Book Recommendation: The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

So, yes, I’ve been gone for a while, but it’s for a good reason.  I’ve been reading, and reading, and reading…oh and writing.  I’m going to try to catch upon all the books I’ve read, but I wanted to start with a series that I really loved.  It’s called The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima.  There are three books so far:  The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, and the Gray Wolf Throne.  A fourth book comes out in Fall 2012.

Here’s a blurb for The Demon King:  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.

The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima.

Now, I will admit that the first book took me almost half of the way through to decide I really loved it and wanted to keep reading.  And yes, I am one who will persevere even though it may be a bit slow.  I’m not sure why I didn’t connect immediately.  I just didn’t.  That being said as a warning for anyone who feels like putting the book down early on…DON’T.  It’s well worth it to keep going.

The two main characters are interesting and unique, neither being a carbon copy of something that’s been done before.  Han, especially, is a fascinating character — even more so as the books progress.  Chima also paints a detailed world that is clear but not overly descriptive to the point where I started to skim.  (Another of my bad habits when I’m not invested.)

And most of all, I LOVED the story.  I love good characters, but I’m not a character drive book lover most of the time.  I want a plot driven book that has great characters.  And I got all of that here.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy.  If you aren’t a huge fantasy reader but love a good story and are willing to read until you’re hooked, it would be a good fit for you, too.

Oh, I almost forgot…I love these covers.  That alone makes me want to put them up on my bookshelf.

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