2012

The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

WaterHorseTo start off the holiday season, I wanted to post a review on one of my favorite series yet! I know I’ve been absent from Ever After Perspective but a lot of my free time has been spent writing and working over the past couple of months. Plus, it was National Novel Writing Month in November which had me super busy writing my book. That said, I got the chance to read many new books and series — some of which are the best books I’ve ever ever read.

I’ve had the opportunity to read many wonderful characters over the years, but it brings me great joy when I stumble upon a character that truly truly impresses me. When it comes to the Seven Realms series, Cinda Williams Chima’s character, Han Alister, is by far my favorite fantasy male lead of all time. And that’s saying a lot.

So what does Han Alister have that makes him stand out among the hundreds of dark and smoking hot mysterious male leads out there? Besides his extremely sexy name… he is absolutely brilliant. I think it’s very difficult for authors to show that side of characters. You can always tell us that so-and-so is smart and witty, but to show us is an entirely different story. Fortunately, Cinda Williams Chima was able to do it just right when it came to Han Alister. Chima developed a character that was so complex and handsome that I just wanted to squeal in delight every time Han thought or did something to my liking. Rarely do I ever find characters that captivate me for their brains. Thus, individuals like Han Alister from The Seven Realms series and Kvothe from the Kingkiller Chronicles  by Patrick Rothfuss are two male leads that I’d like to praise for their performance.

I didn’t even need the romance to get me hooked to this series (though it was an added plus). Chima got me the moment she introduced Han as one of her main characters…and I adore her for that. If you’re looking for an entertaining cast, epic adventure and enticing dialogue to keep you up all night, give the Seven Realms series a shot and you might just find a new favorite book for the holidays!

The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2)
The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)
The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)

SevenRealms_DemonKingTimes 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 off.

One 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 back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returning to court after three years of freedom in the mountains – riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. 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 her mother has other plans for her – including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

SevenRealms_ExiledQueenTo begin with, I want to point out that The Demon King wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I picked it up from the bookstore.  The writing was amazing and exactly what I look for when I read books written from a third-person perspective. Chima has a way with words that gets me grinning from ear-to-ear, especially when you have two pretty awesome main leads. She’s quite the word craft and her ability to create such a magical setting is amazing. I’d love to live in her world.

The Demon King accomplished its purpose of setting the series up before things really got started. The series is told from the perspective of two different characters, but I had no idea how separate those storylines would be until I was halfway through the first book. If you ask me, The Demon King was a bit slow at first with me questioning whether Han and Raisa would ever cross paths.

And then they did. And it lasted for about two seconds before the book ended with me craving for more. And more. And more.

SevenRealms_GrayWolfThroneBy the time I was two pages into book two, The Exiled Queen, I honestly realized that I had found a diamond in the rough. There’s something breathtaking about a story of a street rat who grows up to become a notorious outlaw – and Han Alister’s storyline captured my heart with its devious plotting, magical setting, and of course brilliant beyond brilliant characters. The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima was beyond doubt…astounding. We get the beginnings of an epic tale and a whirlwind romance. And the two storylines come together like fitted puzzle pieces. Han was so smug, so poor…and so…boy…that I just couldn’t help but fall for him. You’d just have to read the book to understand what I mean when I say Chima wrote a brilliant a character in him.

I’m truly happy that I discovered the series only a couple of months before the final book published. The Gray Wolf Throne and The Crimson Crown met every expectation I had. Chima delivered an amazing and epic storyline that had me rooting for even the bad guys from time-to-time. More than anything, I give props to the author for creating such an in-depth story of war, politics and romance. And for creating a cast of characters that I will forever remember. Raisa was a strong heroine who you will appreciate and even Dancer and Crow scenes had me obsessed. Plus, the use of magic, seduction and wizard politics was SevenRealms_CrimsonCrownquite entertaining. So entertaining that I hunted down Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and found another new favorite in the “coming-of-age/notorious wizard” book genre.

If you’re looking for a fantasy series that’s a bit more complex than what you typically see on the young adult shelves, give the Seven Realms series a read. I held off reading this series for more than a year and it turned out to be some of the best books I have ever had the honor of reading. I’m so glad that Chima was at the RT Booklovers Convention earlier this year. Her presence piqued my curiosity and I was luckily able to get a personalized autograph in my copy of The Demon King.

I chose the song Immensities from the original soundtrack of Elizabeth: The Golden Age as the theme song of the Seven Realms series. It reminds me of the last scene of The Crimson Crown – which by the way was done so so perfectly. Hope you enjoy the series as much as I did!

Rating: 5/5

Theme Music: Immensities composed by Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman from the soundtrack of Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Photo: Photo as seen on http://vi.sualize.us/best_photos_stumbleupon_horse_sunset_reflection_water_picture_2HV.html

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