Cinda Williams Chima – The Demon King

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against them. Han soon 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 relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai camp – riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn’t looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties.

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 it seems like her mother has other plans for her–plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima.

The first installment in the new series by Cinda Williams Chima does a good job filling in a long history of the Seven Realms while establishing the present characters, and giving them meaning and purpose in the current climate. The 500+ page tome is well-paced and only took me a few days to finish.

While it does lean towards a lot of cliche’s with the characters in particular, Chima tries to balance it out with a few flaws.

They are however, slightly too perfect. Both main characters, Hans Alister (Street Lord with the heart of gold) and Raisa (“I’m really not a spoiled Princess”) are both beautiful, brave, reckless and clever. Raisa is slightly boy-crazy, and while it fits in with a sixteen year-old girl who’s just been put on the market and is surrounded by suitors, but unfortunately it amused me rather than engaged me.

That’s not to say the characters are not engaging. I found these an immensely enjoyable read, but they’re not going to transcend the YA fantasy genre, they’re simply too light, despite the painstaking job Chima has done to create an intricate history of the Seven Realms.

All-in-all, a good read This book is really just building towards the next installment, which I am looking forward to.

Rating: ★★★★☆