Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
By Cinda Williams Chima
Hyperion Books

To Sum It Up: Former street lord and thief extraordinaire, Han Alister, is trying to get out of the life. Han is trying to make an honest living for his family by trading with the clanspeople of Marisa Pines. When he and his friend, Dancer, come across three young wizards leading a raging fire through the forest while on a hunting trip, they know they must interfere. Wizards aren't allowed in Clan territory, and they most certainly aren't allowed to burn down the wilderness. Han and Dancer manage to stop the young wizards, but Han can't help himself and insists that one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, son of the High Warlock, give him Micah's amulet. Han has no idea that the stolen amulet once belonged to the legendary Demon King or that his sticky fingers just brought him a whole world of trouble.

At the same time, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir to the Fells, has her own problems to deal with. After three years of running free among the Demonai Clan, Raisa must return to court. Raisa's mother, the queen, is hell-bent on marrying Raisa off as soon as she comes of age. Raisa does not want to marry; she wants to be like Hanalea, the warrior queen. But the present queen insists on marriage, and Raisa can't help but question whether this is truly her mother's wish or someone else’s.

Review: Wow. There is no adjective in the world to describe how I felt after finishing this book. The Demon King was a spectacular, mind-blowingly amazing book! I am so glad that I read it, and it is easily one of the best books I've read this year. Let the gushing commence!

The concept of the story was so original and enrapturing that I immediately fell in love with it. The world in which the story takes place is huge. Even though there was a map in the front and back of the book, I was still completely lost. In a way, I was reminded of Westeros from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Not only are both worlds huge, but they are also insanely developed and complex. Much like ASOIAF, The Demon King had a whole background history behind the intense present events.

The setting definitely screams Middle Ages with queens, guilds, and all of that other good jazz. However, you also had the prominent magical element, too. There were the evil wizards, and then there were those who used “good” magic. The balance between the two was just perfect.

Throughout the book, the point of view shifts between Han, a street urchin, and Raisa, a queen in training. This shift was so appealing because they were extremely different. Han is just amazing! You don't realize how cool he is until you read about him from other people's eyes. Han's beginnings are rather peculiar. His father died in battle, which is quite sketchy. Han is amazingly handsome for a man of his status. He has these magical silver cuffs around his wrists that absorb magic and refuse to come off, and he has this undeniable connection to the Clans. Han is a sketchy kid, and I can't seem to figure him out.

Raisa, the other main protagonist in the book, was not my favorite character. I loved her whole “just because I'm a princess doesn't mean I can't play in the mud” kind of attitude. What I did not appreciate was her selfishness and sense of self-entitlement. She caused Amon, her childhood friend turned soldier, so much trouble. I also got tired of her whining about the Clans. I know they're cool, and I know you want to go and live with them, but give it a rest, Raisa! You're a queen in training and you've got a kingdom to rule!

Speaking of the Clans, I thought that they were amazing! I absolutely adored them. The clanspeople were peaceful, while at the same time ├╝ber powerful. In a way, the Clans were running the whole kingdom. Since they saved the kingdom hundreds of years ago, the Clans had a huge role in ruling and politics. Raisa's father, the king, was actually from the Demonai Clan. Dancer, Han's best friend, was my favorite character and he, too, was also from the Clans.

What really made the book for me was the rough-and-tumble environment of the streets Han once ruled. I loved watching Han interact with the Raggers, a thieving gang from the slums of Ragmarket. It was interesting to see how Han changed to fit the role the Raggers put him in. A decent part of the book was spent in Ragmarket, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The whole book was just amazing. I was awed by Chima's creative world building. I felt like I was part of the world, as though I were there running through the streets with Han or riding horses with Raisa. A lot of books can drag you in, but few can keep you there long after you've finished. I'm ready for the sequel!

All in All: The Demon King has to be up there in my top ten favorite books. I am so hyped to get my grubby hands on the other books that Chima has written.


  1. This does sound amazing and I really like that you felt it was similar to ASOIAF! Thanks for introducing me to this book :)

  2. The similarities between the Demon King and ASOIAF are eery. I think those similarities are partly why I enjoyed The Demon King as much as I did.

  3. Thanks for the great review Ally :) !! I've actually never read a YA book set in the Middle Ages so I'm adding this one to my wishlist !!

    1. The Demon King would be a great read to break into a middle ages sort of theme. I can't wait until you read it, I'm really curious to see what you think of it!

  4. Never heard of it! Lovely review, I feel the need to add it to my ever growing wishlist too :)

    1. You definitely should! It's a great book, and completely worth adding to your to-read pile! :D

  5. I totally agree with this! This series is my pretty much all time favourite and that says quite a lot due to the amount of books I devour! I don'#t really know what to think about her other series with what I have heard from others, but I would definitely give this book a go time and time again!


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