Reviewer: Shelley Russell Nolan
Synopsis: Conall O’Lorcan has a rage within him, a rage he doesn’t know how to control. Cast out of his village when he becomes a danger, he must seek a new life where nobody knows his secrets. When he is recruited into a guild of thieves, his secrets become hard to hide.
Review: This was a fun novella to read, with a likeable main character. Conall faces grief and loss at a young age, losing himself to his rage, before being thrust out into a world he knows nothing about. Traumatised by what happened, he flees to a major city where he is forced to learn new skills to survive even as he fights to control the monster within. Parts of the story have been glossed over, time passing with little evidence of it happening, with limited characterisation of the secondary characters. Some of the dialogue felt too contemporary for a fantasy story, but I did like Conall’s reactions when he arrived at Rangor and how he resolved his problem at the end.
The Crimson Guild was a fast-paced read, with events moving quickly once Conall first loses control of his inner monster. While I would have preferred a more meaty storyline, it was nice to see him utilising some of the skills he worked on with his mother, and I hope the next book will build on that, along with the skills he is learning as part of the guild. I would also like to learn more about the monstrous side of him and his battle to control and use it. In all, this reads like a taste test for a bigger series to come, one where Conall will have more to deal with than surviving in a den of thieves who will kill him if they find out the truth about his heritage.
Rating: 4 stars