Crimson & Cream by CM Skiera

Long set-up, rewarding conclusion.
Crimson & Cream book cover

Hounded by watchmen, trolls, goblins, and a relentless bounty hunter, 13-year-old Jetsam dreams of the day he’ll no longer have to run for his life.

In the mountain city of Dwim-Halloe, Eadriel and Elvar were born twins to teachers at the city’s revered School of Magic. When the new king outlawed magic, the boys’ parents were murdered. Their deaths forfeited the twins' magical birth right and made them homeless fugitives.

Rescued by an orphan gang, the fleeing twins were nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam. To survive as outcasts, the orphans scavenge and pilfer nightly. Their last risky foray sent them fleeing into an unfamiliar cavern. Now the boys are lost deep underground where they encounter a strange beast that will change their lives forever and begin a harrowing journey for their ultimate survival.

To begin, this book is an amazing example of the quality that should be expected from any self-published novel: the cover was professional, there were no discernable errors, and the writing was on par with many published authors. So, for anybody looking to self-publish, this book should serve as a model of how to do it right.

Now, let’s get into the story.

The plot revolves around an orphan named Jetsam who, due to a misunderstanding, is running for his life from a dangerously genre savvy bounty hunter and trying to unravel the mystery of a scroll he finds in a strange cavern. The third-person narrator sometimes breaks away to follow the bounty hunter Yduk Thiern, a gruff pragmatist that serves as an entertaining antagonist. However, it usually follows Jetsam’s various adventures as he’s on the run.

While the reader certainly follows Jetsam on some interesting escapades - involving nymphs, knights, dragons, and other fantastical creatures- the first half of the book really drags as the story is setting up, and is padded out with long descriptions of Jetsam walking through forests or caverns. Certain incidents occur multiple times, such as cavern trips and run-ins with trolls, which probably could have been combined into one or two episodes for the sake of the reader. This can be a bit tedious to get through, but far from the worst pacing I have seen. Surely some of the best high fantasy authors (even my dearest Tolkien) have received similar criticisms.

Those who don’t mind sticking through the long set-up will be rewarded. The impatient reader will miss out on a bunch of interesting characters, some great battles and an ending that will leave you pining for the next book. Ultimately, Crimson & Cream is a great first novel from an author, and a series, that shows a lot of promise. I do sincerely hope the next book will be coming out soon. To get a copy head on to: Enjoy!

This Crimson & Cream book review was written by

All reviews for CM Skiera's The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy

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Crimson & Cream reader reviews

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved all the twists and turns that came with it. I think this is a fantastic all-ages read and Im looking forward to the next book in the series, which I hope to find soon!

9/10 from 2 reviews

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