#SPFBO : The Crimson Queen (The Raveling #1) by Alec Hutson

Posted On 7 June 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 6 responses


the crimsonThe Crimson Queen is my eighth read from the finalists of the #SPFBO leaving me with just one more book to complete the competition.  The Crimson Queen was a very entertaining read with a compelling plot and intriguing characters.  It’s quite easy to see why this book is achieving such high praise.

One of the first things I will say about TCQ is it gets off to a really good start.  The hook is virtually immediate.  The way the characters were introduced was intriguing and left me eager to read on and find out more.  We are introduced to a young boy, Keilan, who has a strange knack for knowing exactly the right spot to fish, a particularly helpful ability given that he’s the son of a fisherman.  It doesn’t make him popular with the others in the village though and being a small and superstitious bunch they’re beginning to eye Keilan askew which isn’t good in a world where magic is despised and has all but been stamped out.  We also meet up with Janus (Jan).  His story is something of a mystery because he seems to have forgotten most of it.  He’s been living a regular life until something happened that brought about an ‘awakening’.  Jan is immortal.  He doesn’t recall anything of his previous life but there is a need within him that compels him to start searching for answers.  Senacus is a Paladin of Ama, one of the Pure who seek out magic users in order to ‘cleanse’ them.  Magic is greatly feared, many years ago it was used widely but unwisely and caused devastation beyond imagination.

We’re introduced to the characters fairly quickly and we alternate between different view points.  I enjoyed all the storylines.  There’s plenty to engage with and hold the attention and there’s a good supporting cast.  I particularly like the way that the Crimson Queen doesn’t really come into the story until almost the last third (or quarter).  It helps to build the feeling of suspense.  You’re never quite sure if she’s one of the good guys or not.  There is one particular character, who I won’t elaborate upon, who is very tricksy.  A piece of work indeed.  Strong with magic, manipulative and a character who has no remorse or guilt.

The world building is really intriguing.  We’re given a brief picture of historical events that shaped the world as it now stands.  Of course, history has a way of skewing events and the real nature of what took place is slowly revealed during the course of the story. It’s a a fascinating place with lots to explore, different cultures, ruined cities, religious fanatics, schools of magic and shadowy assassins to name but a few.

On top of this the writing and dialogue are really easy to enjoy in fact I’m really surprised that this is a debut.  It has a quality to it that I would have put down to experience.

In terms of criticisms.  I think the only things that stopped this from being a perfect read were, firstly, the abundance of tropes.  I’ve said it before but one more time can’t hurt – I like tropes, most people do, otherwise they wouldn’t become so overused.  However, providing they’re written well, creatively and maybe with a little bit of something extra they’re great in any story.  I think the author manages to make these tropes work well, due to the strength of writing and the layout of the plot but I thought it worthy of mention.  There is also a slight feeling of deja vu to certain elements.  Jan, for example.  I just couldn’t help picturing the Highlander when I was reading about him – which isn’t to say I didn’t like his character but that train of thought definitely sprung to mind.

Overall I have to say this was a very enjoyable read.  It was easy to engage with, it has a strong plot and is well constructed.  The characters really worked their magic on me and on top of that it remains mysterious and even now, after certain elements have been revealed, there is still the promise of more yet to come.

I would rate this book as 8.5 which equates to 4.25 on Goodreads and would have no hesitation in recommending it.

I received a copy courtesy of the author for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


6 Responses to “#SPFBO : The Crimson Queen (The Raveling #1) by Alec Hutson”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Whoa, this one sounds good. A strong contender for sure. And I’m with you on tropes – I don’t mind them if they’re written well. Sometimes an author can throw in a twist or two and still make it seem fresh, or their technical strengths can overcome the negatives. It sounds like this is the case here.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s an impressive debut and I would definitely like to continue with the series.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    This book projected good “vibes” when you first mentioned it presenting the list of your chosen titles, and now with this review you confirm those early vibes. And when a debut author works so well with their first novel, we must keep a close eye on them… 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Indeed – definitely an author to watch and an impressive debut.
      Lynn 😀

  3. jessicabookworm

    Lynn, I am pleased to hear these characters really worked their magic on you 🙂 And I can’t believe that you have only one more SPFBO book to go! 😀

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