Abys-Luthil is a city that stands upon the brink of civil war. Its halls of power darken with growing plots, and rival gangs terrorise its aged streets. Criminals raid stately homes in search of arcane artifacts, as the city’s nobles withdraw behind their household guards.
Within this city of masks and deceit, Lyra Alpheri moves between the shadows, hunting those who would prey upon the weak. By day she returns to a life of civilised nobility, as the daughter of the renowned magister, Maellon Alpheri. Aided by her friend Kat, and the master of the arcane forge, Virgil, Lyra swiftly brings justice to those who plague the streets. However, it is not long before the political upheaval of Abys-Luthil’s scheming magisters brings trouble to her own home, and after the very fabric of her world is ripped from under her feet, Lyra descends into the city’s depths to wreak a terrible vengeance.
In a journey that runs thick with blood, betrayal and otherworldly power, Lyra walks the darkest of paths, one which soon tests mind, body and soul. But, as the bodies mount, is Lyra in danger of becoming the very evil which she so desperately fights against?
Thank you to SJ Hull for gifting me a copy of The Crimson Script for review! I can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The Crimson Script ended up being nothing like I imagined it would be and I loved it! By day Lyra Alpheri is the daughter of Magister Aplheri, a respected family amongst Abys-Luthil politicians and it’s people, by night however she is the Lady, a vigilante who stalks the street aiming to thwart the gangs of Abys-Luthil. But all that changes after one fateful event that will change Lyra’s life, and have the potential to change the world as she knows it. Lyra is set on a path of revenge, one she is not sure she can, or wants to, come back from. Alongside her long time friend Kat, her families Artificer Virgil & two members of the Vox Millitant, Lyra follows a path she never expected, one that leads to revenge, but also to Lyra learning secrets about her family as well as herself.
The characters are definitely one of the main strengths of this book. We get introduced to a big bunch, quite early on in the book but each is well written and developed so no matter how much page time they get, they still manage to make an impression. Lyra was my favourite character and I found myself almost instantly bonding with her. She wants to fight for what is right, for those who can’t fight for themselves. When one night something unthinkable happens, the only think that saves Lyra’s life is her ability in a fight. She is shrouded in self-doubt, always thinking she should/could have done more, but the more that comes to light the more Lyra realises this is a battle centuries in the making and she will need to rely on everything and everyone around her if she is to survive.
Though this is without a doubt Lyra’s book it is told in 3rd person and so we get POV’s from a whole host of other characters; Kat, Lyra’s best friend and partner in crime. She has lived with the Alpheri’s since they took her in as an orphan and has been training under Virgil to become an artificer, Virgil is the Alpheri’s artificer and another person who is like family to Lyra, he hides a host of secrets but all he has done has been to ensure her safety. Rillo is the captain of the Vox Millitant, an army in place to ensure the safety of the people, he is brutal and determined never to answer to the Magisters instead of those he serves and Aequo a Sergeant under Rillo, he likes a drink more than most but is invaluable in a battle and one of the few people Rillo trusts with his life. All of these characters are unwittingly drawn together and I loved all their interactions, their scenes together made for some humorous and sometimes emotional scenes, but they became an almost found family to each other.
There were a few things about The Crimson Script that fell a little flat so I’ll just get those out of the way. The first half of the book was slightly info dumpy, we get introduced to a whole host of people and the author spent pages on character interactions so you could understand their relationships, whereas the end of the book absolutely flew by but we were left with a lot of unanswered questions. I do feel like the first half of the book could have been significantly shortened to make more room to give us a proper introduction to the world as well as more of an insight into some reveals that happen in the second half. My other issue, and this is probably just personal preferences, but the chapters were long, the first chapter alone is 10% of the book and I found myself flicking though wondering how much longer I had to read before it ended. But as I said, it might just be me because I prefer shorter chapters.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the fantasy world, and the author brought in political and social disparity making it come to life even more. Through the story the author deals with some hard hitting topics such as suppression of free speech, but they also bring a levity to the book through the character interactions so it doesn’t feel too dark. As I said there was a lot that could have been developed more, Lyra gets introduced to a whole new side of Abys-Luthil as well as herself, and this simply wasn’t given enough page time to truly make sense. The main plot of The Crimson Script was tied up fairly well by the end, but the author also manages to leave us with a cliff hanger as well as plenty of unanswered questions. I’m not sure if this is a standalone or the start of a series, but I would certainly be interested to return to Lyra’s world and catch up with where out characters are now.
The other big selling point of this book was the authors descriptive writing. As much as I feel the world could have been developed better, the side of it we do see is expertly brought to life. We see the disparity between the two sides of the city Abys & Luthil both socially and economically, but my absolutely favourite descriptions came from the epic battle scenes we get treated too. The battle’s are brought to life in the best way, we not only see hand to hand combat but also the characters using the artificer designed weapons. These were easily some of my favourite parts of the book, and the author certainly knows how you keep you white knuckled and glued to the pages, never quite sure of the outcome.
The Crimson Script took me on a wild ride and I loved following Lyra on her journey of vengeance and self discovery. Filled with a well developed and likeable bunch of characters as well a some epic battle scenes, I found myself flying through the pages and am eager to return to Lyra’s world. An easy 4 stars.