Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima: Review
By: Cinda Williams Chima
Copy received from Disney/Hyperion for review
Synopsis (From Goodreads): You can't always run from danger...
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.
The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
My Review: Oh this series is amazing. I enjoyed The Demon King, but I absolutely loved The Exiled Queen. Cinda Williams Chima is a master at world building, and the setting in this book is almost like another character that moves and grows with the story.
There were a few things about the story that I think were lacking. There was a lot of story as it related to Han, but very little about Raisa for most of the book. Which I thought was a little strange given the title of the book. Also, I think that the potential for a story with Fire Dancer has remained untapped. But, there are still two books to go, and from my readings of Cinda's website, they are two very large books.
Even though there wasn't as much of the Raisa story as I would have liked, what was there was very good. Raisa has definitely grown up, and is learning more about her identity. Her romances are very real and fun to read about. My husband and I read the book aloud and found that even reading the "lovey dovey" parts wasn't uncomfortable.
Han's story was definitely setting up for the next book in the series. Thus, it did drag a little in parts. However, as long as the information that we learned about Han and wizarding history proves useful in the next book, I don't mind much at all. Also, I did find that I wanted Han to be a little more perceptive than he seemed to be at times. I found that I could easily anticipate his next move, and waited a few pages for him to realize something that I had known was coming. But, his character remained true in this book, and that's really the most important thing to me.
As I mentioned above, one of the best parts of this series is the world building. What is truly amazing about this book is that while the setting is totally unfamiliar, unlike other high fantasies, there aren't a lot of different races and terms to keep track of. There really aren't even a lot of characters. I didn't feel like I was so caught up in trying to keep places or people straight that I was missing the point of the story.
Like the Demon King, I really enjoyed the ending. There was a clear ending of the story arc, but I was definitely left wanting more. I can't wait for the next book that will be out next Fall. If you enjoy fantasy, this book is a must read.
Drugs and Alcohol: None