In this concluding volume of the series, wizard, thief, and now bodyguard Han Allister longs to marry his charge Queen Raisa, but she's committed to a political marriage to save her quarreling queendom. The "jinxflingers" hate the native Demonai clans, someone is murdering wizards in the slums (and Han is the prime suspect), and the Ardenine army hovers on the border, waiting for an excuse to invade. Only by playing the multiple schemers off one another to heal the country can Han hope to win Raisa's hand. Here the promise of previous volumes is realized: the budding love story springs to full flower and the hints captured in thousand-year-old legends are borne out, while the stakes are ratcheted up to perilous heights. Betrayal, war, and the faith of lovers all come around to a glorious conclusion as Chima weaves together her geopolitical, magical, romantic, and even mythical themes on an epic scale. anita l. burkam—Horn Book
4Q 4P J S When seventeen-year-old Raisa takes the throne, she inherits a queendom on the brink of civil war. The thousand-year hatred between Wizards and Clans is boiling over; Raisa cannot trust her mercenary army or its leaders; neighboring countries are poised to invade; and each faction demands Raisa's arranged marriage or murder (preferably both). She cannot even trust her bodyguard and lover, Han Alister, the former streetlord turned wizard, because he constantly keeps secrets from her. Is he behind the recent wizard murders and the burning of the city? Meanwhile, Han does his best to keep Raisa and her kingdom in one piece, but powerful enemies attack him from every side, physically and politically. In the midst of everything, he discovers that the land's thousand-year-old feud is based on betrayal and lies. Is there any hope for the queendom, or Han and Raisa's love? Chima has built a complex world filled with equally complex characters, living out an expertly structured and balanced plot in which everything that can go wrong does. Lovers of the series will dive in headlong to learn the fate of the people and lands they love, eating up the devious political machinations, the wizard magic, and bloody battles and will tear through the pages to see if true love wins. Newcomers, though, will be hopelessly lost, so only purchase where the series is popular. This fourth book in the Seven Realms series is recommended for lovers of political and action-laden fantasy, though scenes of violence and torture make it more appropriate for high school.-Melissa Moore. Set in an incredibly written fantasy world full of political turmoil, The Crimson Crown's gripping action scenes, coupled with forbidden romance, will immediately pull readers into Han and Raisa's captivating story. This stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series takes readers on a fantastic ride through a country on the brink of both civil and international war, but whose people possess the most important emotion of all-hope. 5Q, 5P.-Camille Birch, Teen Reviewer.—VOYA
Torture and treasure, treason and trust, and the triumph of true love: All come to fruition in the stirring conclusion to this epic fantasy series. Raisa ana'Marianna has claimed the Gray Wolf throne, but her grip is tenuous: Every faction-clans, wizards, army, flatlanders-both within and without the Fells hates all the others, and each pushes Raisa to accept its preferred candidate for consort. Meanwhile, Han Alister has taken his seat on the Wizard Council at the queen's command, but every other member secretly wants to use him or kill him. Furthermore, there are the mysterious murders of wizards, marked with Han's old streetlord sign; all this disarray signals a weakness that encourages invading armies from the South. Together, Han and Raisa seek the long-lost Armory of the Gifted Kings as the only way to avoid re-enacting a 1,000-year-old tragedy; but to wield such a weapon may well trigger an even greater catastrophe. Chima manages to resolve this impossibly tangled skein of politics, intrigue, history, prejudice and passion with style and grace. Grim scenes of shocking violence alternate with moments of tenderness and humor, and the high body count is balanced by the almost fairy-tale romantic conclusion. While some of the depth and complexities of the supporting characters-along with the nuanced subtleties of their conflicting worldviews-are sacrificed to help demonize (or valorize) their respective positions, nothing can overshadow the cathartic satisfaction for those caught up in this sweeping saga. Simply brilliant.—Kirkus
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Cinda Williams Chima is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, and the four books of the Seven Realms series, The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown. She lives in Ohio with her family.