Rich, multicultural world building, intricate plot, and dazzling writing.

I wasn’t sure how to review Crimson Queen without giving away the mind-blowing revelation near the end, but here goes:

If you love classic fantasy, read this book!

If you love multiple points of view that weave together a complex tapestry of a plot, read this book!

If you love incredible world building and beautiful prose, read this book!

Whew, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Honestly, I had a hard time getting into the story from the start, since I didn’t see where the tale was headed, and it took several chapters before even learning who the title character was. However, that wondrous, multicultural world building, and unrivaled word-smithing kept me going until the I felt invested in the characters and intrigued with the storyline.

The setting is reminiscent of the post-Roman Empire world, stretching from a Western Europe to a Middle East, and including characters who hail as far away as a pseudo-China. Taking many forms, magic peaked a thousand years before, before a cataclysmic event shattered the world. The story revolves around the rebirth of magic, and not everyone is happy about that.

Crimson Queen is about as close to perfection as it gets, though I do feel the “main” character isn’t as involved in the resolution of the central conflict as he should be; and sometimes, the beautiful language is repeated too often. I probably saw “detritus” more times in the pages of Crimson Queen than I have since I was studying for the SAT. Therefore, I can only give it a 4.99999999.


JC Kang is the author of The Dragon Songs Saga.


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