You know what? I’m just going to start this review by gushing about how much I loved this book. I loved it. I adored it. I sacrificed precious sleeping hours staying up late reading it and didn’t regret it when I felt tired the next day. I loved it as much as Graceling, and that people, is saying a lot.
This story is set in world where magic is a powerful presence. There is clan magic, tied to the earth and used for healing. There is wizard magic which is a magic that wizards are born with, but that must be controlled and channeled with talismans. There is also a complicated and dark history that binds these magics together and those whom are currently working to once again break them apart.
It is a fantasy told from two perspectives. We’ve got Han, a reformed thief, who is trying to make an honest living to support his family. He’s street smart, tough, and has a way of being in the wrong place at the wrong time drawing him into events he’d sooner avoid. We’ve got Raisa, the princess heir who is trying to be more than just another empty headed princess. She’s tougher than her small stature would indicate, independent, and willing to do what it takes to make her kingdom a better place for all its citizens.
We’ve also got a host of secondary characters that are rich and varied. There is no one that shows up in this book that you wouldn’t mind knowing more about. I fell in love with them all. Even the ones I hated.
There is a lot of setting up the storyline in this first entry into what is obviously going to be a series. Sometimes that can be boring, but here it is not. While Chima is setting up the rather complicated and involved story, she makes sure to add tons of action, superb character development, and a healthy serving of intrigue. I am dying to read the next one, which isn’t actually that great of a situation to be in since The Demon King won’t be published until October 2009.
Learn more about The Demon King – including a peak at the first chapter on Chima’s website.
(a note on the cover art. I only read the first in her Warrior Heir series, but I was struck at how similar the cover art to this new series resembles the old one. Is there some sort of connection between the two that I’m missing? I suspect its just a design thing, but I figured I'd ask!)