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A Crown for Cold Silver (The Crimson Empire)…
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A Crown for Cold Silver (The Crimson Empire)

by Alex Marshall

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2581070,238 (3.66)14
"Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history. Now the peace she carved for herself has been shattered by the unprovoked slaughter of her village. Seeking bloody vengeance, Zosia heads for battle once more, but to find justice she must confront grudge-bearing enemies, once-loyal allies, and an unknown army that marches under a familiar banner"--… (more)

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» See also 14 mentions

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Grim fantasy, but with less (i.e., no?) rape and more gender bending than one might find in, say, George R. R. Martin. Still suffers from the more-characters-than-space problem that's common in the genre. ( )
  haloedrain | Aug 3, 2019 |
I loved the Brothers Grossbart (written under another name) and I loved this in a whole different way. The thing they had in common was amazing writing. It's gritty, the world is fleshed out enough to be interesting without being over-detailed, the characters are amazing and realistically flawed. Some very cool magic going on, I love the devils idea.

Other than all that, I think the thing that makes it the most original is that there's not really a completely obvious plot. The characters in this book don't need to throw the ring into mount doom or find the holy grail, or defeat the dark wizard to save the princess. Most of the characters have some kind of goal that has put them in the situation they're in, but that's not pushing the whole story to the end. Instead events are happening, people are dying, there are large political movements taking place in the background, people are betraying each other, but it all seems very "organic".

Can't wait to read the 2nd and 3rd books. My wife has ensured me they're just as good as the first one. ( )
  ragwaine | Jul 22, 2019 |
I started this book with great expectations, because some of the reviews I read promised the kind of story I enjoy, that of an interesting character journey in an epic setting, but unfortunately my expectations were not fulfilled...

Full review at SPACE AND SORCERY Blog ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Dec 25, 2018 |
I have had A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall on my shelves for some time and was rather intimidated by it’s sheer size. And, indeed, this is not a quick read, but this sprawling fantasy epic grabbed hold of me right from the start with it’s great writing, imaginative plot and superb characters and made this a wonderful immersive reading experience.

There are many characters to follow each with their own distinct viewpoint, but mostly this book is about Zosia, known as Cold Cobalt, the Banshee with a Blade or First Among Villains. She had been the leader of a group of formidable rebels but they had disbanded and were living separate lives until Zosia’s life was overturned, her husband and her village destroyed. After 20 years she sets out on a revenge trail and her rebel group once more gather to fight at her side or do they each have their own agenda?

Old grudges, conflicting religious beliefs, imposters, revenge, betrayals and a rather captivating demon dog ignite this story, and the author sprinkles plenty of humor and wry observations along the way. A Crown for Cold Silver was a gritty, dark story with driven, brutal and violent characters that were also engaging and extremely fun to read about. I am looking forward to continuing on with this trilogy. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 23, 2018 |
I like the sub-genre of grimdark fantasy. Right now I don't think anyone is doing a better job of it than Joe Abercrombie. I had heard a lot of early positive things about A Crown for Cold Silver. I was looking forward to getting my hands on it and seeing how it compares. The good news is the book is quite enjoyable and introduces some really interesting twists to the genre. The bad news is that it starts a little slow and the author made some stylistic choices that were a little rough for me.

The story starts many years after Cobalt Zosia and her five villains have conquered the Crimson Empire only to be overthrown themselves. Cobalt Zosia is believed dead and the five villains have scattered around the empire to lick their wounds. The only problem is someone claiming to be Zosia is stirring up the shit again. The five villains begin the long trek to find this new Zosia and see who the hell she is and what the fuck she is up to.

I liked the basic plot. It wasn't anything particularity new to the genre but it did have some nice twists. One of the best parts of the book is how Alex Marshall plays with gender. That alone was almost worth reading the book. I was also a huge fan of the devils and loved that people ate bugs as their drug of choice. The story starts slow, but about 100 pages in Marshall starts applying gentle pressure to the accelerator and the book begins to build to a giant battle where nothing turns out the way you think it might.

The world building is great in the novel. It was definitely a playground I want to return to. Despite its length, I felt there were a lot of little mysteries left lying around. I can't wait to see where they go in the next book. Marshall can also write a fight scene but remember this is grimdark so heads will be flying and curse words will be spewed. One of the most surprising aspects of the book for me was how funny it was. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments nestled in between all that blood.

There were a few things that worked against the story but they were not book killers for me. The world building and introduction of the characters in the beginning of the book was a tiny bit slow. I think some of the characters could have been introduced later or some of the world could have been left a mystery. There were some interesting style choices in the writing also. Some of the language felt like it was plucked right out of the real world. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it felt a little awkward. It's hard to describe. It just seemed to pop off the page and make me think about it. It was distracting but it didn't happen often. I also felt a few of the characters were a little been there done that. Marshall was clearly trying to bring something new to the table, which I believe he succeeded at many times. So whenever I ran into a character that felt fantasy 101 I was a little put off.

The small things did not stop me from enjoying it though. I will gladly pick up the second book (especially since this one basically left off with a giant cliff hanger). While not as good as Abercrombie or Scott Lynch it was worth the read. Block out some time and dig into this monster. Bring some safety goggles though, it gets a little messy.


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This book was a review copy provided by Orbit Books. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
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