Hello fellow book nerds!
Back in 2019, this was one of my most anticipated book releases. I had it pre-ordered and it arrived on my house the day of release. Fast forward to 2022, and I still hadn’t read it. But I had the opportunity to review Crimson Reign on audio and said yes, now is finally the time!
Also, I’m obsessed with the UK covers, so that’s why those are the ones pictured.
Amelie Wen ZHao
4 out of 5 stars
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are deemed unnatural–even dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, is one of the most terrifying Affinites.
Ana’s ability to control blood has long been kept secret, but when her father, the emperor, is murdered, she is the only suspect. Now, to save her own life, Ana must find her father’s killer. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is one where corruption rules and a greater conspiracy is at work–one that threatens the very balance of Ana’s world.
There is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to the conspiracy’s core: Ramson Quicktongue. Ramson is a cunning crime lord with sinister plans–though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.
I’m a little mad at myself for waiting so long to read this? This was honestly way better than I thought it was going to be. Maybe it was because I waited so long but I’m glad I finally picked it up. Once I started, it was so hard to put down. I absolutely devoured every part of this story. There were so many things I really enjoyed about this book. The magic system was interesting and so was the plot itself. While it is definitely inspired by the Romanov’s and Anastasia, it really is its own story. Since I did do this on audio, the flashbacks did throw me off a little bit. I’m not sure if it was more clear in the actual book, but it took me some moments to realize that it was a flashback, especially because they happened so often. I really didn’t see the ending coming though, on Ana’s part. I thought Ramson’s was pretty obvious but I still enjoyed the journey to it.
I really enjoyed the characters. I thought Ana was a good main character to follow as she fights for the truth. There were a couple of things that annoyed me about her though. She talked about her blood magic as it was this thing she hated, but it was always (and I mean always) the first thing she resulted too. I found it a little redundant. Then she was also so quick to anger. Ana almost never thought anything through and went straight to action. This was another characteristic I didn’t really appreciate. It is obvious that her character is going to grow a lot throughout the rest of the series and I’m excited to see her grow out of these habits and into a better character. Ramson is exactly as I expected him to be. Throughout the whole book every action he did made sense and I really liked his character as well. Ana and Ramson definitely compliment each other and I will absolutely continue their journey.
Overall, Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao was a great read. I really enjoyed the retelling and the story of this book. While it was inspired by Anastasia’s story, it really is it’s own. The pacing was fantastically done and I loved the writing. There were a couple characteristics of Ana’s that I didn’t like but it is clear she is going to grow so much and I can’t wait to see the development. Ramson was as expected and definitely compliments Ana’s character. I absolutely recommend this story if you enjoy fantasy with forbidden magics and a princess in disguise.
NOTE: The narration does not affect my rating of the book
I could not imagine any one else beside Emily Woo Zeller narrating this book. I was so excited when I saw it was her. She did an amazing job bringing this story to life. As I did mention in my review though there was a lot of back and forth between present and past with no indication. This could trip up some newcomers to audios but I think it would be enjoyable enough!