Copy: From Library
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.
I have been looking at Ms Chimas' books for quite some time, but I never seemed to pick one up. So when I saw 'The Demon King' I decided it was time to take the plunge. What a fascinating plunge it was. This story was full of all the things I love about fantasy - new worlds, pre-industrial societies, magic, queens and princesses, romance, adventure, evil magicians - oh, I just love it all.
Although the main protagonist is Raisa, a princess, there are 2, no sorry 3, very strong male protagonists. We have Han Allister, the street kid trying to do better for himself; Micah Bayar, son of the chief wizard, priviledged and spoiled; and Amon Byrne, son of the Captain of the guard and Raisa's childhood friend. All three of these characters were well fleshed out (literally and metaphorically!) and it was hard to decide which one was my favourite. Raisa was a wonderful, strong female character, who wants to truly understand her kingdom before she becomes Queen. She is also determined not to be sold to the highest bidder in the marriage stakes. What a lovely breath of fresh air she was.
This was an exciting and fun-filled read that I went through fairly quickly, considering it is over 500 pages long. I was completely hooked by the story, and I'm now really looking forward to the sequel 'The Exiled Queen'. I would say this is an absolute must read for fans of fantasy without the 'urban' element. Try it, I'm positive you won't be disappointed