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Times Are Hard In The Mountain City Of Fellsmarch Reformed Thief Han Alister Will Do Almost Anything To Eke Out A Living For His Family The Only Thing Of Value He Has Is Something He Can T Sell The Thick Silver Cuffs He S Worn Since Birth They Re Clearly Magicked As He Grows, They Grow, And He S Never Been Able To Get Them OffOne Day, Han And His Clan Friend, Dancer, Confront Three Young Wizards Setting Fire To The Sacred Mountain Of Hanalea Han Takes An Amulet From Micah Bayar, Son Of The High Wizard, To Keep Him From Using It Against Them Soon Han 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 BackMeanwhile, Raisa Ana Marianna, Princess Heir Of The Fells, Has Her Own Battles To Fight She S Just Returned To Court After Three Years Of Freedom In The Mountains Riding, Hunting, And Working The Famous Clan Markets Raisa Wants To Be 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 Her Mother Has Other Plans For HerThe Seven Realms Tremble When The Lives Of Hans And Raisa Collide, Fanning The Flames Of The Smoldering War Between Clans And Wizards Here went my night Yes, you read correctly Despite my reading slump that drove me to DNF books that I m comfortable with yesterday, despite today being my last day of vacations and as usual busy as hell, despite the objective flaws of The Demon King, I couldn t stop reading for the life of me, and closed my reader at 6am pretty exhausted.Worst is, I m fighting the urge to start The Exiled Queen right now, and I can count on the finger of one hand the number of times it happened with a YA Fantasy series I hated Red Queen I thought I would die of boredom in A Court of Thorns and Roses I didn t care one way or another about The Young Elites, and I quickly lost my interest in Shadow and Bone Don t even mention the borefest that was The Kiss of Deception I loved the Lumatere Chronicles, but we re talking about Melina Marchetta, and The Demon King sure can t compare with it one second And yet, despite my issues, I enjoyed my read like nobody s business First of all, I ended liking the main characters even though they re far from perfect or perhaps because of it See, when it comes to series that go on for 4 books, I genuinely think that flaws are needed in order to picture a believable growth, especially when we meet the characters at 16 Raisa, the somewhat selfish princess, shows the best of intentions but sometimes fails to think things through before acting, resulting in several illed thought out decisions that border on TSLT behavior She s immature, annoying, and I understand why some readers had a hard time standing her Yet despite being royalty, her issues feeling trapped and needing to take control on her life seemed pretty valid to me, and I LOVED the fact that she could kiss several guys without falling in love in a happily ever after fashion right away please, am I the only one who cringes at teenager s weddings You go girl I just cannot wait to see her grow into a character I can admire, and I have a feeling that I will.Han s past as a street lord made me roll my eyes a little, because COME ON NOW, the guy s sixteen for crying out loud That s how life rolls in the mountain city of Fellsmarch, though, so I chose to suspend my disbelief and accept it because sometimes, you just have to I genuinely liked his free and impulsive personality and if he comes as a little whiny sometimes, you have to recognize that the guy needs a break Oh, well I m not sure why, but I LOVED the guy SorryNotSorryBoth of them make mistakes, and you re likely to fight the urge to strangle them at some point, but I cared nonetheless, for better or for worst Moreover, after all this build up, the anticipation to see them interact together is killing me There, I said it As for the plot, many readers complained that nothing really happened in this book and that s true that it reads like a big introduction to the world of the Seven Realms than anything else Yet again, I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn t stop reading, so there s that Not to mention that I guessed all the twists, because if you read Fantasy before, you just cannot help Did it bother me In all honestly, no That s what I call the good kind of predictable, because every time a guess was confirmed, I was glad it was The Demon King is full of Fantasy tropes, but it stays clear of girl hate and instalove, and then I was able to enjoy the hell out of it Don t judge me However, my biggest complaint would be the way grief is handled I don t know about you, but when characters face awful events, I expect to feel something, and sadly I didn t It was Mockingjay all over again, letting me stunned and rather indifferent when I ought to despair All in all, The Demon King was a good introduction to the Seven Realms, and if I can t recommend it blindly, if you re not put off by Fantasy tropes and characters who take stupid decisions sometimes, I d say that you should go for it, because it s damn entertaining and addictive For of my reviews, please