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The Exiled Queen: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Two

Review

The Exiled Queen: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Two

This second installment of the Seven Realms is an impressive and fun addition to what had already been a grand beginning for the series. Expanding on an enchanting medieval locale, THE EXILED QUEEN fleshes out some fantastic characters and takes the story to a more personal level, revealing much about the hearts and minds of those who possess the principles and resourcefulness to stand against tyrants.

The book begins by diving straight into the pressing danger Cinda Williams Chima set up in THE DEMON KING, events that tentatively left the future of the Realms in the hands of the Wizard Council and its leader. High wizard Gavan Bayar managed to gain considerable power through controlling the Gray Queen line and possessing particular magical artifacts, but the queen's heir had been lost and private alliances were formed that might prove to be the difference between freedom and slavery for many. The serpent amulet owned by the Demon King was thought to be the key and the only thing standing in the way of total domination by wizards. As of yet, however, Bayar doesn't possess the power needed to take complete control. His only barriers are Han Alister, the illustrious wizard/thief who took possession of the amulet; the questionably firm resistance offered by the Clan and its Demonai warriors; and the feisty, beautiful princess heir Raisa, whose independence could be Bayar's undoing.

THE EXILED QUEEN centers mainly on the intellectual and physical maturation of two leaders who have been established as the core of the resistance. The first, Han Alister, travels to Oden's Ford with fellow wizard Fire Dancer, having gratefully left the unpleasant protection of the Clan. He is still shocked to discover that he's a wizard and grieves the brutal deaths of his mother and sister, vowing revenge on the Bayars. Free of his enchanted cuffs, Han discovers his considerable power but has yet to decide whether he will allow the Clan --- or anyone else --- to use him as a weapon. Upon arriving at Oden's Ford, Han and Fire Dancer enroll in Mystwerk Academy, finding that Micah Bayar and his sister are fellow students. With this in mind, Han works quickly to master top-level spells and sorcery, while attempting (sometimes unsuccessfully) to dodge many concealed attempts by Micah and his crew to harm him.

In alternating chapters and on a parallel track to Han's risky adventure, Princess Raisa arrives at Oden’s Ford, accompanied by her protector, Amon Byrne. As Han trains in full view of his enemy, Raisa attempts to remain anonymous, disguised as a simple soldier under the alias of Rebecca --- the girl who Han once knew and liked. While attempting to avoid Raisa on the one hand, Byrne goes to great pains to conceal and protect her, knowing that her discovery would result in an arranged marriage and the enslavement of the Gray Queen crown. Raisa is completely unaware that her greatest enemy is staying at the neighboring academy, and her efforts are spent in planning her future and becoming a well-prepared ruler.

During this time, Raisa appreciates the full meaning of friendship and devotion, and both she and Han grow independently and come into themselves, finding their courage and becoming wiser and more powerful each day. She wonders if she'll ever be free to choose her own life and goes to great pains to show her feelings for a forbidden man and a kindred spirit. Uncovering the secrets behind one honorable man's closed heart becomes a difficult and entrancing experience, as is Raisa's ultimate reunion with her alluring past captor.

Since reading THE DEMON KING, I've had high hopes for this series, and after finishing THE EXILED QUEEN, I’m thrilled. This is sure to be a winner among fans of the traditional epic fantasy: teenage readers, including the often more scrupulous adult crowd. It has universal appeal and is a tale built upon mesmerizing romances amid a large-scale conflict between different nations and variously empowered societies. The quick pacing, difficult-to-predict storyline, and complicated heroic characters are sure to captivate readers, as are the perfectly hateable villains. The intricate web of politics and magic at the heart also provide excitement and diversion. Top that off with richly expressive language and a brilliantly drawn medieval setting, and this is clearly a work for Cinda Williams Chima to be proud of.

Reviewed by Melanie Smith on September 28, 2010

The Exiled Queen: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Two
by Cinda Williams Chima

  • Publication Date: September 28, 2010
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 1423118243
  • ISBN-13: 9781423118244