Go read The Crimson Queen
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!
1/17/2017 03:02:05 pm
Currently reading it. Totally agree with you.
1/17/2017 03:08:16 pm
I have just started reading it myself! So far its amazing.
1/17/2017 07:39:09 pm
I read mostly epic fantasy so I'll read this while waiting until next month for Blackflame.
1/17/2017 07:55:05 pm
Started reading it when i saw the recommendation (had seen it on amazon already) halfway done and loving it so far.
1/17/2017 08:13:34 pm
On a somewhat unrelated note, Blood Song is one of my favourite novels too.
1/17/2017 08:33:08 pm
Right?! Blood Song was so good!! Then the sequels happened and just brought the entire series down. It had such potential!
1/18/2017 02:55:07 am
Heh, fortunately for me, the author jacked up the price so much, and the reviews were so bad I never read the sequels. So for me, Blood Song is a stand alone novel.
1/18/2017 09:43:37 am
Blood Song is my second favorite novel ever (after Will's collective corpus of course) and Queen of Fire was unreadable. I have wasted so much time trying to figure out just what the hell happened
I don't like saying anything too negative about other authors on the blog, because it just seems...mean-spirited. But as a reader, I was certainly disappointed in Tower Lord and Queen of Fire.
1/18/2017 11:46:49 pm
Ok sure the sequels sucked in comparison, but if it weren't for blood song being so good I don't think people would have found the sequels so bad. I enjoyed them and vaelin deserves the completion of his story.
1/20/2017 07:50:15 pm
Bloodsong was one of my all-time favourites. The sequel was full of virtue signalling, unbelievable power leveling- by certain characters, weird power restrictions on vaelin and just an all time shitty plot. I did not read the 3rd.
2/5/2017 12:50:42 pm
Another series that started really well and just got weird and terrible was Painted man (Warded man). Desert Spear was ok and then downhill it went.
1/17/2017 08:43:47 pm
If you're looking for another recommendation for epic fantasy, I have to go with Terry Mancour's The Spellmonger Series. Its so good. Some of the best points are the world building, spell system, the amazing cast of characters, and how the author makes the relationships actually seem genuine and progress/develop in a real manner.
1/18/2017 02:58:35 am
A solid, well edited, series for mature readers. I couldn't agree more. He also writes at a fairly respectable speed. The only drawback is that I'm not sure how many more novels he'll need to complete the series, but it's a bunch.
1/18/2017 09:00:52 am
I believe he plans the series to be over 30 books or so? I also don't know if thats counting the novellas that are apart of the series. So there will be quite a few more books to go.
1/21/2017 09:06:05 pm
Well edited? Unless he hired an actual editor to go back through all of the books and then everything he writes now I cant disagree more.
1/18/2017 05:08:03 pm
If we're talking "random fantasy I found on Kindle Unlimited that is actually super good", I highly recommend Edward W. Robertson's The Cycle of Arawn series and Patrick Weekes Rogues of the Republic series.
1/19/2017 12:04:58 pm
Hmm, thought I'd posted this earlier but it doesn't seem to have gone through.
1/27/2017 04:53:59 am
I want to thank you for recommending the Spellmonger series. I just finished the first last night and have already purchased all of the following books.
Two midgets in a trench coat
1/18/2017 05:10:05 am
Haven't read the book, but can you really blame all these kingdoms in various stories for hating magic? There's always some sort of dark lord or evil sorcerer who comes along to bring about the apocalypse.
Havel the Rock
1/18/2017 10:40:43 am
Not that that's a bad thing. Giving the pure a valid reason for their actions works in the book's favor, in my opinion.
1/22/2017 09:10:26 am
Except it IS racism -- judging a person on a quality they were born with and persecuting them for that reason alone.
1/22/2017 09:30:39 am
The thing is, after a certain point of danger there is a real argument for "they are natural disasters".
Oh, I'm just appreciating the craftsmanship that goes into creating a world where everyone has believable self-justifications for their actions.
Sorry, saying that they're "completely justified" was poor phrasing on my part. I meant that they are completely justified in hating magic, because it is the very force that destroyed their world. And their actions are justified from THEIR perspective, just not from ours.
Oh, I completely agree. It all works, but there's this tendency to accept them as nothing more than an organization of bad guys right off the bat (Senacus as an individual looks even more noble by comparison to the rest of his order).
1/18/2017 05:53:02 am
That Jan reveal, man... Brought a tear to my dry eyes (dry beacause I broke my glasses halfway through the book but still couldn't stop reading)
1/18/2017 07:20:48 am
It looks like you should be a professional promoter. Willwight.com, the next bookbub. We drove him into the top 100 in fantasy books.
1/18/2017 07:46:17 am
Maybe you would be willzebub. The infernal lord of indie promotion.
1/21/2017 12:05:56 pm
I bought it...must be good if Will recommend it...not sure anyone checked out kings dark tidings ....it's cool. As for blood song trilogy it should have been 6 books. He just bit off more than 3 books could handle. But I do appreciate that he comitted to 3 and finished in 3.
Hey Will and everyone else - wow.
