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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

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.

Released: October 23rd 2012         Pages:608
Publisher: Hyperion                       Source: Library

My love for this series cannot and will never be contained in four reviews.  It's like my reviews of the entire Inheritance series--a review can't do it justice.  Though I will try, it won't happen.  This time, I'm opting to use many GIFs (apparently that's a word now) and random pictures to try and explain my love for The Crimson Crown, and the entire Seven Realms series.
It took a long, long time for the library to get a copy of this.  (There are 80 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey in the system, but it took over a month beyond the release date to get this book?  Someone needs to sort out their priorities.)  When I finally got it, I felt like this:
The true masterpiece of The Crimson Crown is how much I care about the characters.  Caring makes all the difference in the world.  If I didn't feel emotionally attached to these people, I would have had no reason to like this book.  But Chima is a master of sucking readers in and gluing them to the pages and making the characters come alive.
And then, Chima goes and kills off certain characters that I'm really, really, really attached to.  BUT WAIT.  They're not actually dead.  I think my heart stopped and then restarted itself during that part.
Then there's all the suspense.  THE SUSPENSE!  And the "Raisa, no, don't do it!","Don't believe him, Raisa, he's a liar!", " just're engaged to...NO.", "That's the most adorable expression of love I've ever seen.  Han Alister for the win!", "Chima, why?", and other assorted expressions of disbelief, horror, wonder, sheer happiness, and pretty much every emotion that exists.
And then, of course, Han comes in like this...
...and saves the day and makes everything okay and is just all-around awesome.  There was only one thing that disappointed me, though.  I was secretly hoping for some sort of massive, end-all magical showdown between Han and Gavan Bayar. Something like:

While there was definitely a confrontation and Bayar got what was coming to him, I was hoping for something bigger, flashier, with more dangerous spells.  Also, I was still holding on to the hope that Fiona could redeem herself and have some part to play for good in this, but apparently not.  Ah, well, can't win 'em all.
No review of The Crimson Crown would be completely without talking about the parallels between the story of Han and Raisa and the story of Hanalea and the Demon King.  Oh, the parallels!  I love this aspect so much.  I love big, important, looming backstory, and this stuff was excellent.  It made this a story not just of people in one time, but a story of people throughout the history of the Seven Realms.  It turned the story into something bigger and grander than it already was.  Something even more epic and beautiful.  

The ending...can I just say, perfect?  Absolutely perfect?  It was so beautiful and adorable.  I'm referring to the scene where two certain characters made a, commitment.  And the very last paragraphs, with Alger Waterlow and Hanalea.  BEAUTIFULNESS OVERLOAD.
I have one final thing to discuss: Amon Byrne.  He's been my favorite, since the start.  Whenever he was in a scene, this was me:
I can't possibly begin to cover my love for this book, and this series.  I also don't know how to describe my sadness that it's over.  All my favorite series are slowly coming to a close, last year and this year.  I don't know what I'll do when Light comes out next year.  I think that's the end of my mega-favorite series.  I do think the Seven Realms series should have had seven books.  I would have read them all and loved them all. 
But, alas, I will have to content myself with rereads, because I already miss Han and Raisa and Amon and Fire Dancer and Cat and maybe (or not) even Micah. 

If you haven't read this series yet, you should.  Seriously.  Just go get yourself a copy of The Demon King.
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