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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: The Demon King

Book: The Demon King
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Pages: 512
Published: October 13th, 2009

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.

General Overview: I had high expectations for this book. I'd heard great things about it, and The Demon King has a high overall rating on Goodreads. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to those expectations.

Characters: I didn't connect to any of the characters. I admired Han's courage and consideration for others, particularly his younger sister Mari, and I liked the idea of a sympathetic tough guy. He was my favorite character by far, and yet I didn't feel any sympathy for him, nor did I want to be there in the story with him. Raisa, while a commendable character, seemed childish to me at times, despite her supposed maturity and responsibility. I wanted more from her, from all of them, and that isn't what I got.

Plot: I loved the premise of this book, but the book itself I didn't love so much. The plot moved far too slowly for me, and I thought that the book could easily have been cut down a hundred pages or so. Some of the things that happened seemed pointless and didn't add to the story at all. That being said, I thought this book was very original and I thought Chima developed the world in The Demon King very well.

Writing: Cinda Williams Chima is an amazing writer. I loved her style and the words she used, which gave the book a very fantastical element. I really enjoyed her writing -- just not the story it told.

Cover: This cover fits in very easily with the covers of the Heir Chronicles, and the picture on it helped me visualize the amulet in my mind. The cover is really what appealed to me at first.

Overall: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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