Fri, January 4, 2013

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima Review

The Demon King book cover

The Demon King book cover

The Demon King
By Cinda Williams Chima
Publication date: Oct. 6, 2009
Hyperion Books, 506 pages
Source: Library

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell – the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked – as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han 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 returning to court after three years of freedom in the mountains – riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. 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 her mother has other plans for her – including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

— Goodreads.com description

My friend Heidi loooooves Cinda Williams Chima, and I trust Heidi explicitly on all things fantasy, so I had to give The Demon King a go.

And I see what she is so pumped about! Chima is a master of fantasy writing — beautiful world building, fleshed-out characters and an intricate plot. She clearly knows what she’s doing in this genre.

That being said, I know for a fact that Heidi has more patience for a slow-building fantasy series (and slow-building romances) than I do. So I was TOTALLY frustrated because this book took longer to ramp up than usual. I read a review of it on Goodreads that called it something like a “500-page prologue,” and I sort of have to agree (sorry!).

So I think I need to read on to get more of what the hoopla’s all about (and to figure out which boy I’m supposed to root for — I hate it when I can’t tell hahaha). Probably not the best book for an intro to high fantasy. But for someone who eats these dictionary-sized books up, I see the appeal. I’ll definitely read more of Chima’s books in the future. I just might need a little more friendly encouragement to move it up the list!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: cinda williams chima, fantasy
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10 Comments

  1. Janita (Book, Interrupted) said:

    I am a ginormous fan of this series. It only gets crazy better as the series goes on, but they are loooong books, and there are four of them 😛 If you’re looking for a quicker read by Cinda Williams Chima, check out The Warrior Heir. It’s like half the length and just as good!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  2. Lori said:

    I’ve had this on my shelf for like 3 years now. O.o I’ve heard that it’s a bit slow, but I’m such a huge high fantasy fan I know I’ll love it! I’m happy you liked it. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  3. Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook said:

    I like to know which boy to root for as well 🙂

    I have been wanting to give this series a try. I’ve heard great things, but it takes a lot for me to really get into high fantasy. I really should give it a try.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  4. Heidi @ YA Bibliophile said:

    I’ve been thinking about this and why I loved it so much. I listened to the first book on audio and I think that really helped keep my interest. It’s for sure a slow build romance but once it gets rolling it. is. so. perfect. Plus, there’s more kissing 🙂

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  5. We Heart YA said:

    500 page prologue?! Ack! Not sure we’d have the patience for that, despite all the good hype…

    But if you’re looking for a great place to start with high fantasy, try Melina Marchetta’s FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, or Rae Carson’s GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (really it’s the sequel that’s just blow-you-away fantastic, but book 1 is good too).

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  6. Hana said:

    I just read this book, too. I agree with you that it was a little slow to build! But the series is rated so highly that I am excited to start book 2 anyway. It makes sense that if book 1 is the ‘prologue’ that book 2 would be full of the action and romance that I’m hoping to find in this series!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  7. Jennie said:

    A friend of mine loved this series so much she bought me the first one…I still haven’t read it. After reading this glowing review, I really need to push it up on the list!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  8. Jackie said:

    I’m not a fan of slow world building. I like my action to start almost immediately. So, I was really surprised when I finished the Demon King and loved every moment of it. It must have been the characters that kept it going for me. I love Han Alister and Raisa.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  9. Sarah said:

    I’ve been stalking your blog for a long time now and I never comment but I wanted to let you know that my reading taste is almost identical to yours and that I think you should definitely give this series a chance. I’ve just read/inhaled the last book (which my husband had to order from the US – I’m British – for me) and I can definitely say it’s worth the effort to keep reading!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

  10. Sage said:

    I’ve read a bit of it and it’s really good. It was a bit slow, I’ve had to start it twice, but i’m really getting into it!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Fri, January 4, 2013

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