I really enjoyed reading The Crimson Shard, despite the fact that I hadn’t read the first book in the series before. There were a couple references to the first book, but not so many that I didn’t understand what was going on. The story line was fast paced and understandable, with funny characters as well as evil villains. The book is placed in the fantasy genre, but it contains a lot of interesting history about the art of eighteenth-century London as well. I would recommend reading The Crimson Shard, but I would suggest that the first book in the series, The Blackhope Enigma, be read first.