The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima (2009): 3.5/5
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima promised everything that I love about fantasy, and in many ways, it delivered.
A solid, adventure that I literally could not put down, it had me intrigued and captivated every step of the way. The characters, although sometimes contradictory and annoying (pointing fingers at the princess here) were, for the most part, believable; with the main character, Han, showing depth that I have no doubt will be even further developed in the series.
The first in The Seven Realms Trilogy, The Demon King follows Han, a reformed thief, and Raisa ana‘Marianna, a princess yearning for the freedom to make her own choices away from the bore of court life. Intertwining these two, vastly different, characters together is a mysterious amulet, with a dangerous power that may threaten the stability of the Queendom. Non-stop adventure ensues, with plenty of mysteries to keep your brain ticking.
The review sounds glowing so far doesn’t it. I’m not quite sure myself why I gave The Demon King three stars instead of four. There were just a few, really quite annoying, aspects of the novel that prevented me from loving it. I liked it, and I certainly do not regret reading it at all, but I didn’t love it. Here’s why:
- ‘Swag’. No. Just no. I don’t care if the main character was the leader of a ruthless street gang. I don’t care if he’s an exceptional thief with stomach-fluttering charm. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to find ‘swag’ in a book’s vocabulary; the fact that it was used seriously made my insides quiver even more. Sorry Cinda.
- The romance (if you can even call it that) was a bit ridiculous. I know I’m not some blushing sixteen year old anymore, but I’m certain that the romantic antics I witnessed in childhood were absolutely nothing like the ones in this book. For those of you that have read The Demon King I might sound like a picky cynic, but a princess snogging every guy she finds half attractive was a bit weird to me. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but it’s not far off the mark. I don’t know whether it’s because each romance seemed to be plucked out of thin air with no build-up whatsoever; it was all just too forced and unbelievable to me. The thoughts from the characters themselves about the romance were also a little odd. I don’t know, the whole thing just confused me…
- And then we come to the big reveal of Han’s identity at the end. Trying to explain this without riddling the review with spoilers is difficult. Let me just say that, although this is indeed a fantasy novel (and with all of them you expect there to be certain revelations), this particular reveal felt as though it was thrown in there. The reveal regarding Princess Raisa’s maid was another such instance. The abruptness of these revelations may have been due to the writing, however, I feel that altogether they were unnecessary. The novel would have been much more involving and believable (and less like a soap opera) had these not occurred.
That being said, I did actually find The Demon King immensely enjoyable. The next book in the series sounds as though it will be equally so, if not more, and I will continue reading.
If any of you have read The Demon King I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on the romance aspect. Surely I can’t be the only one that found it all a tad weird?
Thank you for reading 🙂