Empress Crowned in Red

Witches Steeped in Gold 2

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Pub Date 7 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 7 Jun 2022
Bonnier Books UK, Hot Key Books

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The hotly anticipated finale to the epic, fierce and magnetically addictive Caribbean-inspired Witches Steeped in Gold. 

Enemy witches Iraya and Jazmyne have each achieved their darkest desires. For the former, the doyenne who killed her family is dead. For the latter, the crown has been won. For both, their treacherous alliance is over - until a hidden evil rises from their last adversary's ashes, forcing them to join forces once more to defend Aiyca and their respective orders.

Laying claim to the island of Iraya's birthright and the bloody crown Jazmyne wears, this mysterious assailant is rearing monsters in the name of war. A war neither Iraya or Jazmyne are prepared to fight. New alliances must be forged to protect Aiyca and once again the two witches must work together to defeat an enemy who threatens both their worlds. Who will be the one sitting on top of the throne in the end - Iraya, Jazmyne, or another?

Two witches. One motive. And everything to fight for. 

The hotly anticipated finale to the epic, fierce and magnetically addictive Caribbean-inspired Witches Steeped in Gold. 

Enemy witches Iraya and Jazmyne have each achieved their darkest desires. For...

Advance Praise

Praise for Witches Steeped in Gold

'A bloody and deadly delight, Witches Steeped in Gold puts power into the hands of Black girls - the true, beating heart of magic!' Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of the Belles series

'A thundering waterfall of magic, vengeance and intrigue.'Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Season and The Priory of the Orange Tree

Praise for Witches Steeped in Gold

'A bloody and deadly delight, Witches Steeped in Gold puts power into the hands of Black girls - the true, beating heart of magic!' Dhonielle Clayton, New York...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781471411229
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 34 members

Featured Reviews

I was so excited to see this in arc form as I loved Witches Steeped in Gold. Well written with an enchanting storyline and well developed charcaters that I of coursed adored. I loved the dual narrative aspectthat was beautifully written.
I was gripped right from the very start and found this book heart -wrenching in places. I couldn't put it down and I didn't want it to end.

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Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for this eARC of Empress Crowned in Red

I was excited to read this follow up to Witches Steeped In Gold.
This was beautifully written and followed on perfectly from the first novel.
The writing technique is similar to WSIG and the chapters are from Iraya and Jazmyne's point of view. The character development was evidently improved and the pace of the storyline moved along well, making it an enjoyable read.

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This is an epic follow up to Witches Steeped in Gold that does what every great sequel should do, more of the same mixed with fresh elements and expansive vision. Empress Crowned in Red takes us on a wild journey for the fight for Aiyca with more allies, more enemies and higher stakes than before. Smart weaves the dual perspective story with complex characters in a lyrical way that thrusts you into their world so deeply I wasn't sure who I was ultimately rooting for because I was emotionally invested in all the characters journeys. While this is professed as a conclusion to the witches story I can't help but hope there will be more stories set in this world because there is so much depth to the world building or maybe just a killer adaptation in the future. Either way I enjoyed the novel I'd love to see more.

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An excellent sequel to Witches steeped in gold. The story continues and is actually better than the first book in the series. Lovely story that grips you from the first page.

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Thank you netgalley for providing me with this arc in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed the first book, so I was really excited for the sequel, and I really enjoyed it. I loved the characters and how their arcs developed with the plot of the book, working towards the ending. It was a solid read and I really enjoyed it so I’m giving the book 4/5 stars.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bonnier Books for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Empress Crowned in Red is the epic conclusion to Witches Steeped in Gold. Brimming with magic, hope and heartbreak, this is a stunning finale you won’t want to miss. The sequel follows rival witches Jazmyne and Iraya in their tentative alliance to save their home from a new, unknown enemy. Tempers clash and betrayal lurks at every corner, making this impossible to put down.

This book is dual POV, which can be confusing at times, but is necessary for the storyline to work. It is action packed and the pacing is good, but it is a long book (so be prepared). The writing style is definitely aimed at more mature readers, it reads more like an adult book than YA, the wording can be quite complex. Saying this, the writing was lovely, almost lyrical and the descriptions were excellent. I would also recommend re-reading the first book before starting this, I didn’t and it took me a while to catch up with characters and events that took place in WSIG.

Personally, I think this book almost did an injustice to Jazmyne, she was portrayed as being quite weak at times, I think she deserved more of a character arc. I also thought the final chapter felt too short, I expected to see more of an epilogue. However, besides these small observations, this was an enjoyable read and I was emotionally invested in the characters and the storyline.

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Wow, what an ending to this powerful duology. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, this book gave me everything I wanted after finishing Witches Steeped in Gold, and then some things I didn't even know I was hoping for.