visit Hanalea s blood and bones, I just found a new obsession Wow It s been a while since the last time I read YA fantasy, and I d almost forgotten why I love this genre so much The Demon King certainly had its flaws, but it was so riveting and bewitching that I lost the X Factor final last night in order to finish it and I suspect I m going to spend the following days lost in this series, with coffee and ice cream as my sole companions Burn you social life And by fun, I mean booksHan always seemed to find trouble, no matter how hard he tried to avoid itHan Alister is a former streetlord who tries to follow the right path and feed his family But his life changes dramatically when he gets in his hands an ancient serpent pendant that seems to wield powerful and forbidden magic associated with a war that happened a thousand years ago and almost destroyed the world Hunted by the Queen s Guard for crimes he didn t commit and always on the run, he can t possibly imagine that perhaps the fate of the royal line and the queendom is in his handsThe succession, the bloody succession Well, if you ask me, the lineage of queens is like a chain around my neckRaisa ana Marianna is the princess heir of the Fells, and her royal duties almost choke her She can feel that something bad will happen, that the wizards influence on the queen is suspicious and she can t trust anyone but herself and her loyal friend and guard, Amon Byrne She wants to do that dance in fancy balls and nod her head while others make decisions for her queendom, she wants to prove that she is a worthy heir to the Gray Wolf bloodline But war is coming and she doesn t know who s the enemy, so she follows her gut and tries her best for her people, before it is too late Before the wizards gain the upper hand onceHistory Why do we need to know what happened before we were born So hopefully we get smarter and don t make the same mistakes againI am officially mezmerized It is true that it took me some chapters to adjust to the worldbuilding and get a grip on the story and the characters, but after a while I was absorbed in this intricate and fascinating world of adventures, intrigue and magic I won t pretend I didn t notice the similarities between The Demon King and Falling Kingdoms, especially regarding the characters of Raisa and Cleo and their love interests, but Cinda Williams Chima s writing style is original and her storytelling skills mark her as a great YA fantasy author I loved the way she entwined Han and Raisa s stories, adding interesting and important secondary characters and the events that happened hundreds of years ago, with the war between the wizards and the Demon King and the part queen Hanalea and the clans played The magic is divided between clans and wizards, and they distrust each other, but they made a pact and bound themselves to the Vale queens and the good of the queendom Until recently.As you can tell, there was suspense and mystery and secrets waiting to come to light, there were so many things the protagonists didn t know and frankly, some of them were pretty obvious and I kept wondering how could they not see them The The Demon King s ambience was hypnotizing and vigorous at the same time, and you felt like it cast a spell on you and you couldn t put it down until you were allowed to The main characters were also alluring, they came from completely different backrounds and had different life goals, but both Raisa and Han were stubborn and resourceful and anything but meek While I loved Raisa, I have one complaint why did she keep wanting to kiss every boy in her radiusIt was ok at first, but then it became ridiculous But don t judge her because of that, except her love life she was pretty mature and likeable The weird thing is, I don t have a ship yet There were flings but nothing meaningful and I was all in for the intriguing story and not the romance That doesn t happen often Please guys, do yourself a favor and read this book Well done, Cinda Williams Chima, well done The Demon KingBy Cinda Williams ChimaA Review by Eric AllenBefore I begin, I must say that I was not able to finish this book I only got four chapters in before I couldn t take it any This book fails on every level possible and imaginable Let me count the ways No Hook No plot No tension No conflict No compelling characters or events No protagonist No antagonist No emotion No color No life No story No desire to read ANY further No refunds DAMMIT My dislike for the book could be chalked up to the fact that I am a thirty something adult and this is targeted at boys less than half my age, but I don t think that s it Normally, when I review books I ll give a short synopsis, and applicable history of the writer or the book itself, and basically tell what I liked, what I didn t like, and what I downright hated about it I can t do that with this review as I only read four chapters of the book before setting it down, therefore I will be giving you my case as to why no one should ever read it by, instead, using examples from other books, and to be completely