I started reading alternative history accidentally when I read Days of Infamy by Harry Turtledove. Someone said that Stirling was a good one to read and I have read his Bronze Age Trilogy and the Change Trilogy. I really enjoyed both series. One of the things I think that alternative histories make me consider is how people react and who is a survivor. Change is difficult and it is interesting to see how the characters develop or don't due to change.
I read Sky People and enjoyed it and naturally wanted to read the other half of the story. Sky People is on Venus and Crimson Kings is on Mars. I did not like this book as well as Stirling's other books. I read a lot of science fiction and I think I have a good imagination but there were pages that just didn't make any sense to me. Not a lot but I don't like to re-read a page and still feel confused and this happened to me several times in this book.
However, I got into the book and the middle 50% read quickly, almost too quickly and I enjoyed it. Then when I got to the very last 10% it ended too abruptly. I can see when you leave a person dangling off a cliff that there is going to be a sequel, but this did not feel that way. It felt like this is my solution to the story and that is it. There is a story line that runs through both books. You really have to ready Sky People first for the overall story line. It just felt contrived. I was a little disappointed. But I am still glad I read the book so there is no feeling of a hanging ending, I just didn't like it and that is it.
After *The Sky People*, the first book in this series, I looked forward to reading this. Glad I didn't buy it; it didn't have the same interest for me, and I didn't finish it. The plot is an old standard: the missing heir fights for the throne, saves the monarchy, blah, blah. There's none of the charming odd critters and customs that were in Sky People.