View from the window seat:
In this conclusion to the Seven Realms series, Raisa ana‘Marianna is finally Queen of the Fells, but her queendom is on the brink of disaster. Civil war brews as the clans and wizards continue to antagonize and attack each other. This inner turmoil is seen as an opportunity for the southern nation of Arden to strike. Raisa wants to unite her people, but they seem to only agree on one thing: that Han Alister, the man she’s fallen in love with, is dangerous. Han just wants Raisa, and a secret from the past may be the key to holding together the entire queendom and getting everything he wants if he can use it before it’s too late.
I fell in love with this series earlier this year, so The Crimson Crown was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2012. It does not disappoint. One of my favorite aspects of these novels is the tension between the clans, wizards, and Valefolk. All three groups carry prejudices based on events that happened a thousand years ago. None are willing to cooperate or even to listen to other points of view. The wizards and clans make it nearly impossible for Raisa to rule her own queendom and maintain the peace necessary to save them all from the threat of the south. Raisa and Han both struggle to convince these two groups that their division makes the queendom weak.
A major theme that has been building over the series is the idea of reliving the past and how to prevent the same mistakes from happening again. Han and Raisa are forbidden from being together because Han is a wizard, but they love each other. It seems hopeless, like they’ll just become another set of star-crossed lovers like their ancestors Hanalea and Alger Waterlow, doomed to play out the same tragic love story. I love how their belief in each other rises above their doubts and how together they can be the example of a world that can change.
Since the first book, I’ve loved Han Alister. So clever, witty, and handsome! He really outdoes himself in this book. The best thing about Han is how he doesn’t let anything or anyone get in the way of what he wants. He’s up against a thousand years of history, but still he fights. He becomes entangled in scheming, weaving a web of lies that his enemies could use to destroy him. Everyone always blames him for everything that goes wrong, even though every time before he’s been proven innocent. Against such adversity, only Han could succeed.
The Crimson Crown is an excellent conclusion to a series with beloved characters, amazing world-building, and surprising revelations.