June 17, 2022

REVIEW Crimson Reign (Blood Heir Trilogy #3) by Amelie Wen Zhao

Crimson Reign (Blood Heir Trilogy #3) 
by Amelie Wen Zhao
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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The time has finally come for the Red Tigress to reclaim her birthright in the final book of Amelie Wen Zhao’s Blood Heir trilogy, Crimson Reign. Ana Mikhailov is racing against the clock to dethrone her evil aunt, the psychotic Empress Morganya, and reclaim the powers that were taken from her. For those of you (like me) who haven’t read Blood Heir or Red Tigress recently, no worries! Ms. Wen Zhao did a great job of incorporating a recap of sorts into the first couple of chapters of the book. 

We finally got the Ramson/Ana moments we've been waiting for! Their journey has by no means been easy (this is one of those cases where the author loves tormenting their poor characters), but it was a privilege to witness and see how their story ended. I love a good happily ever after ending! While the romance between Ramson and Ana was a highlight, I think Linn was my favorite individual character. It was a treat to have some of the chapters be from her point of view, and I loved getting to see her character arc and her friendship with Ana grow over the course of the books. 

In addition to the characters, the worldbuilding and the magic system in this book are superb. Crimson Reign is definitely high fantasy as far as I’m concerned, and Ms. Wen Zhao’s worldbuilding makes the storyline feel almost cinematic (the narrator definitely helped with that too). The system of Affinites is one of my top five favorite magic systems of all time in books. The author expands on the magic system she built in the first two books, and while many of the additions were predictable it was still fun to read about.

The audiobook for this book (and the other books in the series) is amazing. The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, is the same for all three installments. She has a very engaging and vivid style of reading, so I was very entertained by her narration. A strong performance altogether, and I’ll be on the lookout for more books narrated by her in the future. 

Overall, Crimson Reign was an amazing read/listen - an explosive finale and close to the Blood Heir trilogy that was well worth the wait. I can’t wait to read more of the author’s books in the future (Song Like Silver, Flame Like Night is already on my TBR list for 2023). If you are a fan of epic/high fantasy books at the young adult level, I highly recommend you check out the Blood Heir trilogy.

About the Book

For fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Six of Crows comes the thrilling conclusion to the Blood Heir trilogy. A princess with a dark secret must ally with a con man to liberate her empire from a reign of terror in this epic fantasy retelling of the Anastasia story.

The Red Tigress, Anastacya Mikhailov, has lost the gift she was only beginning to realize defined her. Stolen from her during the battle in Bregon, her blood Affinity rests with Sorsha Farrald, a dangerous Affinite who is on the run, headed straight to Cyrilia and to Ana's aunt...the Empress Morganya.

Though she is weakened, Ana's course remains true--yet her return to her homeland reveals a Cyrilia on the brink of collapse. Morganya's tyrannical rule has transformed into a sinister quest for unquestioned authority, and she has set her sights far beyond Cyrilia. Morganya seeks a legendary ancient power, rumored to have once belonged to the Deities themselves. If she can locate it, she can rule the world.

What's more, Ana's allies, the insurgent Affinite rebels known as the Redcloaks, no longer support her. For their allegiance is with the people--and there can be no equality with a monarchy.

Ana faces enemies at every turn, and every day without her Affinity brings her closer to death. Yet she is determined to liberate her people and vanquish the legacy of her own imperial bloodline--the inequality sewn into the fabric of her land. Her only hope lies in the navy she recruited in Bregon, the courage of her band of friends, and the cunning crime-lord-turned-captain she's fallen for.

If Ana loses this fight, it will be her last. And Morganya's reign of darkness with consume the world.

About the Author

Amélie Wen Zhao is a Paris-born Chinese national who fell in love with stories since she was old enough to hold a book. Raised in an international community in Beijing, she had the opportunity to grow up steeped in the values and teachings of three different cultures. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Les Misérables, and Wuthering Heights were among her favorite works.

It wasn't long before she wanted to tell her own tales. After graduating from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business in 2014, Amélie began working as a finance professional by day, and writing by night. Her young adult fantasy trilogy, BLOOD HEIR, debuts in 2019 from Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House.

Amélie hopes to empower young readers with messages of acceptance, strength, and love through her works, and to continue to push the boundaries of young adult literature by exploring new, cross-cultural themes.

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