The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, fantasy, Hyperion Books, 2009 hardcover, 519 pages
16-year-old Han Alister encounters three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Alister is unaware that this will lead to a series of events that threaten to consume the world in chaos. To prevent the wizard Micah from using a magical amulet against him, he makes Micah give him the amulet. Later Alister learns that the amulet has an evil history, and it once belonged to the Demon King. The Demon King is an evil sorcerer who almost destroyed the world a millennia ago. Now, the wizards will stop at nothing to get their amulet back.
Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. After spending three years of freedom with her father’s family at Demonai Camp, riding, hunting, and working at the famous Clan markets, she learns that her life is going to completely change. Court life in Fellsmarch pinches like a pair of tight shoes, and Raisa feels like a cage is closing in around her. However, an arranged marriage and an eroded inheritance are the least of her struggles. The power of the Wizard Council is growing, and her people are starving and rebellious.
Even though both Alister and Raisa come from different backgrounds, they wind up in a race to keep balance in the Queendom and to save Fellsmarch.
The action takes place in this first novel mainly in the mountainous Queendom of the Fells. The Seven Realms, which are seven loosely related areas that were once ruled by the Gray Wolf Queens and their wizard consorts, or kings: Queendom of the Fells, the Kingdom of Tamron, the Kingdom of Arden, the southern Kingdoms of Bruinswallow and We’enhaven, the Southern Islands, and the Northern Islands.
As readers of this blog have noticed, I seem to have a real appetite for fantasy this year. I really enjoyed this one, and as I have all four books on hand, went straight on to the next one. Pretty darn good for those who enjoy fantasy.
The Seven Realms novels:
The Demon King (2009)
The Exiled Queen (2010)
The Gray Wolf Throne (2011)
The Crimson Crown (2012)
A sequel series has been announced, titled The Shattered Realms. The first novel, titled Flamecaster, was released in April 2016.