Crimson Reign, by Victor. S. Deane
Good afternoon you beautiful bookish people, how are you?
Have you come across any unique bookish gems lately? If so, I’d love to hear about them.
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Crimson Reign, a dark fantasy novel by Victor. S. Deane.
Crimson Reign is a story of enduring prejudice and discrimination. The Callow Folk (regular human beings) have been at odds with the Minnarians (Homo-Sanguians) for decades. Now, mystery looms as Minnarians turn up dead, with no clue as to who or what is behind the attacks.
For years, relations between the Callowfolk and Minnarian communities have been tense, with the Callowfolk treating the Minnarians unjustly on the basis of their biological difference. A fusion pact, which would unite the two peoples, is due to go ahead, however, these mysterious deaths are only the beginning and someone needs to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.
There were plenty of characters throughout the story and I’d like to discuss three that dominated the overall plotline.
Firstly, I’d like to discuss Amora, dissatisfied wife to the Preacher Vitannion. Throughout the story, Amora is portrayed as a caring woman, who teaches Minnarian children in secret. While most Callowfolk refused to hide the prejudice they felt toward the Minnarians, Amora was one of the few that rose above such petty feelings of difference. Learning about her tragic past endeared her to me over time and I desperately wanted her to find some happiness within her life.
Next, we come to Dr Myrus Cro, an Investigative assistant in the Minnarian murder cases. His goal was to ensure that the grieving families of the departed received the justice they were rightfully owed. He was a persistent and determined man, two qualities that gained my admiration from the start. Dr Cro seemed to me a cautious individual, who was curious but fair in how he went about his investigation. His entire waking time appeared to be dedicated to the murder cases, however, he found brief joyful respites in Amora’s caring company.
Finally, allow me to introduce you to the Preacher, Vitannion, Amora’s grotesque husband. As soon as I met him, I immediately disliked him. He seemed untrustworthy from the beginning, possessing a shadiness about him that could not be ignored, like he was keeping a dark secret from those around him. His stance against the Minnarians was twisted into a religious belief, which he preached to his followers, spreading prejudice throughout the lands. Furthermore, his treatment of others, particularly his wife Amora, did nothing to earn my admiration or support of his goals. He was simply a cruel, callous, and awful individual, which made it easy to hate him throughout.
As I read Crimson Reign, several positive elements stood out to me:
- The author had a lyrical way with words: his writing style made reading this all the more enjoyable.
- There was a masterful exploration of a poignant social topic which relates to modern times (prejudice.)
- The two main perspectives used (Dr Cro’s and Amora’s) helped to shed a different light on the issue of prejudice. Additionally, their shared relationship later on in the story was sweet and innocent, showing a better side to human nature, which contrasted the overall theme.
- The worldbuilding, including the biology and lore behind the Minnarians (The ‘Blood Class’) was fascinating and well developed, drawing me further into the story.
There were also some things that I did not enjoy whilst reading. Below is a short bulleted list.
- Seeing into several character’s minds within the same scene at times made it hard to feel connected or close to any one character in particular.
- At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on in the story. There was a discussion between a few people, then it jumped into a school lesson of some sort and talk of Gods and faith, which I feel weren’t as crucial to the story as the theme of prejudice was.
- Chapter Ten in particular felt disjointed. Things turned so suddenly that I had to go back a few pages, to see if I had missed something. I won’t spoil the story, except to say that there was a unexpected and dramatic change and that it’s suddenness made no sense and therefore left me feeling frustrated.
As always, while reading, I kept alert for any interesting quotes I could share with you all. On this occasion, I happened across four that made me think deeply about the core theme.
1) ‘Look closer and you may see that what is on the surface does not reflect what is beneath.’
2) ‘Never be ashamed of where you’ve come from. Never hide who you truly are.’
3) ‘Action is always necessary for good to triumph.’
4) ‘Have you ever been persecuted for a condition you were born with? – You’ve never had to worry about barriers or pitfalls because of your genetics.’
I felt the pain and relatability in this final quote in particular. Being both Autistic and having Adhd, it has always felt like invisible barriers have cropped up in my life, be they through communication, social ability, or indeed cognitive ability, when compared to others. I’m aware that this story discusses prejudice related more to the concept of how someone looks, however, feel that this quote will still be relatable for many who struggle with genetic differences of any kind.
Overall, I found Crimson Reign to be an imaginative and topically important story, with striking characters and plenty of drama. It was a story of prejudice against biological difference, religion, and the darkness within us.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: Lovers of dramatic dark fantasy novels, with socially relevant themes.
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I hope you all have a wonderful week,