Epic 48 hours or so, actually. It's like my life has been slowly, slowly, slowly building towards this exact moment, and then everything is happening at once.
1/19/2017 11:15:39 pm
First of all, Congratulations! Both for the book and your marriage! I can't wait to start reading it tomorrow. The book that is and not your marriage (I am not a pyschic, unfortunately.)
2/20/2017 07:39:15 am
1/18/2017 09:34:06 am
Seriously. Consider this our collective wedding gift. Your thank you note can be multiple hours of enjoyment with your novel.
1/18/2017 09:45:55 am
I will see what I can do. I try a ton of books and finish many of them. I won't be shy. This one was a gem.
1/18/2017 09:47:00 am
Hey. Have you heard of Blackflame? I hear it's amazing. I keep trying to check it out, but can't find it on amazon.
1/18/2017 09:56:57 am
Ok. So I looked through my catalog. Amazing how many books I have on my kindle. Here are two. One is indie and the other isn't, but I don't think it cracked the charts in half.
1/18/2017 10:10:30 am
Yeah, the cover is a bit misleading. It is a novel. I can't say exactly what it is about them, but they are great in my opinion. It is not my typical type of novel, which may be why I really liked it, because I thought it executed really well. Dialogue is good and realistic, which can be really challenging and the characters interesting.
1/18/2017 05:11:29 pm
Those both look interesting but I have to bitch about how Heir of Night has priced the Kindle edition higher than the mass-market paperback :(
1/18/2017 07:29:13 pm
I didn't notice that, probably because I got it on a bookbub where is was a special price about a year ago. That is how I stumbled upon it.
1/19/2017 12:28:41 pm
So I am also a hardcore reader and I seem to have run out of most of the fantasy/scifi novels that I find enjoyable (literally scouring the internet for book recommendations). However I have never heard of these two series and I will definitely give them a try based on your recommendation. Don't let me down!
1/22/2017 06:27:40 pm
I liked kings dark tidings and light bringer series
1/18/2017 05:08:48 pm
I'm super psyched to read the Crimson Queen and Blood Song. A good series worth a read is the Legend of Eli Monpress. It's not Kindle Unlimited :( but is still worth a couple of dollars.
1/19/2017 01:55:42 am
Maybe a good sci-fi book you can also recommend??
1/19/2017 03:49:18 am
For some reason I haven't found the sci fi offerings from the indie authors to be as good, generally speaking. Two indies, both of whom have enjoyed success are Stephen Bennett with his Koban series (although the more recent books aren't as good in my opinion) and Michael Hicks whose books are split into trilogy arcs that are in the same world, but can be read independently. I enjoyed the second arc the most, starting with Empire (book 4)
1/20/2017 02:48:49 pm
On the indie front, I recently tore through the EarthCent Ambassador series by E. M. Foner - it's a very light and humorous take on future, sort of like if Harry Harrison wrote a series of books about the Culture with an emphasis on interpersonal relationships and character growth.
1/19/2017 10:54:43 pm
Its not an Indie series but I can wholeheartedly recommend the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown as a good Sci-fi series. (Red Rising, Golden Son and Morning Star)
1/20/2017 05:47:37 am
1/20/2017 02:58:22 pm
Starship's Mage was good, but the later books suffered somewhat from what I like to think of as "shounen syndrome" - all seems lost, but then the main character pushes themselves just a little bit more and then they fix the problem.
1/19/2017 03:33:24 am
If u are just looking for a good read, go for the inheritance cycle-Christopher Paolini. One of the best books I have ever read(and I have read more than my fair share of books)
1/19/2017 08:22:07 am
I respectfully disagree, but to each their own.
1/19/2017 09:16:14 am
It's good so far but he's already managed to hit one of my pet peeves in the first few pages -
1/19/2017 02:39:41 pm
Bah humbug, I say
1/19/2017 11:44:49 am
I always think it is interesting how much knowledge is out there that isn't common. I can accept mistakes like that without letting it bother me (I am assuming it wasn't an intentional departure from reality) partially because I wasn't aware even though the sword I had at West Point made that noise since the scabbard was metal, and partially because I consider it a trivial detail.
That sort of detail has never bothered me. There are inconsistencies that do, but only when they interfere with what I would logically expect to happen.
1/19/2017 01:36:06 pm
1/19/2017 01:51:25 pm
I meant to say this a bit earlier, but you really should (both you and Alec Hutson) find a way to get your ebooks on more than Amazon.
1/19/2017 02:56:03 pm
Sadly as long as you use a ereader that has its own site/etc they don't, as far as I know, accept you to go through Amazon.
That's true if you're reading on a Nook. But if you're reading on a smartphone or tablet or computer, you can get the free Kindle app.
1/19/2017 09:31:35 pm
I'm kind of surprised nobody has mentioned the sword of truth saga. Especially the original two/three books. Those were amazing!!
1/20/2017 03:00:31 am
I LOVED the sword of truth novels, especially Zed. My only gripe with then is that the author got too preachy. It isn't that I don't like his philosophy, but when EVERY SINGLE ONE of his books dedicates 10-30 straight pages towards talking about it, it gets a little old.
