Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima | Series Review

The Demon King is the book that kicks off the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. It is also the book that launched 1000 obsessions. For real though I am obsessed with this series and am SO glad that I finally decided to read it on a bit of whim. You see, Carla (formerly of The Crooked Shelf and Makeshift Bookmark) and Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) recommended this series and had the most convincing arguments ever. I am easily persuaded to read books when it is trustworthy people who I’ve known forever in Book Internet years recommending them. And so, deciding that 2017 was the year of reading what I wanted, when I wanted, I grabbed The Demon King from the library.

As I said, The Demon King is the first book in the series and really lays down the foundation for us. We first meet Han Allister as he is in the forest with his best friend, Fire Dancer. They come across some wizards, notably, Micah Bayar and his two cousins who threaten Han and Fire Dancer. It backfires though, and Han ends up stealing the amulet that Micah threatens them with. Meanwhile, there’s also the storyline of Raisa who is a princess who stands to inherit the gray wolf throne a long time in the future. She’s to be the Fells queen. For now though, she’s kind of busy hooking up and feeling out potential boyfriends. Eventually, Han and Raisa’s storylines converge as Raisa finds herself kind of slumming it. And well, this is the foundation that launches the ship that will carry us all through the Seven Realms.

So, The Demon King is the shortest of the Seven Realms books. It is just enough though to whet your appetite and make you crave coming back to this world. We get to meet the different people – the Vale folk, the Wizards, and the Clans. This is a world where the three all seem at opposite ends and makes for some tensions in Fellsmarch.

You see, the Clans hate the Wizards. The Vale folk are indifferent to the wizards, they are just poor pretty much. And the Wizards resent the power that the Clans have over them. Cinda Chima Williams really lays down some clues and some factors that are going to come into play and be hugely relevant as we complete the series. It’s kind of reminiscent of the way that JK Rowling lays clues that seem like not a big deal in Harry Potter, but they hold the key to everything.

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The Exiled Queen essentially picks up where The Demon King leaves off. This is the book that is going to really do something for you Harry Potter/magical school fans. I know quite a few people say that this one is their favorite of the series. In all honesty though, every book in this series is my favorite. Like, I am already thinking about my re-read as I type my review up. But yes, this book is where things begin to get a little bit tense and we begin to really get sucked into the world of the Seven Realms, that is, if you weren’t already sucked in.

Okay, so the two main characters of this series – Han and Raisa – are both on their way to Oden’s Ford for school. Han is on his way to Wizard School, or Mystwerk House, with Fire Dancer. He’s got that stolen amulet and the knowledge that he’s a wizard. So, Han is going to learn to use it. He also obtains the knowledge of his true blood line, and yes it is indeed a doozy. Oh and it turns out that the Bayars also go to school at Mystwerk House, so Han has to navigate some dangerous waters.

Raisa is on her way to Wein House in Oden’s Ford along with her guard, Amon, and this triple of cadets. Wein House is a military school and she is going in disguise as a minor noble called Rebecca. As it turns out, Raisa has to run away from a forced marriage with Micah Bayar. This is a super big deal because there’s a rule about gray wolf queens not being allowed to marry wizards. It’s a part of this contract called the naeming, if I am recalling correctly. Things get a little hairy on the journey there, but ultimately, Raisa makes it. There we see that she really does have a brilliant mind, and she’s also willing to work and get her hands dirty. AND YES FINALLY her path crosses even more with Han’s, but he still believes her to be Rebecca and not Raisa.

Okay so take my investment level in Seven Realms and bring it up a notch, and that describes how I feel about The Exiled Queen. I am even more into this series now and what will happen between Raisa and Han. There’s a few scraps that are thrown my way when it comes to the ship. So, of course, after finishing this book, I could not wait to get my hands on book three and I immediately put in a hold request at my library for The Gray Wolf Throne. I’ll also say that the ending of this book is quite heartbreaking and I just really felt for Raisa. She’s definitely my favorite character of the series.

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The Gray Wolf Throne, third in Seven Realms, is probably the one where there are the most machinations. So, if you’re a fan of intrigue and maneuvering, you will probably like this book the best. Like I keep saying, I like ALL of the books in this series the very best. This one though, it’s top level. Let’s just say I FLEW through it even though it’s kind of pretty weighty and really super long. All the better to spend more time in Seven Realms though.

Okay, so now Raisa is on her way home, ALONE, journeying all the way from Oden’s Ford to the Fells. Granted, yes she did decide this without consulting with the triple. Han finds out though, and decides to head out after “Rebecca”. He ends up finding her and the two end up facing some troubles along the way. Eventually, Amon and the triple catch up to them though. Secrets are revealed and Han finds out Rebecca’s identity. Unfortunately for him, he wrestles with this as it means he no longer has a chance with her. She’s the queen. He’s a wizard. It could never work. Meanwhile, Raisa must figure out the best way to claim the throne that is rightfully hers, especially to prevent being assassinated so that the wizards won’t give it to Mellony, Raisa’s sister whom they see as much more pliable.

I feel like The Gray Wolf Throne is the book where Raisa really comes into her own. It’s like Chima really focuses on Raisa’s character development in this book. I was already a lifelong fan of Raisa, but this makes me want the fan club card. She’s someone who is tough as nails and smart and just sticks to her guns. Raisa has a hard road to walk as queen, it is not all privilege and fetes for her. Instead, she really has to play the politics game and figure out how to bring her divided people together. OH and on the romance front? There’s definitely a wrench thrown in there, but there’s always the long game to look forward to.

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The final book in the Seven Realms series is The Crimson Crown. Cinda Williams Chima wraps everything up masterfully. Although, I will admit that I felt pretty bereft after finishing this series. It is a lot of pages and time to invest. Granted, it was COMPLETELY worth all of my efforts to read. Just, I did not even know what to do with my time now that I had finished The Crimson Crown. Maybe I should go onto the spinoff series which takes place 20 years after these events, but for now, I just want to hold Seven Realms in my heart and bask in the satisfaction of how perfectly everything comes together.

Raisa is now the gray wolf queen of Fellsmarch. She faces more issues than her mother ever did. The tension between the Wizards, Clans, and Vale Folk is at a fever pitch. Fellsmarch is surrounded by enemies who want a piece of Raisa’s kingdom. Even worse? Raisa’s army is comprised of mercenaries, which is just a bad idea militarily. Meanwhile, within her own kingdom different factions of people are vying for more power than they are warranted.

Han is still wrestling with his feelings for Raisa. He’s into her, but he needs to find a way to make it someday work. It is then that he finds the means to his ends. He ends up with knowledge of the lost armory of wizards. Only, he’s about to run into significant troubles due to being crossed by his enemies. Oh and then, we find out the history of Hanalee, the first gray wolf queen and Alger Waterlow – the wizard who causes the Breaking, is not at all what the previous books lead us to believe. So, it’s up to Han to eventually set everything to rights and hopefully get his girl.

OBVIOUSLY I LOVED THIS BOOK AND AM OBSESSED. And I just don’t even know what to do with my life after finishing The Crimson Crown. Be aware that I thought it was perfect, however, my standards aren’t quite what everyone else’s seems to be. I could read about Han and Raisa forever and ever amen without end. It is a little sad to finish out Seven Realms, but I just feel so satisfied and fulfilled by the ending. It was perfect and I am glad that I didn’t read another fantasy series after but went in a whole other direction with some contemporary. This series is so great that it needs breathing room after you finish.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.