaper, “The Crimson White.” That experience that helped her realize, once and for all, that her love for writing lay with fiction. She started enrolling in creative writing classes the following semester.
What would you do if you were seventeen, a woodworker’s daughter, and your kingdom’s sorcerer/dictator was determined to see you dead?
Join Kora Porteg in the kingdom of Herezoth as she aids her homeland’s organized resistance. Opposing the sorcerer who slew the royal family, Kora soon discovers she’s a sorceress herself, as well as the unwitting subject of an old and often mocked legend. Though she accepts she can have no place in Herezoth after civil war should end, she fights alongside the usurper’s sister, a thief, a scholar, two telekinetic brothers, and other members of the group that calls itself the Crimson League. As their prospects deteriorate, the League has no choice but to make a final stand against its foe and the army that supports him.
I enjoyed this book, although I do admit I have mixed feelings toward it. I definitely enjoyed the magic system presented in the book — shouting magic words and making awesome things happen is a hallmark of the fantasy genre. I loved the villain, Zalski. I thought he was suave, and clever, and weirdly honourable despite him being totally evil, and if he hadn’t killed so many people I would have wanted him to succeed and become supreme dictator. His motives are very real, very complex, and he was all around a great antagonist. Kora (the protagonist) was feisty, which I liked, and by the end of it she was doing pretty much whatever she wanted, and to heck with anyone who got in the way. I wish more female protagonists were like this! And there were some really excellent scenes that I’ll remember for years to come.
Now for the things I didn’t like so much. This one is purely personal taste, but I would have liked more romance in the book. Romance is brought up a few times, but it never felt … real for me. More like it was added as an afterthought. I’m sure it wasn’t, of course, but that’s what I took away from it. The other thing that struck me as a bit odd was that, when reading the book, I kept reaching the end of conflicts and thinking, “This pretty much wraps up the current plot arc, this must be the end of the book”. Except then I would look at my little progress bar at the bottom of my eReader and discover I was barely 25% through the book. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that the plot is very undulating. Instead of having a slowly building rising action, it kind of goes lull, dramatic moment, lull, dramatic moment, lull, etc. Things got a bit more intense when people started dying off like flies, but overall … I don’t know, I feel like this novel could have been split into two books, and then the author could have added more character development or something to flesh out the world more.
In conclusion, The Crimson League was a fairly slow yet entertaining read in the tradition of classic swords and sorcery fantasy.
4 out of 5 stars
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