Crimson and Cream
Crimson and Cream is the debut fantasy novel from author, C.M. Skiera, and a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an exciting series.
The story begins with Flotsam and Jetsam, twin orphans nicknamed for the water they were pulled from after fleeing from the men who killed their parents. Their parents had been killed for being sorcerers after the king outlawed magic. On their birthday, they sneak onto the grounds of the king's castle at the behest of the headstrong Jetsam, in hopes to procure fruit from the abundant orchard there. After being spotted, the twins are sent into a dangerous chase, one that serves as a catalyst for the adventure to follow.
This seemingly innocuous beginning turns into a quest to discover the secrets of the twins' past while being hunted by a bounty hunter whose sole motivation is to cement his legacy, no matter the cost. Intense battles with trolls, being abducted by a group of men with questionable motivations, fleeing from a vicious bounty hunter, and encountering a massive beast out of legend are just a few of the exciting situations we find the unlikely protagonist thrust into. And let me tell you, it's an intense, fast-paced ride until the end.
One thing that really struck me with Crimson and Cream is the massively emotional whack over the head that C.M. Skiera introduces fairly early into the story(sorry, not going to spoil anything here). Although the story doesn't quite reach the same level of emotional impact afterwards, the scene is bold, and is plays a pivotal role in character growth throughout the book.
The story is very well written and plotted. C.M. Skiera has a wonderful talent for description and dialogue, and his characters are unique and interesting. The story introduces several original concepts, though also treads familiar fantasy ground, mostly in Tolkienesque fashion(completely meant as a compliment). Though having Book One included in the title of this book, you can't help but be a little disappointed as the last page ends, leaving many unanswered questions. Hopefully we won't have to wait long for the answers!
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