Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Demon King

The Demon King
(Seven Realms #1)
Published By: Hyperion Books
Publication Date:  October 6, 2009
Page Count:  506 pages
Source:  Novel Purchased by Reviewer
Audience:  Young Adult Fantasy

My introduction to The Seven Realms series was probably not timed very well on my part…that is, starting it in the midst of the busy holiday season.  Reading only a handful of pages here and there, it did take me some time getting into this world initially.  But once I was able to devote some decent chunks of time to it, I fell into the story quite easily.

The Demon King seems to have set the stage for the rest of the story.  The world building in this first book seemed to start off loose…like we entered in the middle of something, but somehow, the author pulled it all together in the most intricate and all encompassing way.  I am totally invested in it now.

The legends of the realm were central to this story, and it was pretty early on that I could see where this series might be going…with the present-day characters possibly repeating history with a few twists thrown in.

Raisa, the princess heir, was born into royalty and privilege. I liked her nearly from the start because early on, we could see she was not going to be a puppet and be dictated to.  She wanted to make a difference.  Her role model was not her mother but her infamous ancestor, Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen.  Cocooned within the castle’s walls upon her return from Demonai Camp, she longed for information from the realm that she was not getting from her mother…so through some impulsive and creative ways, she did learn about her people.  Being lead to believe that the Queendom took care of their subjects, she was astonished and disappointed to learn that that was not the case.   Once she decided that she wanted to be a different queen from her mother, there was no question that I was behind her, rooting her on!

There was also no question that Raisa was a beautiful young girl who was soon coming to the marrying age.  And there were many princely suitors vying for her hand as her Naeming Day approached.  Raisa, although enjoying the flirtations with some of them, was not interested in marriage just yet.  She had already resigned herself to the idea that she would likely not marry someone she truly loved and that her future husband would likely be one of a strategic alliance.  She just hoped that it would be someone she at least liked to be around.

Two potential love interests for Raisa were actually both forbidden, but that didn’t stop her from spending time with them.   Amon, her childhood friend, who went away to become a soldier and returned more worldly, definitely had her attention.  His ties to her were both born out of friendship and mystical duty.  But there was no question about his feelings for her.

Micah, the son of the most powerful wizard, came across as a bit of a bad boy.  There was a definite attraction between him and Raisa but I got the impression that, on Raisa’s part, because he was forbidden, she didn’t take their relationship very seriously.  As well, being the son of someone who Raisa completely distrusts and has huge contempt for, she seemed to have her guard up when she was around him.  But given how things ended between them at the conclusion of this book, I'm sure we will be seeing MUCH more of Micah, and learning more about the handsome young wizard.  I definitely get the feeling that we’re in for some surprises where he is concerned.

What was interesting about how this story played out was that there were two main characters who lead completely separate lives…Raisa…and Han, but we knew that their paths would collide at some point…and that they did.

Han was a child of the streets…actually a former gang leader of the Raggers known as “Cuffs”, named so for the silver wrist cuffs that he wore for as long as he could remember and were impossible to take off, and seemed to grow with him.  But he had changed from his formerly destructive ways and tried to eek out an honest living and take care of his mother and younger sister.  Unfortunately, Han’s destiny would never lead to an easy life, it seemed…as trouble had its way of finding him.  Even though Han was street-wise, he still had this child-like quality that was definitely at odds with his reputation.  But that is one of the many things I liked about him.

All the characters were well presented and dynamic, and with some, we were given just a taste of who I’m sure will have more presence as the story unfolds.

One of the things I really liked about this story is how all the characters and their paths seemed to be pulled together in the last 100 pages of this instalment…albeit, some a bit more remotely.  As revelations came to pass, I was still surprised because the author laid doubt in my initial predictions…so I came to expect something different, only to be blind-sided that my first prediction was, in the end, spot on!

The Seven Realms has the makings for an epic tale.  And it’s sad that it has sat on my ‘to read’ shelf for far too long.  But another thing that I love about this series is that all the books have been published…so there is no waiting for the next one.  So now, I’m ready to dive into the next instalment and see where these amazing characters’ journeys take them.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

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. Raisa 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.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.


  1. Thanks for the review! I thought the cover looked familiar and turns out it's also on my TBR list. I will have to bump it up too before it sinks any lower and just disappears.

  2. Ohhh! I will definitely be picking up this book!

  3. It's quite a good story so far! I just finished book 2, The Exiled review goes up tomorrow...


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