Book Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Demon King (A Seven Realms Novel #1)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Details: Paperback, 512 pgs.
Published: Sept. 17th, 2009 by Disney Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased


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’Helena, 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.

As soon as I started this book I was sucked in.  I liked it immediately and never felt bored.  But it was the middle on that had me squeeing.  I was reading like a maniac, finding it hard to take the time breathe and every time I set the book down I felt a little squee escape.  Seriously, it’s THAT good.  I wanted to scream from the rooftops to read this book!  
I don’t think there’s a single thing I would have changed.  The pacing was great and I got the information I needed spread out throughout the story.  I was kept wondering about things, catching hints here and there, but still kept on my toes wondering.   Although I had plenty of guesses for the different things, I don’t think I ever figured out the whole story for any of it.  And since it’s a high fantasy the balance needs to be perfect.  I need enough information and descriptions to picture it, but not so many I get bored.  This book was completely balanced in that sense as well.
This is just the beginning of what I can tell is going to be an amazing series.  I’m incredibly anxious to get my hands on the next two books and devour them like I did this one.  Seriously, I cannot recommend this book any more highly.
Sorry for the somewhat vague review (and lack of emotion).  I finished this book literally moments before leaving on vacation and wasn’t able to write up a review for awhile.  While I remember the brilliant characters, picture the amazing scenery and remember the plot fairly well, the story has faded just a bit from my mind and it’s hard to grasp all the little details I generally like to share.  Just know this- this was a book I was recommending to everyone while I was on vacation.  When asked what book I recommend the most this was the first book off my tongue.  Of course a lot of that was because I’d just finished it… but seriously, just read it!

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  1. High fantasy tends to be hit or miss with me. Mostly because I feel like I have to read it in a short amount of time and, if it’s a series, read it all back to back, because the stories can be so complicated.

    I’ve heard that Cinda Williams Chima’s stuff is fantastic though. I have the first book in her Warrior Heir series, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Your gushing review for this makes me want to give it a shot soon though. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much!

  2. Hi Candace. I also finished reading The Demon King just a couple of days ago and did my own review on it as well! I have The Exiled Queen on hold at my library and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive! If you liked The Seven Realms series so far, I definitely recommend you also check out Cinda William Chima’s Heir Chronicles, that’s another fun read. Although not high fantasy, it’s set more in the modern world, there’s mention of laptops, ipods and such in it. Still though, the writing style and pace is very similar to The Demon King. She’s become one of my favourite authors now!

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