Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Demon King, Seven Realms volume I, by Cinda Williams Chima- Review
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for 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.
I'm ashamed to admit that part three of the Seven Realms, The Grey Wolf Throne, has been sitting on my shelf since BEA 2011 waiting for me to go out and buy the first two parts. Apparently I just needed the right instigation, which was Cinda Williams Chima coming to the Ontario Book Bloggers meet up at the start of the month, to encourage me to dig in at long last.
Of course once I started I was a bit relieved that I'd sat on it until the week the final book came out, because it is way too spectacular a series, with cliff hangers far too big, at the end of each volume, to have to wait for them to be written and published!
A sweeping political fantasy, Chima makes sure to connect to both male and female readers with her shifting point of view between Cuffs the streetlord and Raisia the Princess Heir to the Grey Throne. Both of whom are resourceful, willful, strong and passionate, but who are from worlds that couldn't be further apart. She takes her time introducing you to their lives, slowly revealing their backgrounds and their innermost desires and fears, and by the time the book is done I defy you to not be totally in love with each of them.
Fast paced, full of action, adventure and shocking discoveries, The Demon King is a wild ride. Chima covers an amazing amount of ground for a first book and it's hard to believe there are three more books, about the same size, full of story left to tell. In many ways it's a Game of Thrones style story for the YA audience, as various factions, wizards, the clan and the valefolk fight for power over the throne. Everyone has a play, and you're always left wondering who's going to come out on top.
I turned the last page just a couple of hours before the Blogger meet-up, and I was positively breathless with love for the book by the time I got to meet Chima in person. And I was more than a little keen to get home and start book two!
A fantastic start to what looks like an amazing quartet of books, I'm equally appalled I hadn't read any sooner and relieved I waited until it's all available. Seven Realms read-a-thon, here I come!
The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima
Published by Hyperion, October 6th 2009
Buy The Demon King on Amazon