fair these books will be of the same genre YA fantasy disclaimer I have received several rather heated messages over this review This review was published in the April issue of the magazine I write for In short, IT IS A JOKE Joke or not, I believe that many of the points that I make DO have validity So please, set aside your indignity if you have any, and simply enjoy what I have to say about this book I realize that you may think I am worse than Hitler for bad mouthing a supposed great and popular author, but it s just a book review Get over it I am not arrogant enough to believe that everyone cares what I have to say In fact, I m rather surprised that anyone does So, just as I quit reading this lame book, you can quit reading my lame review on it if you wish And please, if you are offended by what I say, and absolutely have to let me know about it, firstly I invite you to get over yourself and learn to take a joke, because that s what this review is when you get right down to it If that does not work, at least be civil in attacking me and realize that if you act like a complete ass toward me I will reply in kind This is a review of the first four chapters only, not of the book in its entirety and should not be taken as such If you enjoyed the book, that s fine It is not my intention to insult you, only to educate you and anyone else on why I could never in a billion years consider this a good book If someone criticizing something you enjoy offends you, the solution is very simple JUST STOP READING disclaimer Firstly, genders News flash people, boys and girls are different, not just physically, but in the way that they act, think, feel, and see the world It is often a mistake of amateur writers that all of the characters of the gender opposite to their own are either horrible stereotypes, or too much like their own gender.For example, the female characters of male writers will act no different from men, or be weak, weepy, and incapable of doing anything important on their own The male characters of female writers might be unwashed, emotionless brutes that think of absolutely nothing but fighting and sex, or they will be too clingy and emotional A character that does not realistically behave like a person of his or her gender does not feel right to the reader This is a mistake that I would expect from an amateur, but not from someone with six books in publication It is my opinion that no man can truly understand women in general, and no woman can truly understand men in general though they sure seem to think they do This book is proof that at least some women have no earthly clue how men are supposed to act toward one another A skilled writer will know that characters of the opposite gender are sometimes incomprehensible to them, and be able to at least fake their way through making their performance believable, or cloak them in enough mystery that he or she doesn t have to Yo Chima, don t you have ANY male friends you can run this crap by before publishing it to give you some feedback on the behavior of your male characters The male characters in this book are doubly bad, they act like girls half the time and then they stupidly throw themselves at violence to no point or purpose Yes ladies, that s right, men don t just beat on each other for no apparent reason If we re going to pound someone, we don t just do it because we re bored There s always a reason behind it That reason may make no sense at all to the female perspective, but just because you don t understand it doesn t mean it doesn t exist There is to men than violence and sex, but don t try to overcompensate for your lack of understanding by making them overly emotional on top of it It turns out as a horribly, conflicting mess And BY THE WAY what in the hell is up with all of the blatant homo erotic tension between Han and Dancer News flash, Cinda, NO Just NO You re doing it wrong Take my word for it Shame on you If you have no earthly clue how men are supposed to act, DON T MAKE YOUR PROTAGONIST and I use that term VERY loosely here, hence the quotation marks A MAN YOU DUMBASS Or at least explain why your characters are too much like the opposite gender And also realize that even effeminate men are still men, and tomboys are still women They still think, act and see the world as their own gender would We are all still what we are, despite any outward facade.Oh, but Eric, you say, give her a break, male writers have been messing up their female characters for centuries and I don t see you bitching about that I do bitch about it actually, as is quite apparent in my review of The Omen Machine Stereotyped characters, when done well, can work for a story, but when they re bland, boring, and generally unlikable it just makes the whole thing fall apart Stereotypes are often used in YA books to get children to identify with the characters easily In my opinion children are smarter than adults give them credit for and can follow complex character development without the use of stereotyping, but then again, I was reading and loving the Wheel