Crimson Reign (2022)

Crimson Reign (2022)

by Amélie Wen Zhao
ASIN/ISBN: 9780525707851
Publication: March 1, 2022
Series: Blood Heir Trilogy #3

The return to the Blood Heir trilogy was somewhat difficult because I read Red Tigress nearly a year ago. In Crimson Reign, Ana returns to Cyrilia to face the Empress and take back her throne, but her closest allies no longer accompany her. Ramson has chosen to stay behind in Bergon, while Linn sails home to Kemeira to seek her country’s support for Ana’s rule. As the three embark on their separate journeys, the Empress’s plans will push them back together.

The writing was one of the draws of the first two books, and my opinion of it remains unchanged. The vivid descriptions transported me back into Ana’s world and I welcomed them very much. The plot was fast-paced, and I couldn’t stop myself from binge reading it. I honestly believed I would be satisfied which just one more chapter. I nearly called into work the next day because of a lack of sleep from reading the entire thing. At times, the story seemed overly rushed with resolutions that came too quickly and were not completely satisfying. The ending also arrived much sooner than anticipated and was a bit anticlimactic. There was so much to explore and so much to expand on with the characters separated from each other. I wished the book had been longer to allow more time with each of them. I especially wanted more Linn and Kais because I shipped them in the last book. Additionally, a drawn-out reunion between the characters would have been very much appreciated as well.

Ana exhibited immense growth over the course of the trilogy. In the beginning, she was afraid of the world and afraid of herself. Her experiences and the genuine friendships formed positively contributed to her growth, pushing her to want more and to want better. The tragedies she endured led to a greater understanding of her people and a desire to be a just ruler, something her predecessors were not. Just as importantly, the tragedies taught her self-acceptance and helped her to develop confidence in herself. This change was one I enjoyed witnessing.

Ramson was a complicated character whose arc was one of the most interesting in the trilogy. I greatly appreciated the focus on his backstory in the second novel, which helped enforce what kind of person he was.  The Ramson of Red Tigress and Crimson Reign proved to be most trustworthy, which is great, but I missed the grittier, more slippery version of him in Blood Heir. I especially missed their banter.  

Overall, the Blood Heir trilogy was one I had a good time reading. The action and the twists made it exciting. The beginnings and endings were written especially well. I recommend the trilogy to individuals who like creative retellings and fast-paced novels.

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