Posts Tagged With: magic

Book Review: The Crimson League, by Victoria Grefer

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 Book

The Crimson League (Book One in the Herezoth Trilogy)

The Genre


The Author

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.

The Plot

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.

The Review

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.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Check out Victoria’s site here.


Unrelated image of the day:

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Which book would you bring to life?

I’ve been thinking about The Pagemaster a lot recently, mostly because I think the idea of a library coming to life is just about the coolest thing ever. Here’s the movie trailer, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about:

Right. Everyone on the same page now? Hahaha. Get it? Page? Because … Pagemaster?

Never mind.

Anyway, what reader hasn’t dreamed of getting sucked into a book … or better yet, bringing the contents of a book into our world! Here’s the premise I set for myself: If you could bring one aspect of one book into our world, which would you choose? By one aspect, I mean a character, or an item, or a particular setting — bringing an entire book to life might be a bit overkill.

I think I would bring Harry Potter’s magic wand into this world. How awesome would it be to be able to do magic? Then again, I would be the only witch, since I would be the only one with a magic wand, which could get lonely. Or dangerous. And then if the government found out I could do actual magic, they would either recruit me forcibly to their cause, or steal the wand for themselves, or just kill me outright as a threat to national security. So maybe not a magic wand after all.

Perhaps I should choose something less conspicuous. Or maybe I’m in the wrong genre altogether. I could think of worse things than flying around the galaxy in the starship Enterprise. Although again, that would involve leaving everyone I know and love here on Earth, since “Hey, want to come fly away forever with me in my interstellar spaceship?” probably won’t do much convincing.

Or I could be more practical. I could pop into one of the hundreds of fantasy books that has a philosopher’s stone / holy grail / eternal-youth-and-health-contraption and grab that up. I could live forever! But again, loneliness. Awwwwwwww.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that being too special means you’ll be lonely. Alternatively, the lesson here is that I suck at hypothetical exercises.

Your turn! You can bring one aspect of one book into this world. What do you choose?

Unrelated video of the day:

Tee hee …

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Re-Blog: “Write on”

Check out this beautiful post by Just a Thought …

Write on.

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