Seven Realms: Book One
Written by Cinda Williams Chima
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published October 6th 2009 by Disney Hyperion
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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.Han is a sixteen year old boy who lives the life of an ex-streetlord. Going from a life of pinching purses and being one of the top gang leaders of Fellsmarch to a boy who tries to earn an honest living is not easy. Trouble finds Han in more ways than one. His life goes from bad to worse when he and his friend Fire Dancer confiscate a wicked amulet from a group of wizards. Unfortunately for Han, he has taken a valuable possession belonging to the High Wizard - a wizard who will go above and beyond to get the Demon King amulet back.
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 returned 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 Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.
On the other side of the spectrum is Raisa - princess heir and successor to the throne. Raisa is on a mission to become a better queen than that of her mother. Her adventure leads her into the bowels of Fellsmarch where she discovers just how poorly her people have been treated and ignored by her mother. She means to change that. However, her mother and the High Wizard have different plans for Raisa and will do whatever they can to see to it that Raisa bends to their will.
After the fanboying of one of my good friends, I decided to embark on this relatively unknown series. Not many on my Goodreads friends list have read this yet so I'm kind of happy to introduce it to you if you haven't heard of the Seven Realm series before. Anyway, I was so so happy with this one. For a semi large book (500+) pages I think I read it pretty damn quick. Not only because I'm trying to catch up to my friend, but because it's told in two compelling POV's. Usually I detest multiple POV's - hate them really. Anything more than three characters is frustrating for me. Thankfully The Demon King was only two, two I can handle happily. So I guess that's where I'll start!
The story begins with Han. It didn't take me long to love Han's character - and for once it was more like a friend love than a swoon love. Which is remarkably refreshing. Han, throughout the novel got his ass handed to him more than one, so I can't help but pity the poor lad. Everywhere he turns, someone is out to seriously main or kill him. He just can't seem to catch a break. Both for his old reputation of being one of the top dogs of Fellsmarch and for his altercation with the Demon King amulet. Out of the two POV's, Han's was certainly the better in my opinion. Not only was his story far more intriguing but he as a person was more relatable.
>>>>> Where there is Han, there is also his sidekick/basically adopted bro, Fire Dancer. Dancer is also a semi-important character. There wasn't much of him in this one until the end, but he's going to be really prominent in book two (from what I've read of that). I look forward to indulging in that arc.
Our second MC is Raisa. Her story is far different than Han's. She is the princess heir, therefore her life if not controlled by the rugged streets, but by her lavish kingdom and her overbearing mother. I actually kind of hated Raisa to begin with. She felt like an annoying child who couldn't see the bigger picture. She was selfish and cared more about the next boy she'd be making out with in the shadows. But I think that was the point. Character growth right? Well eventually, after a certain event, I grew far more fond of the sassy princess and she grew up to be a kickass take-no-shit kinda girl.
>>>>> Much like Han, Raisa also has a partner in crime. That being her best friend Amon - son of the Captain of the Queen's Guard. Now Amon is where my personal swoon factor came in. He reminded me of an awkward baby giraffe. Tall, sweet and trying to find his feet in Raisa's life. He's also really protective of Raisa and would basically kick anyones ass who dared hurt his princess. PS: I think I ship this, yet to be discovered.
On to the plot. Usually I'm very particular on fantasy plots. Some plots make me sigh because they are just so darn predictable. This one may of been predictable in a few aspects but overall I had quite a few "WHAT THE FUCK" moments which is good enough for me in what has become of this generic YA world we live in today. I feel obligated to add that The Demon King is very info-dumpy. But it's a fantasy series so lets be honest, it's to be expected. But at least it's interesting as hell! I was actually looking forward to my annual history lesson of the Seven Realms.
“History," Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. "Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?"
"So hopefully we get smarter and don't make the same mistakes again.”
The plot twists were really dark and also added a huge flare to the characters lives. I think it's important to say that The Demon King is just the introduction to a much larger story. It takes baby steps, but by the time you hit the last few chapters you're on a full sprint. I can tell that the next three books will be a thrill ride. The writing was simple and lovely at the same time. Chima was able to make everyone of her characters into an individual, which is no easy feat. Plus you actually come to care about everyone involved. Every bit of the story was necessary. I don't know why more people haven't read this! Feel free to come to me when you reach the end and get kicked in the feels a dozen times over c': please come cry to me, I will cry with you.
The Demon King was an adventure through and through. Whether you're reading from the prospective of a ragtag teenage streetlord or that of a strong willed princess you're bound to have a good time. Chima's writing is hooking and downright entertaining. With an intricate plot and delightful characters the story comes to life and plays like a movie in your head. I'll be marathoning the entire series, (wish me luck - they are long as heck) so keep your eye out for the rest of the reviews to come within the month. Go read this hidden gem guys!
Kynndra is currently reading The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima, and lowkey fretting about the future.