The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima | Book Review

By | 5:58 PM 1 comment
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Book 1 of the Seven Realms series
YA/High Fantasy
One day Han Alister catches three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

5 out of 5 Stars 
I've also done a video review, if you'd like to watch & listen instead of read.

 This was a book that came highly recommended by numerous people who insisted that I would adore this series. They were right, at least, in as much as I can judge from only reading (and loving) the first installment of the quartet. Before even finishing the book, I was worried about what I would say in my review... because I couldn't think of anything to really complain about. Everything had a natural greatness, which is something that will end up being repeated in various ways throughout my review. Ultimately, I had no complaints - unless you count my need to continue on with the series... now.

The cast of characters in The Demon King was perfectly done for a fantasy novel. In some fantasy series we have an overwhelming amount of characters. This can cause confusion for a lot of readers, and is one of the reasons some book-lovers avoid the genre altogether. In YA fantasy, however, I have often experienced the opposite of this - the amount of characters is underwhelming. We end up focusing on the main character, maybe two dudes from a love triangle, and perhaps an evil king or something of that ilk. Neither of these problems relate at all to The Demon King. There was never a character whose name and purpose I'd forgotten, or who seemed extraneous in the overall plot. Several people were pivotal to the plot, even if in small ways, and they were allowed to be more than just flat, background characters. 

The world-building also felt presented in a similar way. There wasn't any information dumped on the reader that you weren't made to anticipate - clawing your way through the pages to figure out this missing piece of information on the world and how the characters & the plot fit in with it. Because of the multiple POVs, we also get to see locations and cultures through slightly different lenses. While the world wasn't anything ridiculously original, it was easy to sink into and intriguing to learn about. The intertwining of world history and the plot unfolding in The Demon King was endlessly interesting.

In terms of plot, this wasn't an entirely predictable novel. I didn't really know where the story would climax or have much of a solid guess of what was going to happen in the end, which is a plus for me. I struggle with the predictability of a lot of other books, and this one didn't give all of its secrets away too early. This is, of course, aided by the fact that this is the first book in a series, and some plot points will inevitably bleed into the sequels, but nonetheless it was a nice experience. Things felt wrapped up at the end, but there was also a sense of a new beginning - one in which readers will have to wait until the next installment to fully explore its path. 

As I said, I really enjoyed this novel. There are only so many ways to profess my love before I descend into bumbling-fangirl status.

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