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Why did I read this book: Author Cinda Williams Chima contacted us with a review query, and after checking out the: 1. Summary: from amazon. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari.
While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. 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.
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 three outsiders turn out to be charmcasters wizards , intruding on Clan land and violating the Naeming — a thousand year truce between the green magic Clan and the Wizard nobility, after the world was torn apart by reckless magic.
The charmcasters are trailed by a magic-fueled and colored fire, burning land that should not be able to burn so early in the season, and an enraged Dancer demands that the wizards — the same age as Dancer and Han — turn over their ill-gotten amulets, which allow them to use magic. Things get ugly between Dancer and the leader of the wizard riders, a cruelly handsome young man named Micah Bayar, who also happens to be son of the most powerful wizard in the kingdom.
When Micah refuses to relinquish his amulet, Han resorts to aiming an arrow at his heart — and Micah and his lackeys are forced to comply, leaving the amulet in their wake.
Instead, Han keeps it close, figuring he can at the very least sell it for a tidy sum later if need be. But then the murders begin in Fellsmarch — anyone connected to the mysterious amulet or that might know of its whereabouts are being killed one by one, and their deaths blamed on Han. Meanwhile, in the royal palace, things have also gone awry. As her father, the royal consort, is a Demoni warrior and of the Clan, she has just returned to the palace from her education with her grandmother and the Clan — much to the irritation of her mother, the lovely but flighty Queen Marianna.
Something has changed in the palace, and Raisa begins to receive foreboding warnings, visions of dark times to come. And Queen Marianna seems so ineffectual, so uncaring and distracted when it comes to ruling her own kingdom — and Raisa fears that her mother is under the influence of advisers that promote only their own personal goals, without the good of the kingdom in mind. As her name-day approaches, Raisa also must fend off suitors — especially the intoxicating attentions of young wizard Micah Bayar, and her own old best friend and now personal guard, Amon.
Too, she must learn how to become a good Queen, a strong one that represents the best of her people — and as a sinister plot begins to form concerning the future of the kingdom through Raisa, she must discern who to trust, and take a stand for herself. Chima before, I can safely say that her worldbuilding skills are absolutely fantastic and I have a hunch her earlier fantasy titles also reflect this gift for worldweaving. The realm of the seven kingdoms, of Fellsmarch, the Clan camps, the palace and the rich history of the realm is truly awe-inspiring.
I loved the changing nature of history that Ms. Chima manages to capture, as myth and fact are interchanged over the years. The backstory of the Demon King and his tragic, doomed love affair with the Queen Hanalea is the stuff of epic ballads, and resonates wonderfully throughout the novel.
The social structure, the geography, the careful balance between Clan and Wizard magic is similarly well-constructed, and consequently the changing of that precarious balance feels all the more sinister and terrifying. In terms of plotting and pacing, The Demon King also does a fair job, as it is written well, told in an authoritative and convincing voice, and culminates in a brilliant ending even if the early chapters drag ever so slightly.
Allow me to elaborate via brief dramatis personae :. The Bad Boy Wizard; and 2. Her childhood friend and dependable and now super hot Bodyguard; willful, headstrong, naive, but determined to do the right thing; at more than one point in the story dresses up as a boy to escape the palace.
BUT, despite this familiarity, Ms. Chima proves that even the oldest tropes can still be really entertaining. As our hero, Han is pretty cool and easy to like. Perhaps the most frustrating but understandable thing about The Demon King is that it is a First Novel in a trilogy. It sets the stage, but leaves off when the really good, interesting stuff begins. I finished excited for the second novel, and cannot wait for it to hit shelves hopefully next year.
Definitely recommended for fans of traditional fantasy. Han eased to his feet and drew the bowstring back to his ear. Then paused, sniffing the air. The breeze carried the distinct scent of woodsmoke. His gaze traveled up the mountain and found a thin line of smoke cutting across the slope. He looked at Dancer and raised his eyebrows in inquiry. Dancer shrugged. The ground was soaked and the spring foliage green and lush. Nothing should burn in this season.
The deer in the meadow caught the scent, too. They raised their heads, snorting and stamping their feet nervously, the whites showing in their liquid brown eyes. Han looked up mountain again. Now he could see orange, purple, and green flames at the base of the fire line, and the wind blowing downslope grew hot and thick with smoke. Purple and green? Han thought. Were there plants that burned with colors like those?
The herd milled anxiously for a moment, as if not sure which way to go, then turned as one and charged straight toward them. Han hastily raised his bow again and managed to get off a shot as the deer bounded past. He missed completely.
Han sprinted after the herd, leaping over obstacles, hoping to try again, but it was no use. He caught a tantalizing glimpse of the white flags of their tails before the deer vanished into the pines. Muttering to himself, he trudged back up to where Dancer stood, staring up the mountain. The line of garish flame rolled toward them, picking up speed, leaving a charred and desolate landscape in its wake.
As they watched, the fire gathered momentum, leaping small ravines. Glittering embers landed on all sides, driven by the downslope wind. He shook ash from his hair and slapped sparks off his coat, beginning to realize their danger. They ran across the ridge, slipping and sliding on the shale and wet leaves, knowing a fall could mean disaster.
They took refuge behind a rocky prominence that pierced the thin vegetative skin of the mountain. Rabbits, foxes, and other small animals galloped past, just ahead of the flames. The fire line swept by, hissing and snapping, greedily consuming everything in its path. Han stared, mesmerized. They were boys no older than Han and Dancer, but they wore fine cloaks of silk and summer wool that grazed their stirrups, and long stoles glittering with exotic emblems.
The horses they rode were not compact, shaggy mountain ponies, but flatlander horses, with long, delicate legs and proudly-arched necks, their saddles and bridles embellished with silver fittings. The boys rode with a loose and easy arrogance, as if oblivious of the breathtaking landscape around them. Dancer went still, his bronze face hardening and his blue eyes going flat and opaque. Charmcasters , Han thought, fear and excitement thrilling through him. Wizards did not consort with people like him.
They lived in the elaborate palaces surrounding Fellsmarch Castle, and attended the queen at court. They served as ambassadors to foreign countries—purposefully so. Rumors of their powers of sorcery kept foreign invaders away. You can read the full chapter online HERE. Verdict: A promising start to a strong new if somewhat traditional fantasy series. I eagerly await the release of Book 2, The Exiled Queen!
Definitely recomended. Thea James is half of the maniacal book review duo behind The Book Smugglers. By day, she does digital operations things over at Penguin Random House. It seems insane to me to write them that way. The author has a lovely, yet very unique name. I would pass on this one at the store, and definitely do now just looking at it online. What were they thinking? The art is pretty, but the text on it is plain loopy.
Great review! I want to read this one too, it sounds interesting — even more after reading this review. I read this book and itvwas totally awesome, though on some parts uou can predixt whats going to happen. But it also just keeps you wanting to turn the page!
So, when author Cinda Williams Chima wrote us with a request to review her second novel in the […]. I agree with the archetype of the characters. I read the book and absolutely hated it it was by far the worst book i have read.
Would not recommend it. Chima proves that even the oldest tropes can still be really ent… […]. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Book Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Added by 27 of our members. 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.
The Demon King (Seven Realms Series #1)