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A War in Crimson Embers

(The Crimson Empire #3)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  712 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The final book in the Crimson Empire trilogy, a game-changing fantasy epic featuring an unforgettable warrior.

Former warrior queen and now pariah, Cold Zosia wakes in the ashes of a burning city. Her vengeance has brought her to this - her heroic reputation in tatters, her allies scattered far and wide, and her world on the cusp of ruin.

General Ji-Hyeon has vanished into t
Kindle Edition, 592 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Orbit
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  712 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Great ending to the trilogy! Choplicker still my fav. The book was left in a way it could keep going, but I’m happier with this ending

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2019-shelf
Some epic fantasy is all about the meticulous worldbuilding, others about the way it's written, and others love to revel in the plot.

This one just finishes us off in the trilogy by being bloody FUN. I may have mentioned in the previous books how much I love crusty old women taking up the sword and waging war and all, but this takes it all the way. The whole world is embroiled in a fight of mortals against demons and past enemies team-up.

Bt do you know what's best? The damn crusty language. It's
I want to write a proper review eventually but for now I just want to say this series is the best "casual inclusion" of lgbt characters and women in a fantasy I've seen in any sort of media and might have skewed my standards now ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The series started off with a lot of fan-fare and hyped reviews back then. It was too tempting for me to resist so i got into it. As the follow-up books came out, i noticed a significant decrease in interest though, probably why i found out way too late that the final book was already out. I remember being so pumped getting into it, enjoying the differentness and the humour quite a bit in book one although the book didn't really commit to the one thing that had actually made me pick it up; Zosi ...more
Keith Pishnery
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Definitely not as good as book 1 or 2. 1 remains a favorite, and 2 has some of the craziest moments, but, it meandered for quite awhile, got very big and climactic, then had quite an unexpected ending. Overall, I really enjoyed the trilogy, but felt most of book 3 was lacking the focus and plot the first 2 had.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A satisfying conclusion to one of my favorite modern fantasy series. Hoartrap the Touch is definitely my favorite "evil sorcerer" in fantasy - he's sinister, sure, but also a wisecracking, arrogant jerk and a lot of fun. ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, weird, ebook
As a finale, this had everything I wanted: an inventive and brutal monster army; long journeys in a time-dilated Dreamlands; friends and lovers reunited; fate of the world resolved in a non-traditional genre ending; interesting backstory elements revealed; etc. The problem is that almost none of worked for me. I'm not sure if it's really all that different from the previous books, but the narrative voice and pace stood out in a bad way where I'd enjoyed them before.

Ultimately, it feels like two
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love all of these characters and this was a good end to a long tale. I especially love that the author took the time to let us know what the characters did AFTER the plot ending. I’m so happy I randomly started reading book one a few years ago. It’s been one of those recent SF and Fantasy books full of queerness - so good to read.
Adrian Collins
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on Grimdark Magazine.

Alex Marshall’s A War in Crimson Embers is the barnstorming end to one of my favourite trilogies of the last few years. Brilliantly structured, full of laughs and groans and twists all delivered in the Marshall’s very readable style, the author has delivered on the promises the first two books made during the their build up to the unleashing of Jex Toth and the pitting of the remaining Villains against…well…just about everybody it feels like at times
Brandon Forsyth
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished this series, and I’m so glad I did. Sure, they’re long and a little dense (and there’s scenes where wizards eat bats), but there’s so much good here that it’s well worth the time involved. Others have called out what a fantastic job this series does of pansexual representation, and it honestly feels like a breath of fresh air (and a path forward) in high fantasy. Then there’s the humour: unrelenting sass and genuinely character-based, a vein which runs through all three books ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Decent conclusion buried, as usual, in heaping helpings of excess verbiage. As before, I found the best way to read this was to focus on the dialog and just skim quickly over the rest. And even if the tale weren't so well cast and rousingly gross and funny, along with creatures like "cobraroaches" and "dire pangolins" thrown in there are many fine lines and exchanges, to wit:

"Staring in awe at the seraph that delivered her to the beating heart of the Garden of the Star, she'd found herself at a
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars. The last 150 or so pages of this book were solid. A lot of trilogies really falter with the ending and this did not. It was satisfying and fitting, and I can't say much more than that without spoiling things. But the first two thirds could be a real slog at times. The character POV changes were frustrating and sometimes pointless, where in the first two volumes they added to the story. I'm especially, incredibly, almost angrily upset over huge amounts of time unaccounted ...more
Aksel Dadswell
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible conclusion to one of the best fantasy series I've read. I love how each book maintains the overall tone of the series and builds its characters, while managing to veer in different and unexpected directions. This one goes all out with the monsters, and they're all gloriously gag-inducing and tactile. The way the author wrangles the big scenes and instills everything with a crazy energy is nothing short of masterful. The Crimson Empire trilogy is his most ambitious work but also his ...more
Eric Fritz
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This series is pure fun while also being a really modern take on fantasy that blows away a lot of old tropes. The ending was a bit abrupt but fitting, and the wrap-up showed just enough of everyone.
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
8/10* for the book.
9/10* for the series

The is really a wonderful trilogy.

Crazy magic, awesome characters, lots of action and lots of fun.

Jesse Bullington aka Alex Marshall created an interesting world and then added a extra helping of crazy to the mix.

