Series: Horngate Witches #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on December 28, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
THERE ARE GOOD GUYS. THERE ARE BAD GUYS. AND THEN THERE’S MAX. Max knows what trusting the wrong person can cost you. Her former friend Giselle, a powerful witch, enslaved Max years ago, turning her into a Shadowblade—a deadly warrior compelled to fight for Giselle. But there’s more at stake now than Max’s thirst for revenge. The Guardians, overseers of the magical world, have declared war on humanity and on any witches not standing with them. Max and Giselle have come to an uneasy truce in order to protect what’s left of Horngate, their coven’s home. Max would do anything for Horngate—even give herself over to a mysterious otherworldly creature in the nearby mountains in exchange for his help. But first, she intends to save the mortal family she left behind. And Alexander, the Shadowblade warrior who could be her closest ally or her deadliest enemy, is going with her.
On a road trip into the unknown, Max and Alexander face wild magic, desperate enemies, and battles that bruise both body and soul. But the greatest challenge will come from unexpected revelations that test everything Max believes about who she is—and where her loyalties lie.
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My Initial Reaction…
Bitter Night was so refreshingly different and yet I was still shocked by how unique a plot Francis managed to weave in Crimson Wind. I was forced to put this book down by restraints like sleep, eating, and work – but I really didn’t want to! Needless to say a must-read!
I continue to love Max. She’s such a complex character, full of anger and so tough – yet somehow vulnerable and loving. In Crimson Wind she has a lot to deal with and somehow she’s still trying to save everyone! And I mean everyone – every complete stranger, totally clueless about what’s happening that she comes across is lucky to have met Max, because she just can’t leave them to die. She has a huge heart despite being a hard-ass, and it just makes her so lovable.
I, unlike most the people around him, have no doubts about Alexander. He’s such a great character – clearly very loyal to those he cares about and tough as hell. He’s also so stubborn – perhaps too much, I know I wanted to shake him a couple times! But I guess you don’t get to being a Shadowblade prime without being stubborn and least that relates to a stubborn determination to stand by Max, no matter what. I loved seeing their relationship develop in Crimson Wind – they’re on a road trip for most of it, so there’s a lot of development – but since disaster keeps striking at it seems to do around Max, it doesn’t progress as far as I (and they) would have liked. Next book hopefully!
There’s not a lot of interaction with the characters we met in Bitter Night, but we meet a lot of new characters and it seems we’re going to see a good deal of them in future books. I’m really excited for what all these new people will mean as the story progresses.
Crimson Wind picks up just a little after the end of Bitter Night, with the Coven trying to recover from the attacks that left them barely standing. Not to mention that tensions are high and the new additions are receiving mixed reviews from the coven, except Alexander. His reviews are unanimous distrust, since he alone hasn’t been added to the coven and he alone could challenge the beloved Max for Prime. And Max has her debt to Scooter looming in her dreams, quite literally and painfully. Facing what he wants from her starts the countdown clock as Max races to save the lives of those she loves and a few others she’s never met as the Guardians amp up their attacks.
Overall a really great, exciting, and unexpected plot. It’s heavy on the fantasy and action elements, and perhaps seems even more so because so much of the fantasy elements are ones I’ve never read before. Although definitely not a romantic or erotic book, the relationship between Max and Alexander continues to develop and delight with sexual tension ready to burst at the seams.
Even better than Bitter Night, which isn’t an easy feat. Crimson Wind leaves you hanging at the end and desperate for the next. (I finished at 2am and immediately started the next one even though I was way past my bed time). I’d recommend having the next book handy before you reach the end of this one.
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But wait! There’s a giveaway!!
As part of my month-long celebration of things that go bump in the night, I’m participating in the Something Wicked Returns Giveaway Blog Hop! This review is one of many of my recommended Paranormal Reads this month and commenting on this post can earn you extra entries in the $25 Giveaway at the end of the month! Enter below and good luck!