Empress Crowned in Red

Iraya, her revenge taken and magic unfettered, turns her sights on a bigger goal: freeing Aiyca for the Obeah. But first she must shed the guise of the rogue warrior and become the Lost Empress her people need.

Jazmyne has crowned herself the doyenne and is prepared to go to extreme lengths—and court ruthless danger—to prove to her people she deserves the throne.

But there is more at stake than Jazmyne or Iraya know: a new threat is awakening on the other side of the island that could destroy everything they’ve been fighting for.

Trust is scarce, and betrayal a breath away. But Iraya and Jazmine once again find themselves turning to each other—after all, better the witch you know than the nightmare you don’t.

I had enjoyed Witches Steeped in Gold so was very excited to read Empress Crowned in Red. I must admit that I enjoyed the sequel a little more than the first instalment. This book had pirates, monsters, witches, and an epic battle. It was pretty exciting and I really did want to know how the journey would end.

The beginning of the book set the scene for an amazing sounding quest. I really enjoyed seeing each of the protagonists being set their own tasks in order to meet their goals

The middle of the book was where it fell a little flat for me. I felt that the middle 40% of the book was a little lacklustre. It felt quite slow and at times was a bit of a slog to get through
The last 30% was so exciting though! I genuinely applauded at one point. The battle was really quite epic and so enjoyable

At times I found myself getting a little lost with the volume of characters, there was a character list at the beginning of the book but it only listed 6 characters (4 of whom were deceased before this book started). There were so many new names and loyalties that I would have loved the character list to include more of the characters or at least the ones who featured regularly. Also, some of the names were quite similar I did find myself having to go back and reread parts.

I really enjoyed the dual narrative aspect of the book, I love a dual narrative! I must admit that I preferred Iraya’s chapters to Jazmyne’s. Iraya was always the more interesting of the two. There were times were Jazmyne just annoyed me with her very poor choices.

I also have to acknowledge that this book included a romantic moment that I misread, resulting in so much hilarity. It’s been 2 days since I had to reread that part and I still keep bursting into laughter. I’m not laughing at the book, it was my mistake but I’m grateful for that misunderstanding because I needed it!

I did enjoy this book and I would give it 3.5 but rounding down just due to the slow middle. If the middle were maybe half the length or was a bit more exciting then this would have been a 4 star read. It was just such a large period of the book that felt slow so I needed to round it down. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m very grateful to have been able to complete this duology.

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