I strongly recommend this series.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 2,75

Well. This is rather sad. In spite of being rather invested in the fates of most every character, I found myself bored for long stretches of time, skimming the pages just to get to where it would get interesting. I think one of my main problems were the antagonists - they were boring AND gross, and yeah. Not my cup of tea. No, it is not.

I found the lack of answers to several mysteries deeply unsatisfactory, but I also dig it a little? At least in cases like Chop, whose true id
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spec-fic
c2017: (15) FWFTB: warrior, pariah, goddess, barbarian, protégé. Not as good as Books 1 and 2. There is some complex plotting in this book and the lack of a 'What-has-gone-before' really hampered my enjoyment of this third book. Sadly, it was not as gripping as say, the Malazan books, where I am quite prepared to spend a lot of time looking up the various characters etc. I thought the characters were brilliant before so its sad that the only one I really remember is Zosia and only a very superfi ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars. This book took far too long to read for two reasons, one of them being my sudden mental exhaustion.

The other reason being that this book took too damn long to get to the point! I can only put up with Maroto’s self-centred pity party for so long before casting about searching for where the fuck the plot went!!

The crazy thing is, once this book GETS to the plot it’s actually quite juicy and satisfying. There’s just so much darn exposition between point A and point B that it became ver
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The first two books in the series were outstanding. A lot of weird crap in this one.
Ben Brackett
Ending suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A War in Crimson Embers carries on straight after the previous book with Cold Zosia trying to still help the people of the Star but the populace generally not liking her approach given her track record so things do not go according to plan which results in epic craziness as she tries to do the right thing by her standards anyway! Zosia's approach is certainly off the wall but from the start we can see that her heart is in the right place! She is sassy and her attitude is brilliantly handled with ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Keeping this short and sweet because it's basically impossible to summarize the third book in a series without massive spoilers.

Better than book 2, still not as tight and interesting as book 1.

This is grimdark if grimdark was written with a humorous self-aware edge how much you like Marshall's narrative voice will determine how much you like the series overall. I enjoyed the story and became genuinely invested in a couple of characters and this one flows a lot better than the middle book in the
Tracy Middlebrook
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a delightfully entertaining meaty treat. This trilogy was fantastic, and this 3rd book delivered on the promise of the premise. Epic in scope and in action. Darkly witty observations, great dialogue, and amazing descriptions of a fascinating and varied world. It's been great fun following this huge journey of quests and war and revenge and religion and attempts at brokered peace, and vastly different fully realized cultures and ways of thinking. The descriptions in general are fantastic and ...more
Pavlo Tverdokhlib
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy, humour
Reviewing the last book in a series is usually difficult. You try to balance writing about the actual book, with giving thoughts on the series as a whole. Sometimes the series is good, but the last book doesn't quite stack up; sometimes it's the opposite

In any case, that's NOT a problem here. What we have is an action-packed, fast-paced, hilarious conclusion to an incredibly fun series. After the remarkable Book 2 where almost nothing happened...and then EVERYTHING happened all at once, "A War i
Steve Lucido
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and this entire series. A War for Crimson Embers continues the excellent pacing and explosive action as this epic comes to an end. This series is what I would consider Grim Dark and doesn't pull the punches on it's depiction of humans being lousy to one another, but it also made me laugh, and at times was very touching. I also found myself pumping my fist as I read events that unfolded in the climactic events that occur in this final book in the trilogy.

I found myself
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Flawed heroes, unexpected outcomes, insane magical battles and the words - oh my god the words, or maybe I should say "the sentences", because anyone can say a word, it's the stringing them together that seems to be the hard part.

Another crazy thing about these books. The cast seems to be "pan sexual" with one character having 2 dads, 1 character having a mom who's a man, characters of the same sex who were formerly straight deciding to experiment, bisexual characters, characters into S&M etc..
Stephen Ball
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read a LOT of fantasy over the years, and this series jumped straight into my Top 10. It's so impressive on every level - endlessly imaginative, modern and radical, exciting right to the last page. The characters are complex and real, the world is brutal and disgusting but fascinating. I absolutely loved it. Zosia and Maroto in particular are deeply flawed characters I want to read more of. The author's talent never stops throwing the reader another surprise either in the plot or the charac ...more
Scott Tuscher
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I've been on a good luck run with the fantasy books that I've read as of late, and this is by far no exception. This is hands down the best series that I have read to date. This series graduates from the usual blandness that a series can invoke to a full adult language, humor and human condition present in everyday life; which elevates it even further with a fantastical and beautiful world. I would equate these characters to be something like Game of Thrones characters; except even m ...more
Chris Everson
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. I didn't want it to end, and I hope Marshall (Jesse Bullington) writes more stories set in this world. I put off finishing the book having started it, because I wanted the promise of what was to come to last.

I really don't want to give anything away, but suffice to say that even though there are battle scenes, they are really well done, and sometimes you see the same events from different perspectives. His 100-page battle in book 2 was my only criticism, but in this book it's brillian
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Alex Marshall is a pseudonym for Jesse Bullington who has previously published several novels in different genres. - See more at: ...more

Other books in the series

The Crimson Empire (3 books)
  • A Crown for Cold Silver (The Crimson Empire #1)
  • A Blade of Black Steel (The Crimson Empire, #2)

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