Seven Realms: The Crimson Crown

 

Raisa has found that the Fells is in more turmoil than ever. The wizard council and the Spirit Clans are at a boiling point. And outside forces are looking to prey on the instability in the Queendom. The only way to save the Fells, Raisa realizes, is to unite it. But to do so may mean losing the person she cares about most, Han Alister. She can barely keep the streetlord-turned-wizard of her mind anymore. But she knows that to marry him would destroy the Kingdom. Inciting war with the Spirit Clans. And breaking a thousand year old law.

Meanwhile, thanks to Queen Raisa, Hans Alister had risen to become a member of the wizard council, the governing body of wizards in the Fells. But that's not good enough anymore. Han has only one thing one his mind now a days. Raisa. He can no longer ignore his feelings for her. But they can't be together.

Soon though, Han finds himself holding a thousand year old secret that could unite the Fells and give him the possibility of marrying Raisa. But will he live long enough to save the Kingdom and compete his hopes for love? Or will the secret fall into the hands of the Bayar's, who will use it to destroy everything.

With the Fells on the line, a thousand year old secret comes to light that could change everything.

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

 

While, in my opinion, not as good as the 'The Gray Wolf Throne' from a series perspective, this book is the only book in the series that, by itself, is any good. It is the only one that could be a stand alone book and be called anything better than average. The action at the end and the romance throughout, kept the book exciting and made for a fitting conclusion to the Seven Realms saga.

 

Now onto the analysis …

 

The book begins with Raisa at Demonai Camp celebrating her new reign as the Queen. Two chapters later, Han has a meeting with Dean Abelard concerning the Wizard Council, the Bayars, and the new High Wizard. Abelard plans herself to be elected the new High Wizard but to do so she needs one more vote from the wizard council or else Micah Bayar will be voted into the position. She also claims that the Bayars have so much power because they always win and people who oppose them pay the price for losing. Han then comes up with the fantasy of finding something that weaken people's beliefs in the Bayars. That meeting ends and a new one with Crow begins.

 

After he brought Dancer to Aediion in the last book (Sorry. Missed discussing that in the review) Crow had become very silent. Han tells him that he will be traveling to Grey Lady for the Wizard Council Meeting and that he probably won't survive without his help. That gets Crow back.

This is where Crow finds out that Han is his descendant. He took that news kind of oddly, but considering he didn't even know that he had had children with Hanalea that should be expected. He also tells Han of a series of secret passageways beneath Gray Lady that will give him access to the Council room.

I personally can't believe that the Bayar's never found and destroyed these tunnels, but considering the amount of magic that was placed on them by Crow, that may not be surprising. But then again, the Bayar's are a pretty powerful family of wizards. And they have had a thousand years. Anyway, Han, assuming that information is all correct, goes ahead and uses it to gain access to Gray Lady.

Of course, this conversation is where we finally get a real feel for how the Han - Raisa relationship is going. Because Han finally goes ahead and claims that he plans on marrying her. I had been predicting this for sometime, so the revelation really only confirmed my guessing. But at least Han knows what he wants at this point. I don't think Raisa has the faintest clue what she truly wants for a love life.

 

So now, with the Wizard Council meeting looming lets go back and remember something that Han told Abelard. He said that they needed to find something to discredit the Bayar family. I was pretty much like "Where the hell are you going find some information to do that?!!?". Actually it didn't take very long.

Because, Willo finally reveals the identity of Dancer's father. Gavan Bayar. So that was pretty easy for Han to find. Lord Bayar courting a clan girl; something he himself claims to dislike; that will definitely discredit him. As I previously said, these books are full of hypocrites.

Anyway, so Han decides to take the two of them with him to the meeting to use as leverage against the Bayar's. Good idea Han. Except for the fact that they would be killed the second they stepped foot in that meeting room. Especially Willow.

 

The story flashes back to Raisa who dismisses her army general, General Klemath. I agree that she should have an army of as many native Fellsians as possible. And the General's refusal to do as she wishes speaks a lot about his loyalty to her. As Amon said earlier, you have to surround yourself with loyal trustworthy people. Klemath was not loyal or trustworthy. So … good call Raisa. Too bad this comes back to haunt her in the last book.

As to Amon's comment about her being confident, you can be confident and have absolutely no idea what you're doing. And, as sad as it is to say, that is probably what is really going on with Raisa. She is confidently having no idea what she is doing.

 

We then go back to Han who stumbles out of the passages into the Council house where he meets Fiona. He did have a discussion with her in the previous book, and this meeting furthered that discussion. And this is where Fiona suggests that Han kill Raisa and Mellony, opening up the throne to Fiona to claim.

Honestly, what makes Fiona Bayar think she will claim the throne. A hundred other people could claim that throne besides her. I know she would be convenient and powerful and with the backing of the wizard council and other powerful figures in the Fells, but what makes her so confident someone won't get to it first. Don't have any idea what she was thinking with this plan, because it is not a good one.

 

Now we finally get to the damn meeting we have been hearing so much about.

