The Seven Realms
By Cinda Williams Chima
I have been wanting to review this series for a long time. It has turned into one, if my top, favorite series of all time. Cinda Williams Chima molded a genre that can typically be overrun with what feels to be a standard set of cliches. She took over the YA Fantasy and made it her own. Chima does not follow the "standard set of cliches"that has started to muddle down the YA-Fantasy genre. Instead she gives each character, twist, drama, and plot-loop a breath of refreshing air only to then take it right back out of the reader from each of the intense, emotional, and nail-biting punches within the story. So far in my reading experience, there is no other book or series that has so many well blended and well balanced elements together and done so well.
The series The Seven Realms takes place in the Seven Realms, a fantasy world split into seven different kingdoms. It is a land filled with magic, history, and a terrible war. But the main focus narrows in on the Queendom of the Fells and the political plots, the hidden past, and the destructive romance between two characters and the people connected to them.
General: As previously mentioned, this series is phenomenal. It is something that takes you by your shirt and shakes you. You are thrown into a dramatic world where each chapter leaves you as breathless as a cardio workout does. There are so many secrets, twists, and moment of overwhelming emotions it feels like it would be difficult to keep up. But the switching POV of the focus characters, the detailed writing, and the focus on movement and feeling makes everything work. The reader doesn't get suffocated or confused to the point they are drawn out of the story. Chima plays each move as delicately as moving a chess-piece. You feel that everything has been strategically placed and the author did not feel lost in her work. The movement and decisions are clear, focused, and always well-placed. It is a surprise how detailed the book is and how it never, once, falters from the main point. Any detour from the plot always comes back in the most tantalizing or unexpected way.
Plot: It is amazing how something that by summary sounds cliche and simple and overdone can be done in a brand new amazing way. It is a fantasy romance story concerning magic, racism, and war. It is a blend of realistic characters and action. The story follows a former street lord named Han and a warrior princess named Raisa. Due to mistakes, misunderstandings, and unforeseeable twists the two are thrown together and need to resolve a hatred that has been poisoning the land for over a thousand years. With everything collapsing around them, the two form an unbreakable bond that just may be everyone's saving grace.
Demon King: "When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about.
Han takes an amulet from one of the wizards, Micah Bayar, to prevent him from using it against them. Only later does he learn that it has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. And the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back
Han’s life is complicated enough. He’s the former streetlord of the Raggers—a street gang in the city of Fellsmarch. His street name, Cuffs, comes from the mysterious silver bracelets he’s worn all his life—cuffs that are impossible to take off.
Now Han’s working odd jobs, helping to support his family, and doing his best to leave his old life behind. Events conspire against him, however. When members of a rival gang start dying, Han naturally gets the blame.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battles to fight. As heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, she’s just spent three years of relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai Camp—riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Now court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of too-small shoes.
Wars are raging to the south, and threaten to spread into the high country. After a long period of quiet, the power of the Wizard Council is once again growing. The people of the Fells are starving and close to rebellion. Now more than ever, there’s a need for a strong queen.
But Raisa’s mother Queen Marianna is weak and distracted by the handsome Gavan Bayar, High Wizard of the Fells. Raisa feels like a cage is closing around her—and an arranged marriage and eroded inheritance is the least of it.
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. With the help of her friend, the cadet Amon Byrne, she navigates the treacherous Gray Wolf Court, hoping she can unravel the conspiracy coalescing around her before it’s too late."
Overall: I would rate the series 5 out of 5. The characters, plot, writing style, and emotion from beginning to end was pretty much near perfect that it would feel like a disservice to give her anything less.
I look forward to reading her first series The Heir Series which is going to be the next review I will do.