I think no one's mentioned Sword of Truth because it's a very famous series. If you're into fantasy novels, you've at least heard about them.
Well, since this thread is (very kindly) about my book, and we're discussing great epic-ish fantasies, I think I'll chime in with my favorites.
I doubt you're going to like my books very much, Alec.
I've been extremely busy taking my parents around Hong Kong, but I did find a spare hour this morning to start in on Unsouled, and I'm loving it so far.
1/20/2017 07:00:04 am
Yes, Game of Thrones is amazing. TV show is horribly addicting.
Yes. The Scar is China's second book set in the world of Bas-Lag. They are connected (the major event of the first book was the catalyst for the protagonist in the second book having to leave her home city) but it is not absolutely necessary that they be read in order. Personally, I would - Period Street Station isn't as tight or as well-crafted as The Scar, but it is an excellent introduction to China's world and incredibly fecund imagination.
I change my name every time I make a post
1/20/2017 07:41:19 am
This guy called Brandon Sanderson also wrote a very interesting book about people who eat poisonous metals and might actually be a robot. Would that make his book about cannibalism?
1/20/2017 08:07:52 am
Read the reviews. Cannot stop laughing.
See, i changed my name.
1/20/2017 08:24:35 am
There's a whole list of items with similar reviews. Uranium ore and the hutzler 571 banana slicer come to mind off the top of my head
1/20/2017 08:27:14 am
I've seen the ones for the American Flag and wolf t-shirts, but never any on books. Really funny.
1/20/2017 09:10:39 am
The field guide to the stray shopping carts of North America also has some good reviews
1/20/2017 12:42:37 pm
As the lone Elder Empire fan sits in the corner and sheds a single tear every time he sees the blackflame progress bar. its because once again the book is delayed first in 2015 then in 2016 now in the year 2017. The year of Trump just another thing to add to the list of bad things in 2017*sigh*.
Killers and Kings was never going to come out in 2015. I mean, Dawn didn't come out until 2015 was almost over.
1/21/2017 12:19:23 pm
Well said and well played. Now I can't wait for both
1/22/2017 11:27:35 am
It's funny you mention this, I just read this a couple weeks ago before this post. It was truly very good, and although the story as a whole is familiar, it had many unique elements!
1/22/2017 07:42:57 pm
Just finished Crimson Queen and it is a very good book, and there's not much wing with it. The story is very good, well paced and well written. The only thing I can say about it is that there are too many points of view. I keep having to remind myself of who's point of view I'm reading, and also I find myself wanting more time with certain characters. Too many different stories to follow within the same book. Other than that it was amazing
Sorry about that. I tried to keep the plot to mostly Keilan and Jan, but Alyanna and Senacus kept worming their way into the narrative and refusing to accept their roles as secondary characters. I'll try to tighten things up in the second book. Though, of course, the first chapter is from a totally new viewpoint character. Sigh.
1/23/2017 07:17:51 pm
I just finished the book. Thanks for the recommendation. I enjoyed the story and found it well worth the money. I would probably read any sequels that come of it.
1/24/2017 05:31:08 am
All great suggestions, Chad. Thanks. I'll work on getting that info on my website, but for now:
1/24/2017 05:25:54 am
I enjoyed the book quite a lot! I'm hoping that in the sequels we get to see more of the deep ones.
1/25/2017 07:44:50 pm
I just finished The Crimson Queen about 29 seconds ago. Wow, excellent book. I love when an author creates not just a story, but an entire universe with a deep and fascinating history. It's one of the reasons I have enjoyed your novels so much Will. This was a great recommendation. I appreciate the help finding something to read while waiting for your next book. Alec is now on my radar and I can't wait to see where this goes.
Awesome TS, thanks so much. If you're so inclined, sign up for my not-too-frequent newsletter to find out when I release new stuff. The link is at authoralechutson.com.
2/2/2017 11:33:17 am
Done & thank you for the recommendation! I was in need of a new book to read.
2/6/2017 11:53:34 am
Thanks for the suggestion I read it and it was well done and entertaining. If you need a book to read I would suggest looking at perilous waif if you like syfy or reading the Daniel black series if you wanted a fantasy setting.
Well, obviously you know where my tastes lean: bright and colorful characters, light descriptions, and flashy fights.
2/12/2017 05:17:20 pm
I thought Crimson Queen was a solid book. I posted up the link and indorsement on our blog: www.rolemasterblog.com. hope it helps even a little! We like you too Will!
Thanks, Brian! Now I'm reading about clerics instead of writing Blackflame; what have you done?
Well the comment wasn't meant to collate your works with Alec but I thought Crimson Queen had more identifiable fantasy tropes than your works. Many of the naming was familiar and there were easily understood organizations (Paladins, Assassins, Rangers, Wizards) that pretty much sums it up? The magic was fairly standard: flying, dreadfire, portals etc.
2/13/2017 08:39:04 am
Will - what a generous thing of you to have done for Alec. I'd read Crimson in its draft form ages ago and recall distinctly thinking that if there is a God in any form in this universe, that author must make it... It's a sin for talent like that to not find its audience.
2/16/2017 10:53:35 am
Half way through and really enjoying this.
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