of Time at eleven An example of stereotypes done well is the Harry Potter series You ve got the outcast, the bumbling sidekick, and the know it all bookworm These are stereotypes that most kids can relate to They are, or know someone that is much like one of these characters And the way that J.K Rowling does it gives them all life and depth, giving them realistic personalities and character, giving you reasons for why they are the stereotypes that they are, and why you should care about them You get to see them learn and grow out of their stereotypes into stronger, rounded characters as the series progresses In The Demon King, however, the characters are basically just cardboard cutouts with whatever their stereotype is written where their faces should be Every one of them is uninteresting Even the supposed protagonist fades almost completely into the background because he has no personality at all except for his stereotype It makes for a rather dull and boring reading experience.The plot and pacing of this book are atrocious When you have a book this short, SOMETHING better damn well happen by the time you reach chapter four But nothing did Here s a rundown of everything that happens in the first four chapters Bland character one and bland character two whine about foraging, they decide to go hunting, they meet bland characters three, four and five They have a bland, tensionless spat over Macguffin number one meanwhile bland character six waits for bland character three and company to return Then bland character seven shows up for no particular reason and does basically nothing but add boring, soulless dialogue to an already colorless world When writing a book you have to start with something big, or something exciting, or something mysterious You have to give the reader something of interest to make them want to continue This is called The Hook You have to give the reader a sense of excitement, or a question that they truly want to see answered or they re not going to care There was no hook in this book There was nothing exciting about this beginning, nor was there anything mysterious No questions to which a reader can desire to find answers to were given at all As nothing happened at the beginning, a reader can only assume that this book is about nothing.Here s some examples of how a fantasy story for young adults SHOULD begin Every one of them is of the YA Fantasy genre, and each of these books is generally the same length as The Demon King.In Harry Potter and the Philosopher s Stone, by chapter four Harry has had his parents murdered, been raised by people who hate and oppress him, and has discovered that he is a wizard and been accepted to Hogwarts to learn magic His character and plight have been well introduced by this time, and his hopes and dreams are very clear in the reader s mind Though his plight is played for comedic purposes, we still FEEL that it IS plight We ve gotten a look at the wizarding world and the tenacity of the owls that deliver their mail By this time, we know what the book is about, and we know what makes the main character tick.In Jonathan Stroud s Barimaeus Trilogy, book 1 The Amulet of Samarkand, by chapter four Nathaniel has summoned the demon Bartimaeus and bound him to his will, and Bartimaeus has stolen the Amulet of Samarkand for him By this time we ve been witness to quite a bit of Bartimaeus sarcasm and wit, and quite a bit of humor to make him rather lovable and we feel his plight as a slave to his human master Demons and Magic, and a lot of how the world works have been explained to us by this time through the comical rantings of Bartimaeus.In Garth Nix s Abhorsen Trilogy, book 1 Sabriel, by chapter four Abhorsen has brought a dead infant back to life, Sabriel does the same for a dead bunny Sabriel is contacted by a being from Death that gives her her father s sword and necromancer s bells, giving her a message that he is trapped by one of the Greater Dead Sabriel leaves her school to head from the world of technology to the world of magic where she is from to rescue him We are are shown how Death and Necromacy work We are shown the wall that keeps the two worlds apart from one another, and we discover that many things are going horribly wrong on the other side of the wall We ve gotten to know Sabriel by this time We know her reluctance and fear, but also her determination to save her father and prove herself his worthy heir.In John Flanagan s Ranger s Apprentice series, book 1 the Ruins of Gorlan we ve already seen the Dark Lord plotting vengeance and raising an army of nightmare creatures We ve been introduced to the characters and their likes and animosities toward one another We ve been given the mysterious Ranger Halt and his slip of paper given to the Lord while he decides Will s future profession We can feel Will s burning shame at being turned down for battle school, the only thing he s ever wanted in life, because of his size, and his curiosity over what the mysterious Halt might have to say about him, and what is written on the paper We