The Demon King – Seven Realms #1 – Cinda Williams Chima

After reading two books in the Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima and loving it, I decided to read her Seven Realms series. Shattered Realms is a spinoff or rather a continuation with the next generation of the Seven Realms series so I probably should have read Seven Realms first but I kind of like this better because I feel like I know characters already and I know a little of what is going to happen in this series.

I think this series is better than Shattered Realms because I connect with the characters more and, even though I know some of what happens from the other series, this book kept me turning page after page with wonder.

This book starts out with Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, getting ready for her name day celebration. It’s a season of many name day celebrations for aristocrats and she is looking forward to flirting with having fun even though she knows there’s a more serious side to turning sixteen. It means she is considered an adult and could be married off to make alliances but she’s made it clear to the queen, her mother, that she thinks it would be better to wait for the civil war to be over in the southern country of Arden to make decisions about alliances.

One thing, amongst many,  I liked about this book is the complex  of the politics and people of the country of Fells, not to mention (even though I am mentioning them) the complexities other countries. The governing rules come from their history and an attempt to never repeat that history.

A thousand years ago, wizards became too powerful and tried to take over until the clans got together and stopped. Now, wizards have limited power and have strict rules. They can never marry into the Gray Wolf line. They can’t go into the Spirit mountains where the clans and Demonai Warriors live. The clans make their amulets which have limited power. All amulets made prior to the rules have been outlawed.

Han Alister left a life of being the leader of a gang in the city of Fellsmarch to be fostered by the clans. He’s known as Cuffs on the streets because of the silver cuffs on his wrists that he’s had on ever since he can remember. He knows they are somehow charmed because they grow with him.

Han and his clan friend, Dancer,were hunting in the Spirit Mountains when they witnessed three wizard boys on horses driving a herd of deer with magical fire. Han and Dancer confronted the boys who turned out to be trying to impress the Princess who was hunting in the lower mountains below. One announced himself as Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard Counselor to the Queen. He reached for his amulet, an amulet that he should not have had yet due to his age, so Han pointed his weapon at him and forced Micah to throw the amulet on the ground. Han was smart enough not to give his real name to the wizards and gave the name of an old rival gang leader, Shiv , instead.

As a result, the mountain started on fire and down below and almost killed the queen and the princess but somehow Micah managed to look like a hero by warning them of the fire.

When gang members of Han’s former rival start showing up dead, the Queen’s Guard think it might be Han so Han sets off on his own investigation to find the real killer.

I and probably every other reader figured it out right away but just in case, I won’t spoil it.

The plot is further complicated by the queen making bad decisions, the clans call her a weak queen and she seems to be, at the very least, manipulated by Lord Bayar, and maybe even having an affair with him. Raisa’s father is married to the queen but is gone a lot of the time. I did not like the queen at all.

I bought the package of all four books of this series because it was cheaper than buying each individual book. I wanted just to continue reading but I figured I better stop to write a review before I get everything confused and jumbled together.

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