Dystopian SciFi

Crimson Night – Jackson Utz

This book was shocking. I never would have guessed the ending or any of the amazing twists that took place, I was in complete awe of every action the characters would take and I could not put this book down at all. 

Plot

Mars is split up into seven different rings. The poorest of the Mars humans live in the seventh ring, in poverty and chaos. The richest, however, live in the first ring, the inner ring. Emperor Ares is in the middle of that inner ring, and Crimson Night follows two groups trying to get to him. The first is Rylee and her friends. She is a seventeen-year-old girl who has grown up in the fifth ring of Mars. Rylee has always hated her life in the fifth ring, so when the opportunity arises for her to take the ring test – a test to boost her into the inner rings – she jumps at the chance. 

At the ring test, Rylee passes with flying colors, only to be stopped by the test proctor about her essay at the end. He agreed with her beliefs against the Empire, and told her that she’d made it to the inner ring. Rylee then heads home, greeted with her parents and all of their belongings missing. The test proctor, Jasper, shows up and tells her that they can save her parents. 

Meanwhile, Sebastian and his group have arrived on Mars. They begin their journey in the seventh ring with Maroon, their ex-crimson lord friend, as their guide. Maroon leads them through the seventh and sixth rings with ease, only to be greeted by a high ranking officer of the empire. The group fight their way to the inner ring to defeat Emperor Ares. 

Characters

Rylee was probably one of my favorite characters and her story was super interesting to follow. She definitely had her own opinions, which I adored seeing her stand up for, and I could see that there was a sort of “found family” trope forming in the book. Her relationship with the characters that she encounters is almost always positive and she’s just a genuinely strong and friendly character. There isn’t much to not like about her. She’s always determined to get to her parents and she was an overall great character. 

Jasper was another character that I really liked reading about. He was so funny, and his pure and genuine care for Rylee constantly made me smile. Their friendship was truly adorable and I loved reading about them together. 

We were also able to read about our beloved main character from the last book, Sebastian. To be honest, I feel like Sebastian kind of let me down in this book. He turned into someone who was kind of taken over by his power. It seemed like he just wanted to show off how powerful he was, and yeah he defeated a ton of powerful people in the last book, but he kind of needed to read the situation and understand that going straight into a battle isn’t the best idea. On the other hand, I can see that Sebastian has been written as a character that has a lot to learn in terms of magic and battle. Since it’s been only one month and a bit since he even found out about magic, he definitely could use a bit more practice and training, especially when knowing the right place to fight someone. 


“You guys…you’re all amazing. It’s like you’re the dream team.”


Zuri has been my favorite character throughout the series so far, and I feel like we saw quite a bit less of her in this book. She was still super powerful and Sebastian’s side-kick, but she seemed a lot less present. I feel like she was still part of the group but she didn’t have as much as a purpose since they weren’t on Earth anymore. Along with that, we kind of only saw her when she needed to heal someone which I kind of hated because she was a character that had so much potential. She could have grown into a stronger part of the group than just a magic user and part of Azure’s Edge, however, she didn’t develop much and popped up only when needed. 

Celeste was such an interesting character in this book. We definitely learned a lot more about her and her past which I enjoyed finding out about. She has always been super mysterious and I’ve always wondered why she was so quiet, and we find out that her mother passed away, causing her to basically go into a shell and not really speak much. Along with that, we find out that there is a time spirit in her sword which is how she has all of these super cool abilities. 

I have to mention Maroon and Celeste’s friendship because it was adorable. They spent a bit of time together trying to rescue Sebastian, and along the way, he pushes her to come out of her shell and speak. He promises her that he’ll find someone she can talk to, and their friendship is just too cute!

Speaking of Maroon, we find out a ton about him in this book. I won’t spoil it, but I was shocked to find out who he really is and the twist was so crazy I had to put the book down for a minute just to process it. We’re also able to see Maroon and his journey through being a Crimson Lord which I found super interesting to see. It’s clear that he was never a “bad guy” and he just was following orders. It was just overall super cool to see Maroon’s character development and that twist at the end totally got me!

Setting

This book takes place on Mars, which was a super cool setting! Everything on Mars was red, since every other color is banned by the Empire. I actually really liked seeing this setting and especially seeing Sebastian and his crew find out more about it. It was cool to see how they compared it to Earth and how they reacted to each of the rings being different levels of poverty and essentially a caste system. 


“In short, the Empire hated the color blue, loved the color red, and reveled in the idea of having the Crimsonites taking control of Earth.”


Writing

Okay, I have to admit that there were times I was super confused and had to go back and reread. Now that I’ve got a grasp on Utz’ writing style and the story a bit more, I find that I sometimes got lost in the pages of the book. There were times that there were huge just info dumps and I felt like I had to skip over them because it was just too much at once, and sometimes the fight scenes bored me a bit, however, I was able to get back into it with the dialogue and hilarious trash talk that each of the characters said. 

The writing definitely was on and off for me and I found myself on the edge of my seat and then a bit bored and so on. I feel like it could be improved with a little revision, especially because there were times that the info dump was totally unnecessary. 

In Conclusion… 

I really enjoyed this book. I feel like I kind of preferred the first one a bit more just because the writing was more my speed, however, I loved seeing our new characters and I loved the twists on the story that I never expected! I enjoyed the book a lot more than I thought I would for a sci-fi read taking place on Mars, and I’m excited to see where the last book of the trilogy will take us!

Rating: 3.5/5⭐

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