ve already seen that he is not afraid to defend himself against people twice his size, and that he is naturally good at climbing and sneaking We want to know why Halt seems to have an interest in him, and what his fate might be after being denied every profession he hoped for.In Brian Jacques Redwall by chapter 4 which, by the way is only ten pages into the book You ve been introduced to the villain, the protagonist, the love interest and the mentor You ve gotten to know that the orphaned Matthias does not fit in amongst the others at the abbey He yearns for adventure and something than the quiet life of devotion to others that he has been raised to There is a build up with a festival planned and the villain setting his sights on Redwall Abbey You just KNOW that these two events are going to coincide and go horribly wrong, and you can feel anticipation building with each page that you turn And might I remind you that all of this was set up in only TEN PAGES TEN PAGES and Redwall is already a compelling, and better set up story than The Demon King, and it is a book about MICE By the time that you get four chapters into a young adult book you should know the setting, the characters, and have a pretty good idea about what is in store for them You should be thoroughly invested in the plot, and actually WANT to continue in it SOMETHING interesting SHOULD have happened, because young people typically tend to lose interest quite quickly if you don t grab them early with something they care about You should hopefully be connecting with the people you re reading about, perhaps thinking that they seem a bit like you You should be excited to discover what happens next The plot should actually be going somewhere by this time instead of puttering around, running in circles chasing its own tail to no point or purpose.Now, let s play a little game I like to call Who is the Protagonist In a work of fiction the Protagonist is the central figure around whom the events of the story revolve, and with whom the reader is supposed to identify The protagonist will learn and grow, and through a great deal of turmoil and such will rise above his or her weaknesses in the end to defeat the antagonist i.e bad guy First of all, to have a protagonist you really kind of need an antagonist, and, you know, some sort of conflict between them Well, we might as well stop playing Who is the Protagonist right now, because neither of those things seem to exist within The Demon King BUUUT let s just pretend that they do for a second.First of all we ve got Han I think shrug He fades into the background, is bland, boring, COMPLETELY unlikable in ANY way shape or form, and generally fails completely at everything we ve seen him do by chapter four He has no reason to do anything, he has no conflict, he has no nemesis, and I don t know about you, but I sure as hell can t identify with someone this bland and pointless Next we have Dancer He s hot headed I guess and well Yeah, that s about it His name might as well have been Hotheaded Stereotype, why bother even naming him No conflict here either, though you KNOW he s really spoiling to jump Han s bones, because, as we all know, that s TOTALLY what men do when there are no women around, right Cinda I guess he s not it either Bird Nope, can t be her, she just randomly appears to sow false tension and spout boring, soulless dialog that really has nothing to do with anything Princess I forget how to spell her name correctly Raisa was it Well, no, she seems a love interest not essential to plot, and who can identify with a spoiled princess who doesn t want to be a princess anyway That goes completely against what the stereotypical tween girl wants, right By the way Cinda, that was an example of how to correctly employ irony in your writing, you might want to take note of it Annoying douche 1 perhaps I forget his name, because, well, he s a pretty forgettable character You know, I think we may have a winner here if not for the fact that he s obviously being set up as an antagonist But, by the time this book hits chapter four he is the one and only character in the entire book that has shown even a shred of humanity and ambition, and he s the only character I can even come close to identifying with And he s not a very interesting character either, he s just the ONLY character The others are so thin and lifeless that they can t even be considered characters at all He s a young nobleman chafing under his father s strictures and wanting very desperately to prove that he s worthy of being his father s son by stealing magical artifacts to prove he knows how to use them I can identify with that Can you I know what it s like to feel as though I ll never live up to my parents examples.Now, there is something HORRIBLY WRONG when your ANTAGONIST and I use that term VERY loosely here, as he is not clearly introduced as the antagonist in this story or not NO ONE IS is the ONLY character in the entire book a reader can identify with at a point in said book where you should already know your characters