 

The Bayars try to blame Han for the killings in Ragmarket. Bad idea Bayars. Bad idea. They then get into an argument on who interests Han was on the council to represent: his own, Raisa's, or the clans. Probably his own, is the real choice. But his and Raisa's interest are somewhat aligned. We learn that Lord deVilliers, one of Abelard's supporters, had been killed.

And finally the High Wizard.

They decide to ultimately postpone the election for sometime, but its not the Bayars who want that. They want Micah elected right away. Luckily, this gives Han time to propose and enact his master plan.

 

And his master plan is to become High Wizard. And Raisa freaking approves his decision. Isn't that convenient. It’s a good choice from Raisa's standpoint. As she said, the post of High Wizard should be filled by someone willing to work with her to better the kingdom rather than to gain power over other wizards. And Han would definitely fulfill that post.

 

There are some chapters between Han's decision to become High Wizard and the actual vote, and their contents are not terribly important.

 

And so we advance to the High Wizard vote. First, Lord Bayar mentioned "flushing out" the murderers of the wizards by burning parts of Ragmarket. This is a horrible idea from two standpoints. One, if it happens, Han will immediately tell Raisa it was the Bayar's who enacted it, and she will have them arrested and tried for murder. And two, why would burning Ragmarket flush out the killer. If the killers are ragmarket gangs, then wizards destroying their home is only going to incite anger and cause more murders. And if its not, than the murders keeping going on. It does nothing. Nothing at all.

Now, concerning the vote. Of course Micah and Han are those who stand for the position. Micah receives his customary two votes, as does Han, leaving the deciding vote to Adam Gryphon; who votes for Han. Even though he was supposed to ally with the Bayar's. Should be surprised by this outcome; not at all. This is a book, of course Han was going to get elected High Wizard. That’s how books work.

With Han now High Wizard he can go about ruining the Bayar name. And he doesn’t waist any time. His plan to bring In Dancer and Willow to accuse Bayar of courting a clan women worked to a tee. The resemblance between Lord Bayar and Dancer was unmistakable. And Lord Bayar gave nothing but a shaky explanation for the resemblance. While the Bayar's are not completely screwed over yet, they have dug a hole. And when Han acquires the Armory of Gifted Kings (AGK) they will definitely be in a world of hurt.

 

After the meeting we get some fun action. Like the burning of Ragmarket. Turns out, Lord Bayar would not be waiting for Han to weasel his way out of the job of burning down his home, and would do it himself. Fortunately, Han and Micah both make it back in time and help to corral the fire. This is where I really start questioning Micah's character. Is he good? Is he bad? Where do his allegiance's lye? With Raisa? With hie father? What is his deal? We will discuss him later. Its also a good thing that dancer came back in time to divert the river and douse the fire. Something else not done since the inaction of Naeming. (At this point, they should just throw the Naeming out the window. Its not being followed anymore. By anyone.)

 

With Ragmarket saved, and the Bayar's trying to blame the fire on Han, Han needs now, more than ever, the Armory of Gifted Kings; and so he agrees to allow Crow to meet with Lucius; regardless of the imminent possession. But Crow decides to tech him how to bring Lucius to Aediion. And so that happens.

And we finally get the story of Hanalea and Alger Waterlow. They were lovers who snuck off to be together. Meanwhile, a jealous Lucas Frasier betrays Alger Waterlow to the Bayars who attack and trap Waterlow in the amulet. Hanalea becomes Queen and marries Lucas and has Alger Waterlow's children. Meanwhile, the Bayars, trying to remove Waterlow from the amulet end up releasing forces that shake the Seven Realms. The Breaking. The breaking was the fault of the Bayar's. Not the Demon King. As Crow previously said, "history truly is written by the victors". But I guess that’s what you get for winning. If you want to write the history, win.

 

We move over to Raisa who finally learns the true story of Han. His connection to the Demon King. His royal lineage. Everything. And she finally does what I thought she should have done a while ago: threaten the clans with war should they kill Han. She has the power to do so. And the clans sure don't want a war on their hands. So it’s the perfect threat. I only wish it would have been enacted. That would have been a fun time.

 

And then to the Garden. Hanalea's Garden. Where the final thing I have been waiting for happens. Raisa finally agrees to marry Han. She finally chose to stop navigating the political world of marriage choices and marry for love and happiness. All the readers know that's what both characters wanted. And I always knew Chima would get to this point, but I didn't expect it until the very end of this book. Not half way through. So the act was unsurprising, but the timing was. Han also revels he will be going after the Armory of the Gifted Kings.

Halleuljah. We can get this thing over with.

 

The AGK is pretty awesome. Its freaking buried under the mountain Hanalea. Just miles from Grey Lady. And no one knew about it. It was so heavily guarded, that Crow himself had to get through some of the traps. And I loved some of the traps. Like the sing-you-to-sleep-then-pick-your-bones-clean-of-flesh birds. That an imaginative creature there. One that doesn't even compare to Harry Potter and Fablehaven. I wished we saw more of them (we kind of do, but not really). And then we finally get to the damn Armory.

