Book Review: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

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'Marianna, 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.

This was a good read.  I had some issues with it, but I think it may have just been me.  I read the book over the course of several days and found myself having a hard time keeping track of the story and some of the characters. 

The first half of the book felt so slow, with all of the world-building and introduction of tons of characters.  The world building was good but it didn't really spell things out the way I like.  I kept getting confused as to who was who with some of the minor characters and I had a hard time keeping the towns straight.

The last 200 pages saved the book for me.  The plot was good, and I think that this will be a great series.  I almost always have a hard time really liking the first novel in a series.  But, I do have to say that most of the time while I was reading The Demon King, I kept wishing I was reading Graceling, Fire, Dreamhunter or Dreamquake, or The Hunger GamesWhile I did enjoy it, The Demon King made me want to re-read all of my favorite fantasy books.

Just One Gripe:
The super slow first 300 pages---I probably would have given up had I not read so many stellar reviews of The Demon King.

The Best Thing About This Book:
The plot during the last half of the book.  The last few pages contain a major plot twist which I did not expect.

Appropriate for a younger audience:
Characters:  4/5
Plot: 3/5
Setting/Imagery: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Ending: 4/5
Total Score:  18/25


  1. This looks like a great book. Fantasy can be slow sometimes, but even though I don't like to always come to terms with it, fantasy books seem to be my favorite. I also still need to read the Warrior Heir trilogy from this author... man a lot of reading to do! O.o

  2. This sounds like a great read. Thanks for hopping by my blog. I'm a new follower of yours and love it already!

  3. I want to read this one because I loved her heir books.


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