Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raia aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

Title: The Demon King
Series: Seven Realms #1
Published: October 6th 2009 by Hyperion Books
ISBN: 1423118235 (ISBN13: 9781423118237)

This book is one of my favorite genres, high fantasy. I love the idea of royalty, and this book was beautifully written. Cinda Williams Chima is a master at imagery and world building, and many times, I felt like I was transported into the scene with taste, smell, touch, and sight. Each character showed a depth that made me grow to care for them. Raisa, the princess of Fells was a strong, independent, girl who could point out her own weaknesses, such as she always wanted things to go her way. As a princess, Raisa is faced with many responsibilities and challenges while she just wants to embrace the warrior side of herself and be free. Her mother is the epitome for the perfect queen, but lacking the quality of strength. She constantly needed the aide of her advisers, and seemed to ignore anything that marred her perfect world. This is something Raisa does not sit well with, and decides to take matters in her own hands. Her mother always talked about marriage to Raisa, pointing out suitors who would benefit the kingdom, but Raisa does not want to be under the restraints of marriage. And who would at the age of sixteen? 

The Demon King not only spoke of Raisa's troubles, but also introduced us to the world of Han Alister, which was a refreshing change from the life of a princess. Han was the former streetlord of the Raggers, who was respected and feared. He left this life in order to protect his little sister, Mari. Without a father, Han supported his mother and sister, always struggling to put food on the table. His life was not made easier by his mother who held the switch and constantly made him feel inferior to others. Han lived many different lives, all with different names. He was known as Han to his family, Cuffs to the gangs, and Hunts Alone to the clans. 

The supporting characters in this novel weren't perfect, which is what made it feel even more real. Amon Byrne is Raisa's childhood friend who has grown up into a handsome man after three years at a military academy. He is loyal and follows in his father's footsteps to serve the Gray Wolf Throne. At times, his feelings for Raisa make it a choice between what he should do and what he wants to do. Which is actually a question every character must ask themselves at some point in the book. Dancer is Han's best friend and is someone Han will always stand by, even when he finds out Dancer is not who everybody knows him to be. Then again, Han is also different than what he knows himself to be.  

Finally, my favorite aspect of this book was the intertwining of the character's paths. Who would think the Princess Raisa, heir to the Gray Wolf Throne, would ever meet Han Alister, a former streetlord? This story is full of romance, mystery, betrayal, and bravery with all the details that I could ever want in a book. There is no doubt that I will be reading the next one! 

Oh, and I've noticed Kayla does these cute signatures like "Keep reading!" or "Happy reading!" So I'm going to try doing that...

Stay nerdy! (I tried.) 
Book Nerd and Proud,

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