The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)

The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Crimson Crown completes Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series in a wonderful, outstanding fashion that makes the reader not only appreciate the book by itself, but the series overall.  Queen Raisa and Han Alister, friends and both distant descendants of the infamous Demon King and legendary warrior queen Hanalea, try to bring together the peoples of the Fells in their own ways.  Raisa uses politics and her authority as Queen while Han uses his street smarts in an attempt to outmaneuver schemes of several Wizards, however both find themselves stymied or unintentionally ruining the other’s plans.  Then the mysterious deaths of Wizards on Han’s home turf and everything points to him, things start getting really difficult.

As Han attempts to keep his promise to the Clans, gain his revenge on the Bayars, and attempt to win Raisa’s hand in marriage he continues to consult his magical mentor Crow, his ancestor Alger Waterlow and infamous Demon King, to learn his secrets and later the true events of a 1,000 years before.  Even with all his plans falling apart, Han discovers the lost Armory of the Gifted Kings, only to fall into the hands of the Bayars just afterwards at the same time Fells is betrayed and invaded by Arden.  Literally things go from bad to worse for both Raisa and Han, it looks like there will be no happy ending.

However, it was then that Chima showed her talent as a writer as she crafted a believable series of events that resolved the various storylines set up not only in the first half of the book but in the previous three books to a satisfying conclusion not only to the book but the series as well.  Not everyone the reader has met survives, not many “villains” get redeemed or die, betrayal by friends or family occur that result in either deaths or lose of trust, and the external enemies are still a threat.  It is because the Seven Realms series doesn’t end like a fairy tale that makes this book so outstanding, its about how two individuals from different backgrounds were able to confront a 1,000 years of history to be together and start changing their homeland in a lifetime of work.

If you like good fantasy, or good storytelling, or good characters, or all three(!); I recommend this series to readers of all ages.

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The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third installment of Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series send the reader first on a action-packed harrowing return to the Fells for both the story’s protagonists only to send them into the dangerous atmosphere of the court surrounding The Gray Wolf Throne even while not entirely trusting one another.  Picking up weeks after the end of the previous book, Raisa and Han journey separately back to their home only for their paths to intertwine with them barely alive upon entering Marisa Pines Camp.  Once there Raisa reveals her true identity to Han and the fallout continues to reverberate throughout the rest of the book even as they navigate the politics of the Clans, Nobles, Wizards, and court as Raisa asserts her claim to her birthright.

Throughout the book the magical system hinted at in the previous two books is on full display, with Han and Fire Dancer each showing considerable knowledge and strength in their personal preferences but weaknesses in disliked learning about in Oden’s Ford.  Also throughout the book was the various politics at play that Raisa and frankly Han have to deal with after the former’s armor-clad sudden reappearance.  All the while both Raisa and Han must fine were they stand with one another.

The Gray Wolf Throne not only stands solidly on what the previous two novels built, but creates enough dangling plotlines to set up the finale of the series especially the last few pages in which you start questioning everything you had been expecting.  Just like it’s predecessors this book is great standing alone as well as part of an overall series.

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The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2)

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In The Exiled Queen, Cinda Williams Chima takes her two main protagonists and the readers away from all they had known before and sent to the neutral city of Oden’s Ford.  However, the journeys there and their experiences are not without hazard or excitement which keeps the reader very much engaged.  Chima continues the growth of her main characters as well as several secondary ones which helps develop the story, nor do Raisa (aka Rebecca) and Han really meet once again until over halfway through the book giving their story arcs independence from one another even as they interact.  Through both character’s stories, the world and history of the Seven Realms is further explored without taking away from the narrative flow of the book and putting in building blocks for later in the series.  Although a few things aren’t exactly explained to satisfaction given their importance or revelation in this book, I can’t really complain.  The events of the last 100 pages not only were a pay off of what developed since page 1, but also left me wanting to see what happens in The Gray Wolf Throne.

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The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cinda Williams Chima’s The Demon King is a fantastic first installment of the Seven Realms series.  The first appearances of the two primary protagonists of the book introduces the reader to the various levels of society that inhabit the Queendom of Fells and how they interact with one another in a vivid way that makes the reader want to know more not only about the characters but the world.  Both main protagonists, Hans Alister and Princess Raisa, are well rounded and believable individuals which helps throughout the story, the secondary characters art still somewhat flat with the exception of Amon Bryne who is a little more fleshed out thanks to being only other point-of-view of the book.  A minor complaint is that many of the plot twists are very much telegraphed, however considering my reading experience and being outside the target age group, this particular complaint shouldn’t dissuade others from reading this book.  The best compliment I can give this book is that several times I lost track of time while reading because it was so engaging and at the end it made me want to see what happens in The Exiled Queen.

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