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The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson – SPFBO Review

The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson – SPFBO Review
3.5
Book Name: The Crimson Queen
Author: Alec Hutson
Publisher(s): Self-published
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy
Release Date: November 28, 2016

Long ago the world fell into twilight, when the great empires of old consumed each other in sorcerous cataclysms. In the south the Star Towers fell, swallowed by the sea, while the black glaciers descended upon the northern holdfasts, entombing the cities of Min-Ceruth in ice and sorcery. Then from the ancient empire of Menekar the paladins of Ama came, putting every surviving sorcerer to the sword and cleansing their taint from the land for the radiant glory of their lord.

The pulse of magic slowed, fading like the heartbeat of a dying man.

But after a thousand years it has begun to quicken again.

In a small fishing village a boy with strange powers comes of age.

A young queen rises in the west, fanning the long-smoldering embers of magic into a blaze once more.

Something of great importance is stolen – or freed – from the mysterious Empire of Swords and Flowers.

And the immortals who survived the ancient cataclysms bestir themselves, casting about for why the world is suddenly changing.

Alec Hutson’s book, The Crimson Queen, has already won some awards and appears to be doing really well on Amazon with over 436 reviews, many of them glowing. My fellow Brits are doing less well with the reviews on the UK website – let’s get some reviews on there, folks.

One of our judges thought the beginning was a little “tropey” but enjoyable. We do like tropes in our books though, it makes us feel comfortable and grounded, so it’s not always a bad thing. One character is an innocent boy who finds himself being gifted with forbidden magic and another is rooted deeply in politics and a more complex plot which balances it out nicely.

It is the political character where one judge found it difficult to keep track of the names and who was who at first, until they firmly settled into the story. Some people would find this easy and others might find it more of a challenge.

There were moments when our judges found it difficult to follow the characters motivation, they seemed to change their minds erratically at times. They also often appeared to conform to stereotypes, but then, we all look for and like different things in our books.

One of the major strengths of the book is the way in which the world was revealed bit by bit, and how the mysteries fall together slowly like a puzzle. This allows the reader to slowly settle into the world instead of being overwhelmed at the start. It hints and then later reveals the deeper aspects of the world and plot. This was a real hook, always keeping the reader interested!

Another big plus was the way different concepts were spun together alongside the different magics and myths. It worked out as one big smooth world, when it could have ended up in chaos.

By the end, the “tropeyness” remained but it was woven through with likeable characters, an interesting plot and fluent prose, which let you dive right into the story and enabled you to easily imagine the scenes and views described.

Another judge who read this one said, “Really enjoyable yarn in the epic fantasy tradition of Feist and Eddings. Hutson’s use of familiar tropes to spin a tale that is nonetheless compelling and new is truly commendable, and I for one can’t wait to dive back into this series when the sequel is released later this year.”

And that’s got to be a good recommendation.

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