The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
by Cinda Williams Chima
(First published November 19, 2009 by Disney-Hyperion)
Yo, the fact that I hadn’t yet read Cinda Williams Chima’s THE DEMON KING until now is egregious, guys. A serious misstep on my part. Why this happened is beyond me. I knew about the Seven Realms series; I knew it was high fantasy with magic, politics, and intrigue; I knew that lots of people thought it was excellent. I’d even checked it out of my library once before and somehow got distracted by other things. Sometimes, I think I just need to be in the right mood to read certain books, and that includes my beloved high fantasies. THANKFULLY, I was finally in the mood to read THE DEMON KING because guys? IT’S LEGIT, and I can’t wait to read further in this series.
So, THE DEMONG KING by Cinda Williams Chima has lots of things going for it: it’s got magic, a repressed princess, a thief trying to reform, a queen not acting like herself, and a 1,000-year-old truce between wizards and the clans–a Native American-esque race who control and disseminate magic–borne out of the actions of an ancient queen named Hanalea, and the most powerful wizard ever to live, the Demon King. This truce is really the center of the story because it’s losing its footing among the wizard elite, and their efforts to subvert the peace that helps contain their magic loom HUGELY over the whole story.
Of course, the politics of THE DEMON KING wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t have such AWESOME characters flesh out the rest of the story. Cinda Williams Chima gives us well-rounded, complex, funny, bright characters in Princess Raisa and Han Alister. Raisa is confident, strong, opinionated, and feeling a little rebellious. There are times when she might come off as entitled and spoiled, but she has so many redeeming qualities. Raisa is KICK-ASS, friends, and she’s really coming into her own by the end of this book. She’s got BIG THINGS coming, I can feel it!
Han Alister is, to me, almost instantly lovable. He’s got rough edges and a sketchy past, but his motives are sweet and understandable and his struggles with a life of crime on the streets lend to his complexity. But YO, Han seriously CHARMED the pants off of me (and, I feel like, LOTS of girls in Fellsmarch, too. Honestly? I couldn’t blame a single one of them) and I LOVED his story. He’s smart and sneaky and he’s got that unassuming confidence about him that’s really magnetic.
Both Han and Raisa have spent lots of time with the clans and it’s clear that they both prefer the more carefree, natural environment there. Of course, they’ve never encountered each other there. In fact, although I’m assuming that Han and Raisa are the OTP of this series, their interactions are limited in THE DEMON KING, and Cinda Williams Chima throws a further wrench in their interactions by giving Raisa an alias at certain times so that Han winds up having no idea who she really is. They’re definitely feeling the little electric shocks of each other, though, if you know what I mean. MOAR OF THEM, PLEASE.
Don’t worry, though, there’s some kissy face. It just happens to be between the two leads and other people, which I appreciate. Han has clearly gotten some before, and he has a nice little relationship with a girl from one of the clans. And I appreciate very much that Raisa enjoys kissing boys and is looking forward to doing it more often. She’s unashamed of her burgeoning desire for making out and being intimate. (Unfortunately, she mostly kisses the douchebag, Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, who is the resident BAD GUY.) She does get some nice relationship complexity with her old friend Amon Byrne, though, who is a member of the Queen’s Guard and is absolutely being set up as the “nice guy” to Han’s “trouble maker” in le triangle.
All in all, the action and the plotting and ALL THE LIES in THE DEMON KING by Cinda Williams Chima make for one gripping tale. There’s all kinds of juicy stuff going, y’all! Back-stabbing, SEKRETS, death, mystery, sneaky political machinations, confusing relationships, magical shenanigans, and a big reveal at the end, which I did kind of puzzle out early, to be honest. But that did NOTHING to dampen my LOVE of this story or the people in it, nor did it make me any LESS eager to get my grabby hands on the rest of the series. Huzzah for great fantasy!! HUZZAH!
Rewind & Review is an AMAZING new meme hosted jointly by two fabulous ladies, Ginger from Greads! and Lisa from Lisa Is Busy Nerding. This meme is all about mining your TBR piles and finding some long-lost gems (from 2010 or earlier) that you meant to read and somehow passed over. I KNOW, but it happens. Each month, each participant picks a few oldies but hopefully goodies to read, reviews ’em, and spreads the word. Huzzah!