Publication Date: August 7, 2012
In a world of dwarfs, trolls and elves, Eadriel and Elvar’s magic-teacher parents were killed when their boys were five years old, in a time when the King outlawed magic. The twins escaped by throwing themselves in the river and were rescued by orphans nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam. Eight years later, can they survive to have the future of anything better that Jetsam knows is out there waiting for them? Crimson & Cream (The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy) is epic fantasy.
Since starting this review blog several months ago, I’ve learned something about myself I’d have never suspected—I like epic fantasy. I’ve always liked novels like Lord of the Rings and thought my interest rather ended there, but novels like Crimson & Cream (The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy) are really proving me wrong.
The world in which this novel is set is rough and gritty. There are the haves and extreme have-nots. There are people who can paint a word picture well and C.M. Skiera is one of those people. Skiera doesn’t tell us that Flotsam and Jetsam reek—we are shown through Giselle’s gentle hint about washing up. This is one example of the delicacy with which Skiera writes.
The action in this novel was written with a sense of urgency that invests the reader in the plot. Skiera did not shy away from character death, and when it happened, I sobbed. The death was vivid from one character dragging the other while running and not realizing he was dead, to the actual injury that killed the character. The anguish of those around him in a world where people die all the time was so well done that I, as the reader, felt the loss of these young people as almost a personal loss. I’m welling up recounting the scene now.
The negative aspect of this novel is that I couldn’t put it down. I kept thinking about the story and wanting to pick it up at work to discover what happened next. This is not a novel where the reader says, “Okay, enough of this. I’m off to do something else for a while.” This is a start-to-finish novel.
If you’re not into epic fantasy and you’re against adults reading YA novels, this is not one for you. If you were thinking of buying it for your child, I’d recommend the novel for children 12 and older. There’s violence and, as mentioned, character death and while those elements probably won’t traumatize a younger child, they likely wouldn’t be able to appreciate the rich emotion in the subtext of the story.
C.M. Skiera is a Michigan native now living in California Crimson & Cream (The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy) is the first in a trilogy and I eagerly look forward to the next installment.
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