It was described like I assumed it would like. A bunch of flash pieces and relics with magical abilities, randomly placed in a room. Nothing special about it.

 

The Crimson Crown is another matter. The Crown of the Gifted Kings. Crow probably should have picked something less valuable if stolen for Han to remove from the Armory, because the removal of the Crown turned out to be a disaster.

 

Like when the Bayar's find Han and take the Crown. Those Bayar's are ruthless people. Honestly, they are most cut-throat antagonist I have ever read. None of them, except Micah in some cases, have any morals. To them, torture and murder is just another way to eliminate a rival. They have no concern for human life besides their own. It was a good thing that Crow remained in Han's body while the torturing went on, otherwise their would have been no Han for the remainder he series and everything would have gone downhill.

And as I spoke about before, removing the Crimson Crown from the Armory of Gifted Kings was not a good idea. Now the Bayars have everything they need to restart the Line of Gifted Kings. A candidate. The crown. And proof the AGK is real. No one could oppose them.

 

And so, while Han is busy getting himself tortured, Raisa is dealing with much bigger issue. Like when Gerard Montaigne and General Klemath team up and decide to try and take over the Fells. Raisa had been waiting for an outside army to come after the Fells, and once again she proved to be right. She already has proven to be as good a Queen as Marianna was described to be. And she's barely done anything. Just her outlook on how things are going to happen makes her well suited for a ruling position. Too bad, she becomes surrounded and has no hopes of a true escape. Her only chances are to marry out of her position (not going to happen), starve (likely), or fight (certain death).

Isn't this a precarious position.

 

And while she is stuck in this situation, Micah becomes the barer of news that Han is dead; killed by the Bayar's after they found out he was behind the wizard murders. Of course that a lie, but Raisa doesn't know that. And she essentially collapses, no longer caring about the fate of herself or the Queendom she controls.

Normally, in books like this, protagonists deal with deaths in a more courageous way. They use the deaths as fuel to do whatever they have to do. But Raisa here decides that she is done with everything after Han's death. I am not sure why Chima decided to portray her that way, and I can't say that I found it good for her from a character perspective. It makes it look like she is more concerned with a love life then the fate of the Queendom.

 

Meanwhile, we finally reach another critical point in the series. When Han finally squares off with the Bayars. Lord Bayar and Fiona have finally agreed to allow Han to live if he shows them the location of the AGK. So Han gets all the way to the room before the birds when all of a sudden Fiona gets shot with an arrow. This frees Han and allows for a final duel with Lord Bayar.

And his death was fitting. What better way to die then to have your flesh picked clean by birds. Good choice Han. Nice and painful. Definitely deserving.

 

So now, with the Bayar's out of the way, Han can focus on one last thing rescuing Raisa from the army that surrounds her. But to do that, he needs support from the wizards and the clans. Too sides that have been at opposition for a thousand years. This is where Han becomes a good negotiator. He gets the clans to commit by telling them he will reveal the location of the AGK to the wizards who will use it destroy the clans. And he gets the wizards to commit by telling them he will let the clans destroy the AGK. I personally don't think he would have let either happen. But the parties involved don't know that. And so we get some amount of a truce between the clans and the wizards of the Fells. Finally!!!!!

 

And so the attack begins. Crow reveals a secret set of tunnels into Fellsmarch castle that they use to try and get Raisa out of the castle when the attack begins. Unfortunately, Raisa has gone off to try and rescue her sister from being a hostage. So an all out battle takes place in which Han, Raisa, Mellony, Amon, Micah, and everyone else important survives. Too bad. I always like when important people die. It makes stuff so much more interesting. And with the destruction that was caused, Montaigne retreats and the Queendom I saved.

 

But Han and Raisa still have to explain their marriage to the Demonai and the clans. And this is where we learn the extent of mistrust between the clans and wizards. The amulet that was originally made for Han was made so that should be used against the Demonai the user would die. The Demonai had been plotting to kill Han after he outlived his usefulness after all. And should he have defended himself, he also would have died. That is truly despicable. If I was Raisa I would have type of magic banned under penalty of death. Good thing Dancer figured it out and lost his amulet in book 2.

And so Raisa and Han marry and everything is al wrapped up and done. Right.

Wrong.

We still don't know who was killing the wizards in Fellsmarch city.

 

And it was no one we expected. It was Reid Nightwalker. He was trying to frame Han so he could marry Raisa. He killed the wizards. He framed Han. He even killed Marianna. He is the source of half of Raisa's issue in the last two books. And this is someone she was considering marrying. He would have killed her too had it not been for Night Bird who swooped (**get it!!**) in and killed Nightwalker.

I knew there was always a reason I liked Night Bird.

 

And so now, everything is done. The Seven Realms are safe. Han and Raisa are happily married. The Naeming is no more. And everything is good. I just wish there were more books in this series to continue with. The adventure they took me on was one I was not expecting. I honestly picked up the first one based on the title, and read the rest just to see what happened. I predicted them all to be a lot like the first one. Average to below average. They weren't. They were excellent.

For more about the series, see my, The Seven Realms, series page.