The Crimson Queen is a Kindle book by Alec Hutson. It is his first book, it came out about six weeks ago, and it has 24 reviews so far.
It deserves many more. Go read it.
Seriously, it's the best epic fantasy novel I've read in years. I can't recommend it more highly.
Last week, I had to offer the caveat that I normally don't enjoy LitRPG, so I couldn't comment on the genre as a whole. That is not the case for epic fantasy: I'm extremely familiar with the genre, and this is excellent. The last Kindle-exclusive epic fantasy novel I read that I could recommend without reservation was Anthony Ryan's original Blood Song.
This book was recommended to me by a fan in the comments of last week's blog (thanks, John!) who said it was one of the best stories he'd read in years. I can only agree. I'd never heard of it before then, I've never spoken to the author, and I don't know anything else about it. But it's a great story.
I don't have anything truly negative to say about it, but if I had to scrape the bottom of the barrel:
--The story is familiar. The main character starts off in a fishing village, his mother was a stranger with a mysterious background who is now dead, he's bullied by the local children, and so on and so forth. There's a holy empire that hates magic, assassins who move through shadows, and ancient immortal wizards pulling strings from behind the scenes.
Those are all elements we've seen before, but they're also all awesome, so who cares?
--There are a few typos clearly missed in editing: one character is referred to by the wrong POV name once, some commas are missed, sometimes dialogue is on the same line, and so on. But the rest of the editing is squeaky clean and incredibly smooth, so even the pickiest reader should read right past these minor blemishes.
--Some of the scenes feel rushed. The author spends much more time on description than I do, so every scene is lovingly set, but a few times it feels as though he lingers on setting the scene and then rushes through the actual events. When the chapter comes to a close, I get the sense that it was chopped short.
...and that's pretty much all I can remember that wasn't pure gold.
Seriously, if you're never going to take another recommendation of mine, take this one and go read The Crimson Queen. If you like "epic" fantasy--with all the spider-filled dungeons, quick-witted thieves, sinister wizards, malevolent cosmic forces, holy paladins, and dueling gods--then you won't go wrong.
Go read it!
EDIT 1/18/17: According to the author, sales have remained steady for weeks, but since this post they've spiked higher than ever before! We're doing it! Now don't stop--go read the book, and when you like it (because you will, it's awesome), leave a review and tell a friend! Let's push this guy to the top!
"Calder straightened his back, focused his mind, and opened the door."
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