Top positive review
Never tell me the odds.
Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2019
I almost didn't read The Crimson Deathbringer because the title and cover seemed to target 12-year-old boys. I didn't want to rush to judgment, though, so I looked inside. I had to read the first sentence three times just to get the syntax right in my head. Not encouraging. Still, I've never given up on any book after just one sentence, so I plodded on.
After the first few paragraphs, I found I wasn't plodding at all -- suddenly I was reading with fresh eyes. The characters came alive almost instantly. There was tension. There was wit. I decided to read the book, and I'm glad I did.
The Crimson Deathbringer, very loosely speaking, is kind of like Star Wars meets Ready Player One. There's just enough technobabble to make the world of the story seem real but not so much that a reader who doesn't much care about how the guns and laser cannons work (like me) might become bored to tears.
Robins is especially adept at writing powerful action sequences, especially those that are up close and personal.
The stakes are high, and the scale is massive, and everything depends on a few stalwart and heroic characters. Best of all, the book has a lot of heart. Robins gives us deep emotional pits and lofty highs. There's friendship, love, laughter, and a sprinkling of mundane activities to keep things real. His villains are interesting and three-dimensional. You almost root for them at times.
Of course, I have quibbles, but I'm the hypercritical sort who has quibbles with everything I read. That said, my criticisms are so small compared to what's good and even great in The Crimson Deathbringer that they're hardly worth mentioning... hardly. Here's one I couldn't overlook: "Kurt'd." Seriously, Sean? You give us miles of dialogue without using contractions where most people naturally would, and then you toss in a "Kurt'd"?! ... And typos. I know, every book has some -- but that doesn't make them OK. The fewer typos, the fewer occasions for readers to be yanked out of the story. The Crimson Deathbringer could have used one more proofreading pass. OK, done now.
I'd subtract maybe half a star for the small stuff if I could, but given my level of enjoyment, I decided to round up. The Crimson Deathbringer may be a little rough around the edges, but you'll probably be too swept up in the story to notice.