Contains spoilers for book one of the Seven Realms series: The Demon King
Seven Realms: Book Two
Written by Cinda Williams Chima
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published September 28th 2010 by Disney Hyperion
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Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
Han Alister, now seventeen has just discovered the cuffs he has worn since he was a child were placed there for a reason: they hid what he truly is - a wizard. With this new revelation, Han and his best friend Fire Dancer are sent to Mystwerk House by the clans to learn how to harness their magic skills. There they discover that they too are not the only ones set on a path. Along the way, Han faces further danger amongst not only his fellow classmates - but a mysterious and unknown wizard by the name of Crow. Undergoing the mentoring of multiple wizards leaves Han gaining more knowledge than he ever knew was out there, some worse that he ever imagined.
Raisa is not far from Han. She too has landed at school, Oden's Ford which is right across from Mystwerk. There she learns the ways of a soldier and the ways of being a true queen. She must avoid being discovered as the princess heir; therefore she goes under the disguise of Rebecca Morley. She faces many dangers, but none more so than her hearts desires. If she hopes to become queen she must stay under the radar from her enemies that are only a bridge away.
I am so happy that I decided to marathon this series. I have a bad habit of never finishing a series: I'll read the first book, and despite how much I enjoyed it, I never return. It would have been such a waste if I decided to just read the first and "come back to this series later" because the sequel exceeds that of the first, and I've been told it only gets more climactic from here. I'm currently reading the third and I can't wait to see what shit goes down in that one.
Anywho, The first book The Demon King started off slower than molasses but thankfully picked up. I say that like it's a bad thing, but let me clarify that the first book was fantastic. The Exiled Queen, however was a very fast read (for me anyway). There was much more excitement when it came to our characters lives. We have Han Alister, our fair haired boy who went from a ex-streetlord trying to make ends meet to a wizard. Then, Raisa who went from princess, to a runaway princess masquerading as a soldier cadet.The characters, Han and Raisa were so much better in the second than they were in the first. I credit this to the fact that this book being the second needed less world building which allotted a ton of room for character development. In the first book I wasn't a HUGE fan of Raisa, but I adored Han straight off the bat. I still loved Han here, but I grew much more fonder of Raisa. She's my tiny, kickass princess who will defend the little people even when she should be more concerned with preserving her own life. She also was away from her lavish life in the kingdom to surviving is soldier school while dodging assassins so that allowed for a lot of room for her to evolve.
“You touch me again, you arrogant Ardenine swine, and I swear on the blood of Hanalea the warrior, I will geld you. Do you understand?”
Fire Dancer, who is Han's best brofriend was relevant here but sadly not as much as I would have hoped. I really hope we get a far more fleshed out plot for this boy because I feel like he has a lot to offer but we haven't been able to explore it just yet. But if not, that's okay. I can deal. He's still interesting from afar. Amon, whom is Raisa's bestie and guard is much more manly in this one. In the first I compared him to a baby giraffe. While my shipping of him and Raisa sizzled out, I still love their relationship and how much the two would do for eachother.
The setting was also so neat! It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. The wizard school, although nowhere as cool as Hogwarts was pretty fun to experience from Han's POV. I loved that they weren't stuck in the dreadful Fellsmarch where nothing ever good happens to Han. Also, his arch nemesis - the Bayar twins are his classmates which adds a whole lotta drama and fighting amongst the newling wizards. Kind of like a Potter vs. Malfoy situation.. except deadlier ^^
Although the plot took a slight backseat in this one, I didn't mind. I'm reading the third now and it's back in full swing. Book two really focuses on the characters and growing them into wiser, more aware people. Which I adore because if I hate the characters, I'll quite often hate the books. And I think it's safe to say I've never had the pleasure of reading all to many books where I actually LOVE both characters. Ever read a multiple POV book and you get to that character you just can't stand and you'd rather skip it? Well there's not of that here.
Also I think I can declare that I ship Raisa and Han to the moon and back. That is all.
GO READ THIS SERIES PEOPLE.
The Exiled Queen was an amazing sequel which surpassed the first book by a mile stone. I can promise that this series is one of the few that get better with every book. The writing was fluid, and Chima just knows the right cords to strike and how to get your heart beating. If you're into a thrilling and epic YA fantasy with some brilliant and heartwarming characters then I implore you to start this series. This is one series I don't want to end. I know I'll never find anything quite like it ever again.
Kynndra is currently reading The Grey Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima, and fangirling the hell out over the Seven Realms series.