Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Review - Tattoo of Crimson (Blood of the Fae, #1) by Sarah Chislon

 Her one possible ally represents her greatest fear—the encroaching Otherworld consuming her mind—and may well undo all her efforts to control her fae-touch. Yet if she forsakes the offered aid, the killer will go free.


Reading the blurb I found out that Tattoo of Crimson is a “gaslamp fantasy” novel. I did not know that the book “market” needed to create a new subgenre. If you, like me, don’t know it, gaslamp fantasy is “a subgenre of both fantasy and historical fiction.[1] It being a “gaslamp fantasy” explains why the alchemical devices (the knowledge of their existence is introduced from the first pages) are used scarcely and the alchemists are “just” a political faction. Also, it explains how the kingdom of Byren – where the action starts - is a true copy of Victorian England (the historical aspects are quite present and influence the events and the characters’ behaviour). Without insisting on this aspect, I'll say only that the author plays well within the fantasy and historical fiction coordinates I identified so far to fit this gaslamp (or gaslight) fantasy subgenre.

The story starts slowly enough to give the author the opportunity to introduce all the relevant elements for what follows. From time to time, I felt that there was no need to repeat or emphasise some details because the author got too close to the edge of political correctness; better show than tell. Fortunately, since the plot has taken shape and during its development, the necessary socio-political aspects are offered only when necessary for fulfilling their purpose without spoiling the story and its flow which has now an improved pace.

The mystery is quite a cozy mystery and Jessa, the main character, plays the role of the amateur sleuth well whilst she receives “unconventional” help and follows several clues and red herrings of fae nature. The main fae character (and others) is successful mostly in protecting Jessa than solving the mystery (that he was sent to solve) whilst Jessa seems to be, repeatedly, one step ahead.

The fantastical elements the author brings into the mix are classical but well-used. Between what Jessa was taught as true about the Otherworld and its inhabitants and what she discovers herself, and her own secret of unknown reason, Jessa must cross some murky waters when deciding the best path to take in solving the mystery, especially when eliminating the killer equals with the salvation of those she loves and of herself. Bargains and sacrifices are made, no price is too high.

And because gaslamp fantasy is also known as “gaslight romance”, I have to say that there are some signs of a (future… probable… and most certainly wanted by the readers) romance, but Jessa has yet to see… or feel… them. After all, Aunt Melisina wants her wed. 😋

Entertaining, with likeable (main) characters, with mundane or otherworldly dangers at every step, a dash of gothic ambience, some magic and a promise for more to come, the Tattoo of Crimson is a pleasant historical, fantasy, cozy mystery that you could read. Enjoy!

PS: Does the cover matter? Yes, definitely! (I am not talking about the books or authors you already know in one way or another.) If I like the cover (design, colour, message etc), I stop and check the blurb and author. If my interest or mood at the moment is satisfied, I’ll read it (or put it on my TBR list). And face it: the covers of all three books so far in the “Blood of the Fae” series are nicely done.

[1](goodreads, timeofindia.com or Wikipedia – I didn’t check who was the first or their sources


Published: January 17th, 2023

Society, suitors, and…serial murders?

As much as she desires to please her family, gently-bred herbalist Jessa Caldwell has no intention of making a suitable match—not when she’s seeking the truth about the taint of the fae that lies within her. If she’s to escape the madness brought on by fae-touch, she must devote her energies to seeking a cure.

But then mysterious tattoos begin to appear on the citizens of Avons. None recall receiving these harbingers of death, but all die at the hand of an untraceable killer days or weeks after being marked.

When the tattoo appears on her beloved mentor, Jessa seeks the Magistry with information on the case—yet they refuse to consider her findings, so she must risk both social censure and her own safety to hunt for the killer herself.

Her one possible ally represents her greatest fear—the encroaching Otherworld consuming her mind—and may well undo all her efforts to control her fae-touch. Yet if she forsakes the offered aid, the killer will go free.

Something sinister stalks the streets of her city, and she must decide…how far will she go to stop the killing?

Tattoo of Crimson, a gaslamp fantasy novel, is the first book in the Blood of the Fae series. If you like quick-minded heroines who solve cases with logic and intuition, beautiful yet deadly fae, and Otherworldly intrigues, then you’ll love this mystery set in a world of manners and mythical monsters.

About the author:
Sarah Chislon lives in Virginia with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her children and running a web development business with her husband. As an avid reader and a lifelong story-weaver, she delights in creating fantastic worlds and exploring them alongside her characters.
To find out more about her, visit her:

Author's Giveaway


Stormy Vixen said...

Congratulations on your release of Tattoo of Crimson, Sarah, your book sounds like one that I will really enjoy! Good luck with your book and the tour! Thanks for sharing it with me!

Thanks, Mythical Books, for sharing your review!

Have a wonderful day!

wghutton said...

congrats on the release, great cover

Bridgett Wilbur said...

Great cover.