The Crimson League by Victoria Grefer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First off, WOW. Did not expect this book to be as good as it was, but it outshines all of my expectations. When I say that this book is an adrenaline rush every chapter I mean it. There is some sort of drama or action scene each chapter that keeps you on the edge of your seat while reading. Whats more is that the author introduces plot twists enough to keep you guess but not so much that you don't know what is happening or are unable to predict some of the stuff that is going to happen. This novel is very refreshing, it is not superficial in any way, and it does not go into tedious detail about what is going on in the story. That isn't to say that the book isn't slow at parts but the author mixes up the detailed sections and the actions sections. Another thing that is refreshing is that there is no true love triangle, nor is there any "true love" back story, it is a direct story about the main character. The love triangle that is present is such that the reader can see it coming but the author does not push it on the characters. This is interesting to me particularly how the book ends, because it does not happen how the reader would expects the book to end, that isn't to say that the ending is bad. Instead I think the book ends very well and the author finishes with tying up all of the loose ends as well as give the reader a little insight into the future of the world that has been created.
This book is incredibly realistic in its depiction of events, more so that most other fantasy war books that I have read. By this I mean that even though there are magicians present they are not given miraculous powers like they are in other novels of this type. Instead they have very clear limitations that they have to deal with. Also this novel gives the villains attributes that makes you want to hate them as well as makes it difficult to hate them. I enjoyed this because it lets the reader decide which side to pull for, though as a reader we understand which side is going to come out in the end. Also the main character, Kora, is portrayed very wells in that she isn't completely innocent and heroic, as is true with all true heroes.
There was only one true problem with this book and that is that the author would occasionally speed the storyline up and make it seem that there was nothing for the characters to do. But then the author would introduce a seemingly random tangent that would introduce a new plot line that was eventually brought back into the main plot or it was wrapped up at the end. Another aspect that was detracting from the story is that there were sometimes that the story would become drawn out for a bit when the author may not have needed it but there was always some way that it would come back to the main story.
Ok, now for the characters.
The main character that I liked the most was a tie between Kansten and Lanokas. I liked Kansten because of her attitude toward the leaders in the Crimson league as well as her desire to take Kora under her wing and protect her as they both grow as characters. I also find myself wishing that Kansten and Kora could become sisters in some strange way so that they would have a reason to stay connected, but of course that cannot happen, but they do stay connected in a unique way. I liked Lanokas because he was a true gentleman, even in the face of adversity and all that he had gone through as a child. He truly cared about those around him and would do anything to help them survive the war.
The main character that I did not like was Menikas. i understand why he was the way that he was, due to what happened to him as a child also, but I felt that his character was a foil for Lanokas as well as Kora. I think the main reason that I don't like him is that he is too focused on his job, and while that is beneficial it still causes problems within his group. Had he been more lenient in his leadership I think the major rift that forms could have been prevented.
The main reason that I only rated this book a 4 instead of a 5 is not that I didn't enjoy the book enough but that I was able to put the book down. I know this is weird but the book did not have that engrossing factor that made it where I couldn't put it down, but that may have just been because of the intensity of the story.
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