Book Review | Crimson Wind by Diana Pharoah Francis

October 4, 2013 Blog Fun, Reviews 31

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review | Crimson Wind by Diana Pharoah FrancisCrimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Series: Horngate Witches #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on December 28, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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!

The Characters…

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.

The Story…

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.

Concluding Sentiments…

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!

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About Diana Pharaoh Francis

I was raised on a cattle ranch in Northern California (outside a town called Lincoln which is now part of an enormous sprawl). I taught myself to ride a horse at the age of six, as no one had the time to teach me—they were all busy learning how to irrigate, how to cajole an angry bull into another field, how to pull a calf… Afraid of heights, and absolutely sure I was going to die, I managed to scramble up on the back of a very patient and lazy strawberry roan destrier, and plod off into the sunset.

Thereafter, I spent much of my early life on horseback, or so far buried into a book that the rest of the world ceased to exist (much to the annoyance of my family—it took several attempts to get my attention). We all had very specific jobs on the ranch and mine was horses and cattle—out rounding up at dawn. And since I rode bareback, my standing request was to wake me up 5 minutes before everyone else headed for the barn—time enough to dress and eat my Wheaties, and no sleep time wasted on saddling.

After high school, I attended college after college, racking up a BA and MA in creative writing and a Ph.D. in literature and theory. My very patient and supportive husband traipsed across the Midwest and back to Montana for me (though my husband insists that he’s been running and hiding and I just keep finding him), where I now teach at the University of Montana-Western. We also a son Q-ball, who in our humbly unbiased opinions, is the most wonderful son ever produced, and a daughter, Princess Caesar, who is the most wonderful daughter ever produced.

I have a fascination for the Victorians, weather, geology, horses, plants and mythology, I like spicy food, chocolate and cheesecake, and I have an odd sense of humor. (Or so I’ve been told. Often.) Incidentally, the Pharaoh is in fact my real name, and oddly enough, is of British origin.

Some of my current favorite sf/f writers are Ilona Andrews, Carol Berg, C.E. Murphy, Patty Briggs, Lynn Flewelling, Rachel Caine, David Coe, and Anne Bishop.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

31 Responses to “Book Review | Crimson Wind by Diana Pharoah Francis”

  1. Mer

    This sounds like an interesting series! You mentioned it ends with a cliffhanger, but can you just jump in with this one, or is it necessary to start with #1?

    • Berls

      I’d definitely recommend reading the first book to start with. I think technically Francis does a good enough job talking about characters and events for you to start on this one, but seeing it is so much better than getting the summary. You just won’t know the characters as well if you don’t read #1. This book is definitely better than #1 though.

  2. Erika Messer

    Thank you for the great review! I LOVE witches and books about them are just that much better 🙂 I want to read this series after reading your review.

  3. BookLady

    What an exciting series! I love urban fantasy series where there is great character development and world-building. Thanks for sharing your detailed review.

    • Berls

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I love the characters in this series – it gets better and better as you go.

  4. salena smith

    I can’t wait to read these books! 🙂 Loved the review. It made me want to read it even more. It really sounds like my kind of read. Happy Reading! v-v

    • Berls

      Thanks! These are definitely great if you like action and intensely magical worlds. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

    • Berls

      This series is awesome action and the sexual tension is pretty great. I hope you like it! Thanks kimba 🙂

    • Berls

      This series just keeps getting better and better! I couldn’t stop and read straight through them all. Hope you get a chance to read them 🙂

  5. Gabbie Pintac

    I haven’t read this series yet but they sound really interesting. Hopefully I can get a copy soon cause I love reading about powerful, badass characters like I said on your review on the first book 🙂 Added to my tbr as well! Great review!

    • Berls

      Thanks Brandee – can you believe I got all but the last book in the series for free? So good – I hope you enjoy it!

  6. Maricris Patrimonio Dimla

    This is the second book and i havent read the first one yet..Again, your review is very detailed which i love! The story sounds cool! Thank you again for sharing!

    • Berls

      You’ll definitely want to check out the 1st one before Crimson Wind – but I hope you get to check out the whole series, each book gets better and better. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. Pamela D

    This sounds like a really good book, I am going to have to check it out. I like romance in my books, but I usually like it to play second fiddle to my action and fantasy, so this series sounds perfect.

    If I win the giveaway, however, I would have to go out and get Parasite by Mira Grant, because I am really excited about it.
    Pamela D recently posted…Kick-Off: Fraterfest 2013My Profile

    • Berls

      The romance is definitely a back drop – I’d say this is true Urban Fantasy, in that the action and fantasy elements get the star role. But DPF sure knows how to work the sexual tension! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

      I’ve been hearing about Parasite more and more lately but I haven’t read anything by her yet, so I’m waiting for reviews. Good luck in the giveaway 🙂

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