Review: The Demon King. The Seven Realms Series 1 by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon Kingdemon-king

506 pages
Hyperion
published in 2016

1. The Demon King
2. The Exiled Queen
3. The Gray Wolf Throne
4. The Crimson Crown

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.

In the end this book was better than I expected after the first couple of pages. I will go into some details later on, so SPOILER ALERT!

The story primarily takes place in the Queendom of the Fells, which is ruled by Queen Marianna. It is a traditional medieval Fantasy setting that includes magic, magical artifacts and swordplay. A long time ago, a wizard went nuts, abducted Queen Hanalea and broke the world. This is how he came by the name of ‘The Demon King’. Not to be confused with this Demon King:

finn

Hanalea turned out to be an icon & a legend after that, as she defeated her captor and brought peace to the realms once again. But naturally wizards were not trusted any more. The clans, who are up to this day living in the mountains, were given the job of restraining the wizards and keeping them in check. They produce & control rechargeable amulets, that wizards use to access their power. So that’s the situation right now. The current Queen still has a wizard advisor, but wizards are limited in their power to avoid the Breaking of the world again. Wheel of Time vibes anyone?

I did like the setting and thought that the history was well thought through. I had a good image of the world and didn’t think there was anything important missing. I also very much enjoyed the style of writing and found the story easy to read. I couldn’t think of any boring parts right now.

Although some of the characters are traditional Fantasy tropes, others only appear so at the start but actually have a few more layers. We have the weak and beautiful Queen who is obviously influenced by her ambitious sorcerer advisor. Nothing new. But then there’s Raisa, the Queen’s rebellious 16year old daughter, who is on the one hand just that – a 16year old who thinks about kissing boys and sneaking out in the middle of the night. But on the other hand wants to be responsible as the heiress to the throne and make the right decisions for the good of the realm. For example, she is aware of the fact that she might not be able to marry for love but for what’s best for the nation. I liked her for that, the same as I hated her for being dumb and making stupid decisions.

Han is kind of the male protagonist of the story and I was wrong about him as well. I thought he was the innocent boy with mysterious past. He has a mysterious past but is far from innocent. I did like Han as a character and enjoyed reading about him, although he was on the edge of being over the top and unbelievable. He’s 16 years old as well. But already has established a reputation for himself as a mighty gang leader in the poor parts of the city. He moved on from this though and tries to behave for the sake of his little sister. So when did he become a gang leader? When he was 10? Come on. He’s just a kid. there’s a limit to what kids can do. The author should have made Han a little older, then it would have been more believable.

Spoiler-Alert now!

What I had a problem with is, that sometimes the actions and reactions of characters didn’t make sense! For example – Raisa is at a Birthday Party and Mycah Bayar, the sneaky, unbelievably good looking & charming son of evil wizard advisor tries to make her drunk and sneak her out to his room. Her dad finds out, confronts them and for some reason DOESN’T GET ANGRY AT ALL! There’s this guy who is about to RAPE YOUR DAUGHTER and she’s obviously all groggy and not thinking clear. And Mycah acts smug in front of you!! And you stand there all calm and let him get away with that?

dude-wtf-wrong_1

If I was Raisa and that was my dad, Mycah would wake up in wizard hospital a couple of days later. I know that Mycah says he didn’t know that Raisa was actually jinxed, but the fact is, he thought he made her drunk and charmed her and thought that was alright.

Also, evil wizard advisor hatched this awesome plan to gain more power and be free from the influence of the clans once more. He jinxed the Queen into thinking that it would be a great idea to marry Raisa to his son Mycah. Although it is strictly forbidden and would lead to problems and probably war with the clans. Got everything set up nicely and is apparently aware that he has to act quickly or his scheme won’t work. So Raisa is present in the Queen’s room and they want to speed-wed them there and then. Then this happened:

Raisa: Lemme just get my necklace from my room with only Mycah as someone to look out for me. I will be back. For sure.

Queen: Sure.

Wizard: Okay.

6474-raw-facepalm-hat-john_cena-wwe

Aaaaand she’s gone..

Romancing in this book? Yes, but very tame and not very deep. Some flirting, kissing, but nothing grand and epic. Just some teens trying stuff out. Nothing serious. There should be more in the following books though. I actually preferred the interactions between Raisa and her childhood friend and now soldier & protector Amon Byrne, as it’s just a very ‘light’ romance as of now and the feelings are developing.

Unfortunately the story is quite predictable very often and didn’t manage to surprise me. I could see the reveals in the end coming early on. Still doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the book. I actually think it was a good story, but more of an introduction of what’s to come. I might read on as I am curious about Han’s storyline from now on.

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