Having two protagnosists on opposite sides of an ancient divide, forced to work together again and again means that throughout the series you truly have no idea who will eventually succeed which is a refreshing change in a fantasy series, where often the endings seem assured even if the method of getting there isn't.

Making two such opposing characters equally likeable and relatable is a challenge that I think the author met well. Personally, I'm Team Iraya but I've always had a weakness for impatient, impulsive warriors, and Jazmyne as a counterpoint demonstrates that there is more than one way to be a strong female lead, which is a message I can always get behind.

As with the first book, my only complaint is one of pacing, the plot dips a bit in the middle before picking up speed to race toward the end, but overall I loved this, even more than the first book.

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Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for this eARC.

I loved Witches Steeped in Gold and I was excited to read this follow up. This was beautifully written and followed on perfectly from the first novel. I was gripped from beginning to end and this may be one of my new favourite duologies!

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I gave 4 out of 5 stars. I missed Iraya and her sassy attitude and speech. And the most growth prize goes to Jazmyne, she had the most ups and downs of all the characters, she lost her way and found it several times. The betrayals that happened has me spinning and gasping. You are lured into a false sense of security and then the rug is pulled from under your feet over and over again. It is a dizzying feeling to not know what to expect and expect the worst. I have one question (why do some rulers think that fear equates to respect?). I loved the end, two ladies who will never like each other but who can grow and evolve together. This is the kind of female empowerment story I like to read, if they are petty it is not for a man and if they stab each other in the back, it is for power, not a man. A balanced matriarchal society where men are not subjugated but women are the clear rulers by design.

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If you're planning on picking up Empress Crowned in Red I would strongly suggest giving yourself a nice refresher on Witches Steeped in Gold before you head on in as this book definitely drops you in the deep end.
That being said I think this is a really fantastic conclusion to the duology with lots of interesting ideas developed and explored. The driving force of these books - the unlikely alliance of two people who really aren't on the same side of conflicts at all - continues to make for a really fascinating dynamic across this work and I'd recommend this to those who might be feeling a bit fed up with the familiar in YA fantasy.
Fair warning, this book is LONG, over 700 pages (at least in my version) for a YA is a lot to get through but I would recommend you stick it out because there isn't any part of this story that I'd take out. I love the different parts of the world that we get to see, I love the romance and the character development and the *magic*. It all comes together into a really fantastic duology that I'll definitely be recommending to a lot of different readers. I think if you're typically an adult fantasy reader who enjoys some of the tropes more commonly associate with YA this would be a great read as the characters are more on the adult side of young adult and this book felt more on the edge between the two age ranges.
I think that my one criticism is that if you *don't* totally remember every aspect of book one it is a little bit more difficult to get back into the book and not everyone has the time or inclination to reread.
I find that second books in duologies can be somewhat hit or miss and I'm delighted that this one was a resounding hit!
I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley - all opinions are my own.

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Empress Crowned in Red claws its way through the darkness and deceit of this duology to deliver an impeccable, compelling and incredibly entertaining story.

It is no exaggeration to say that Empress Crowned in Red was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Witches Steeped in Gold was one of my favourite reads last year, which I thought was such a phenomenal, rich and utterly original fantasy. Luckily for me, this was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

Smart deftly wraps this compulsive duology up with an even more rich, layered and detailed story. Every single element of the first book is levelled up. The writing is even more complex, bringing in more elements of world building, politics and history that enrich your reading experience so much. It is just stunning, emotional and bordering on lyrical at times. This makes it feel like an epic tale of old being told once more.

I loved the continued exploration of morality and your allegiances will shift time and time again as the full extent of the treachery is unveiled. This is such a character driven duology. I really love how much Smart has poured into these ferocious characters. They are often brutal and willing to go to any ends in order to achieve their desires, but they are also fundamentally flawed and emotionally vulnerable in a way that it is impossible not to connect with them. Also, their development is excellent to watch unfold. They are such different people from the beginning of their tale, but the way their journeys unfold is stunning.

Empress Crowned in Red concludes an imaginative and deeply fascinating duology that I cannot implore you enough to pick up. Smart wields her pen with deft skills and plenty of malicious intent.

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I was so excited when I got this arc copy you have no idea , my son got me the first book so I could read that first and I loved every moment of it .I'm going to keep this spoiler free .

I have to the say this book did not disappoint at all yes it is a long book which it took a bit of time for me to read as I can be a slow reader but was so worth it , the story is pretty fast paced it dose slow in parts but I think that to gather yourself for the next big explosion. it was so beautifully written .

I thought it was a fantastic conclusion to the series , I loved the character building and how intense the story could get at times such a fantastic unique story .

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