The Crimson Crown – Seven Realms #4 – Cinda Williams Chima

The Crimson Crown

By Cinda Williams Chima

Seven Realms #4

 

I was hooked the minute I started this series. I couldn’t put it down and this book.

Raisa has been crowned queen but danger is all around her. Her mother had been a weak queen who let her advisers and nobility get away with too much. They aren’t liking her changes.

The general of her army has more mercenaries from the country of Arden that native born soldiers which means the army is loyal to him and not to Raisa and the Fells. She can’t have that since the king of Arden would jump at the chance to invade Fells and she needs her army loyal to her.

The majority of her queendom is comprised of three groups of people; the clans who live in the mountains, the valefolk who live in and around the city and wizards. Nobody likes each other. Hatred runs deep but Raisa wants to heal the divide. She needs everyone to work together if her nation is to survive the imminent war with Arden.

Han Alister has to protect the queen and he has a plan. First, he needs to become the High Wizard, an impossible feat considering he was a street lord before he was fostered by the clans. The current High Wizard would rather see him dead. Han is working many different angles and playing dangerous games with dangerous people and now someone is trying to frame him for the recent wizard murders in the slums.

I was sad to see this series end and now I’m desperately searching for a new series to read. Any suggestions?

The Gray Wolf Throne – Seven Realms #3 – Cinda Williams Chima

Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir of the Queendom of Fells, is headed home from her self-imposed exile. It’s a dangerous road due to the assassins after her and the civil war that has poured over from Arden into Tamron which neighbors Fells. Luckily the Captain of the Queen’s Guard along with 8 of his soldiers has found her to escort her home. Unfortunately, they are attacked and she is shot with a poisoned arrow and will die without help.
Han Alister finds her and puts her on his horse as he races towards the nearby clan camp. He tries to heal her with his magic while riding which almost kills him too.
When Raisa awakens, she learns that her mother, the queen has died by “falling” off her balcony. Before she died, she had changed the order of succession to make her Raisa’s thirteen-year-old sister the heir if the queen died and Raisa could not be located.
Raisa has to find a way to come out of hiding without being killed. Her sister is too easily manipulated to be queen.
Like the first two books of the series, I was enthralled all the way through this book. I did get a little annoyed with Raisa’s behavior at times though. In the first book and halfway through the second, she was in love with Amon Byrne, but then she falls in love with Han Alister while in hiding and pretending to be Rebecca Morley, a daughter of a nobleman and a student at Oden’s Ford. When Han finds out she lied to him, he stops their romance and Raisa is out kissing other people within days. She seems fickle. I don’t think she knows what love really is.
Even though I was annoyed at Raisa’s fickle behavior, I liked her and most of the other characters but Han is my favorite. Han is a former street thug, turned clan member turned wizard. I love his devotion to Raisa and how he always comes through for her.
This is an excellent series. I highly recommend it.

The Exiled Queen – Seven Realms #2 – Cinda Williams Chima

I can’t give this series enough praise! The characters and world that Cinda Williams Chima has created here is extraordinary. I can’t seem to put it down nor find enough hours in my day to read. Last night I read until my eyes went blurry but I couldn’t stop until I finished this book.

 

In the last book, Raisa’s mother tried to force her to marry Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard, which is totally against the law but the High Wizard seems to have some sort of magical influence over the queen. Luckily, Raisa escaped with the help of Amon Byrne, the son of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

Raisa traveled under an assumed name, Rebecca Morley, through horrible conditions with Amon and 8 of his cadets to Oden’s Ford to attend military school. Here’s where I became a little confused. Bear with me while I go on a side trip. Oden’s Ford contains many schools; one for wizards on the other side of the river from the military school, and another school for temple dedicates where students learn music, art and philosophy. What I didn’t quite understand was if Oden’s Ford is the name of the entire campus which includes all of the schools or if it was a town or if it was a small country of its own. I tried following the directions on how each of the characters traveled to Oden’s Ford but I got lost. I cheated and found a map from a spinoff series of the Seven Realms but I’m still confused.