reasonably well You should know, by this time, generally what they want out of life, and why you should care about hate them Look back on my examples In every one of those series by the time you got to chapter 4 you knew without a doubt who your protagonist was, and why you should care about them You knew their hopes and their dreams You knew what kind of person they were You, perhaps, felt sorry for them because of their horrible lives, or felt a lot like them, knowing what it s like to be downtrodden, or shipped away to school away from everything you know and love, or feel inferior to your parents and desperately want to prove your worth, or be turned down for something important to you because of a physical deficiency You identify with them They are clearly the hero of the story and you want to see how they overcome the trials in their lives Where was all of that in The Demon King Who is the Protagonist Who is this book about Who am I supposed to care about Why am I supposed to care about them Where is the conflict Who are these people the author keeps talking about and why do I care Is something supposed to be happening Did I miss something Why does she keep talking about Han when Annoying Douche 1 is clearly the compelling character I don t get it What s going on In conclusion, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima is a horrible book that I could not even finish The characters are ridiculously bland, and she does not seem to understand men well enough to write believable male characters There is no plot of which to speak Nothing happens in the first four chapters that will even come close to grabbing you At a point in the story where you should have a pretty good idea who the characters are, and why you should care about them, she still hadn t even really introduced them to us properly This book could be used in writing classes as an example of exactly how NOT to begin a story I can sum this book up for you in one word Bland.It is my opinion that a Young Adult novel should be something that not only children but adults should enjoy as well All of the series I cited as being better than this one, save Redwall, were books that I read as an adult and loved Sabriel was even targeted at teenaged GIRLS and I still loved it I doubt that my being double the target age of this book was what made it so hard for me to read it In fact, I find it hard to believe that a boy half my age would not be incredibly bored to death by it, or even make it as far as I did The characters are bland, the world is bland, nothing happens, there s no catch to get you interested in anything If I could give this book negative stars, I would It s just plain BLAND BLAND Check out my other reviews. Wow I m really surprised to say that this book blew me away I only decided to pick this series up because I have the Flamecaster on my shelf and I didn t know that it was actually a follow up to the Seven Realms series I wasn t sure what to expect from The Demon King but my expectations were pretty high considering how I went into this book comparing it to the Falling Kingdoms series Although this book did have similarities to Falling Kingdoms, it s definitely its own separate story.One of the things I didn t like about The Demon King was the slow pacing It took about 200 pages until the story started to pick up And even then, some parts still went by a little slow throughout the story Things weren t exactly boring but they sure weren t too exciting either.The worldbuilding did start off a little rocky Cinda Williams Chima really seemed like she tried her best to explain the Seven Realms but it was a lot to take in and came off as a little info dumpy at times It wasn t until the last half of the book that I was able to finally have a good grasp on the world and how things worked.At first, I didn t care too much for the characters Han was boring and I felt Raisa was a bit pretentious and stubborn, but I was able to warm up to them after 200 pages in I also thought that our two main characters would ve crossed paths for most of the story but surprisingly, they ve only ran into each other once the whole entire book I m really curious to see these two working together again in the next book since I actually enjoy them as a duo And I m pretty sure this ship is canon so I m 100% shipping it.The romance, or shall I say ROMANCES, in The Demon King closely resembles that of the romance in the Falling Kingdoms series Everybody is in love with everybody Precisely But since Falling Kingdoms probably had a love octagon to say the least, The Demon King only had a love pentagon, if I m not mistaken So if you survived Falling Kingdoms, you ll surely survive The Demon King.I keep comparing this series to the Falling Kingdoms series so I m just going right ahead to say that if you love the Falling Kingdoms series, you ll definitely enjoy The Seven Realms series It starts off a bit slow but once the story picks up, you won t be able to put this book down It s an older book that came out in 2009 but I believe that it s worth a read.