The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)
by Cinda Williams Chima
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell – the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked – as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
One day Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history – it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returning to court after three years of freedom in the mountains – riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea – the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her – including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. (goodreads.com)
Holy cow. That was ALL of the summary from goodreads. 0_o
I am late to the party that is the Seven Realms fantasy series. There are four books in this series and I’m not sure why I never noticed them before because I am all about the high/epic fantasy books, people. And this is YA fantasy and we totally need more YA fantasy in the world.
I read all four books between April 27 to May 5. Nine days. And it only took me THAT long because I had to go to stupid work during the week days. Jeez.
At the same time, I can’t really say this is only YA fantasy, because many fantasy novels have young protagonists, but they aren’t always classified as Young Adult novels.
The Demon King is the first book of four and you are introduced to the cast of characters who you will grow to love and hate through the next three books. Han a.k.a Hunts Alone, a.k.a. Cuffs Alister is the main focus of the story although other chapters are told from the point of view of Princess Raisa.
The pacing of the story is gripping and interesting. I could not stop reading (except when I was at work. Sigh.) and I was just devouring page after page (or screen after screen, rather, since I got this on my Kobo.) I wasn’t even half-way through the novel when I went and bought books 2 and 3 knowing that I would want to continue the series as soon as possible!
The description throughout the story held my attention 100% and I tend to phase out when I come across long passages of description in fantasy novels. I like the dialogue and action scenes, but description is sort of my zone out area. There really wasn’t much about the book that I didn’t like.
However, I wasn’t instantly in love with either Han or Raisa. I didn’t dislike them, but it took me a little while to warm up to them and really feel for them. Towards the end of The Demon King (an ending I was totally suspecting, because, you know, the TITLE and all…) I was pretty sure that I was fully on board rooting for each of the two protagonists and their respective quests. I especially enjoyed Raisa in the next books because she reminded me a lot of Ce’Nedra from the David & Leigh Eddings Belgariad / Mallorean series. (I always loved Ce’Nedra…not as much as I adore Polgara, but close!) (That being said, I kept picturing Draco Malfoy as the mean boy wizard even though he was described as not looking anything like him. It was just how mean he was I was all, BAD MALFOY! PLAY NICE!)
This is a story about many stories and you sort of know right away that they will all eventually connect. That is the way of fantasy, my friends. And I am ok with that, because I tend to like formula in my fantasy stories. It’s comforting.
Be prepared… Since I read this series all in a row, my next bunch of posts will be all about the Seven Realms. You have been warned.
(And I am writing this in Word, while on a train trip. I am going to try and get as many of them written as I can since my blog has been woefully silent for too long. Sorry!)