Review: The Crimson Court by Brendan Noble

The Crimson Court by Brendan Noble

Jen reviews The Crimson Court, the first book in Brendan Noble‘s new Epic Fantasy series, The Realm Reachers.

An eARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This review is posted as part of the Wyrd & Wonder Month hosted by some amazing ladies. Check out all content on TwitterInstagram, and BlueSky!

Wyrd & Wonder 2024
Artwork by Ehtisham Sajid
About the Book
Series:The Realm Reachers #1
Genre:Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Gaslamp
Publisher:Self-Published
Date of Publishing:April 23, 2024
Trigger Warnings:death, war violence
Page count:582
Book Blurb
The Crimson Court by Brendan Noble

Spirits haunt the realm of Zekiaz. Flee them, fight them, or wield them. But they bow to no master.

The upstart matriarch of a fallen house, Kasia Niezik has sworn to destroy the elusive Crimson Court who assassinated her father. They are near immortal, wielding the spirits that once ended civilization a millennium ago, but she is a Reacher of the realm of Death. Their worst fear.

But to kill her deceitful foes, first she must find them.

Kasia travels to the capital, seeking allies either brave or foolish enough to help her infiltrate the Crimson elites. Whether spirit hunter, princess, or thief, though, everyone has a hidden agenda. And those with the widest smiles hold daggers behind their backs.

Step into a new world of fantasy intrigue where flintlock guns, epic magic, gaslamp technology, and spirits clash amid shadowy bids for power. Revenge is sweet, but at what cost?

Quote of the Book
background jpg

“Unusual or not, she took the opportunity to slip into the Chamber, heading toward the reformer wing on the left side of the round room. Pillars separated the walking ledge from the rows of seated scions, and between them, she caught her first glimpses of the Commonwealth’s greatest weapon. A hulking dragon made of shimmering gray crystal covered half of the throne’s platform at the center of the Chamber. The pit descending to the Spirit Crystal surrounded it, threatening to swallow the throne and its dragon whole. Kasia dug in her heels as she considered the power lurking below. Such a void could draw anyone into its depths.”

Song of the Book

Overcome by Nothing but Thieves

Review


I jumped on a chance to read Brendan Noble’s newest book The Crimson Court. I totally adore flintlock and to combine that with a political twisty epic fantasy is just a huge plus. There wasn’t much on the flintlock side of things… in this book at least, so it didn’t scratch that itch for me, but we are building a world and conflict here, so there will probably be more of that in later installments. The political twisty side of things, on the other hand, delivers the goods. The pages are packed with treachery and the world itself and its magic are both complex and unique; getting bigger and more involved with every new area explored and people that we meet.

*

The Crimson Court begins with one heck of a bang as Kasia and her father are attacked in their home by awakened spirits that have been sent to kill her father. Kasia survives but her father does not. Years later Kasia is still hunting for information on who is responsible, and quietly dealing out revenge with each new clue. Her latest lead puts her on the trail of the Crimson Court – a shady group that seems to be working behind the scenes maneuvering the worlds events through its leaders.

*

Noble has created an incredibly cool and original world in The Crimson Court and filled it with some bad-ass magic.

Reaching – is a type of magic where they tear a space between the realms and draw their powers from there. It can be used in various ways from truth, fire, death, light, etc. But the coolest part IMO had to be the Spirit Reachers, who guide the spirit into a newborn baby so that person essentially has everlasting life – kind of like reincarnation but here, all the memories are intact from person to person, so you have this accumulated generations of experience and knowledge being carried over to the next in line. This is kind of a rich person’s prestige thing too that is generally only done by the Scions of society (from what I understood). It was absolutely the neatest thing I’ve read this year!

Kasia herself, also, has a pretty neat reacher ability – she can cause the death of a spirit, so they can never return (all their knowledge dies too). Her type of magic is very rare but adds a nice counterbalance to those spirit teachers.

Lots of fun personalities fill out the cast, which is large and varied. I liked Kasia the best – mostly that had to do with the mystery unfolding around her as she looked into the whys of her father’s death along with the shadowy presence of the Crimson Court.

Radais – with him, we get to see the world outside of the city. He is a Glassblade that protects the outlying areas from the awakened. His mission to the city, to bring information to the king helps to enlarge the world for us while also balancing out the slower area of Kasia’s story. Also, I thought the fact that all their weapons and armour being made of glass (a defense against the awakened) was pretty neat.

Zinarus was a lot of fun too. He’s a bit naïve but I kind of enjoyed that flip and having the young naive character be a male.

I also really enjoyed Tazper, though I don’t think he actually had a POV in the story, he’s just one of the many that are in our MC’s circle of friends/contacts that round out the story.

If there isn’t enough to keep you interested with the shady behind-the-thrones dealing of the Crimson Court we also have spirit plague spreading throughout the kingdom. This plague eats the connection between bodies and souls creating the Awakened, the same scary beings that killed Kasia’s father. I love the whole idea of these spirits wisping around in the air all the time. Some docile and some not. I just thought how mystical the world must look, with them floating around like jellyfish swarms.

*

I had a lot of fun with The Crimson Court! It’s quite different from the last book of Brendan Noble’s that I had read (A Dagger in the Winds). The world in The Crimson Court feels huge and the story is way more politically charged, though it does take a while to get everything set up, there are enough interesting ideas to keep you busy while everything falls into place. A great start to The Realm Reachers series!

Our Judgement
Let Their Deeds Be Noted - 4 Crowns

If you don’t want to miss any of our posts, please consider signing up to our monthly newsletter or follow us on social media:

You can also support us on Ko-fi so we can keep maintaining the Asylum!