Raisa is the princess heir of the country of Fells which is a mountainous region in the north of the continent. They traveled west through the mountains, past something called Westgate which seemed to guard the west border of the country of Fells yet they entered a swampland called The Fens where a people called Water Walkers live that the author described as part of the Queendom of Fells. They traveled southeast through the swamps to Tamron, the country connected to Fells. There was an abandoned guard house on the border. They then traveled south to Oden’s Ford. Even with the map, I couldn’t figure out if Oden’s Ford is part of Tamron or a country all on its own.

Raisa enrolled as a cadet in Wien House at Oden’s Ford. She may be out of Fells but danger is all around her. Students come from all over the Seven Realms to attend the schools at Oden’s Ford. She knows that Micah Bayar to whom she was almost forced to marry, his twin sister and his two cousins are enrolled in Mystwerk House just across the bridge so she will have to be careful not to run into them. Fortunately, most students who attend Wien House are from the war-torn country of Arden where wizards are viewed as demons so the wizards from Mystwerk rarely cross the bridge to the Wein House side of the river.

What Raisa doesn’t know is that two other unexpected people are at Oden’s Ford. Cat Tyborn and Han Alister aka Cuffs Alister, two street gang lords with whom she had dealings with in Fells. Cat is attending Temple School because Micahs father, Lord Bayar killed all her street gang while searching for Cuffs who took a powerful and illegal amulet from him. The Speaker (priest) from her neighborhood paid for her to attend Temple School because she is so talented at music and because he was helping her escape the same fate as her friends.

Hans was sent to Mystwerk after the clans revealed to him why he wore the silver cuffs on his wrists all his life. He is a powerful wizard descended from the Demon King, a line that no one but the clans knew existed. They had fitted him with magical cuffs when he was an infant to hide his abilities. After they revealed the truth and removed the cuffs, they sent him to Mystwerk to learn magic and help them fight the Wizard Council if it ever comes to a wat between the clans and wizards who hate each other.

Whew! That was a lot of explaining.

Han has to deal with Micah Bayar and dodge his attempts to get the amulet back which by rights belonged to the Demon King and has been outlawed in Fells.

There’s a lot at stake and a lot that can go wrong.

I’m off to read the next book.

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.

Flamecaster – Shattered Realms #1 – Cinda Williams Chima

I learned of this series on Facebook from one of two authors who care about what their readers are reading and care to promote other authors by asking what everyone is reading and loving this week. It’s one of the places I get ideas of what to read next. It was either posted by one of Larissa Ione’s or Nalini Singh’s followers.

I’m glad I picked this book. I have been dabbling in the Fantasy genre lately and have been really enjoying it. I think this book is Young Adult also…at least, I assume it is because of the ages of most of the leading characters…but I’m always amazed at what can be included in the Young Adult genre. It seems to allow all the blood and gore possible, references to rape and molestation and even have limited sex scenes. I think the only thing that can’t be included is erotic scenes.

This book is written in the points of view of four different characters but two are the main protagonists, Adrien and Jenna.

Adrian sul’Han, also known as Ash, is the son of the Grey Wolf line. His mother is the queen of Fells and he is a powerful healer. His older sister was the heir to the throne until she was ambushed at the border by their enemy, the King of Arden’s soldiers. Even though he is the next oldest, his youngest sister will be groomed for the throne now because only females can hold the throne.

When his father was assassinated in front of him, Ash ran off to healing school under a different name since he was thought to have been killed too. In the summers, he posed as a ferrier and traveled around assassinating key figures in Arden’s army.

After an attack on his life by crazy priests of the major religion of Arden who think mages and healers are evil, Ash decides to travel to Ardenscourt and somehow kill the king himself.

Jenna was working in the mines just outside the city of Delphi when King Gerard of Arden came to the mines on some kind of promotional tour. When one of the minors threw horse dung at the king, he reached down and snapped the neck of little Maggi, an eight-year-old orphan girl who was forced to work the mines by the king’s soldiers. Then he killed her best friend Riley.

Since that day, Jenna has been working with a secret group called the patriots to sabotage the Arden army.

Jenna is unique. She has a magemark on the back of her neck yet she isn’t a mage and mages don’t have magemarks. She has never met anyone else with the mark.

Ash and Jenna’s lives become intertwined later in the book but it would spoil some things so I won’t go into it.

This book was a winner. I loved it and have already started the second book. I looked up the author and discovered she has two other series related to this series so this might be a spinoff but I’m not sure if the books share characters or not. I might read them later.