Summary from Goodreads:
One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raisa aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her—plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.
The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning page-turner from best-selling author Cinda Williams Chima.
Alexa: I have seen this book around for quite some time now. I know recently that many of the bloggers I follow and trust have been reviewing this series lately and seem to have nothing but good things to say. I really loved young adult fantasy when I was younger. I use to gobble up all of the Tortall world that Tamora Pierce wrote and I also liked other fantasy novels. However, it is really hard to find good fantasy books in the teen book world so this is certainly a gem in the market. Hats off to Chima for writing something outside of what is popular in the young adult genre.
Stephanie: It’s been awhile since I’ve read a young adult fantasy novel. I’ve never read a Cinda Williams Chima novel before. It is high time that I remedied that situation. I thoroughly enjoyed The Demon King. It was everything I needed at the time. It’s a great thing when you have the perfect book at just the time you need it!
What We Liked:
Alexa: I have to say that as soon as I started to read this one I was impressed with the world that Chima created. At first fantasy books can seem like a lot to take in because there is normally a map of the area in the front of the book to learn, countless characters, and countless settings and rules of the fantasy world. It is also interesting that the story is told from Han’s point of view some of the time and also from Raisa’s point of view the other parts of the story. I normally do not like to have two narrators to the story but I think that it was done properly in this case and the story was not at all confusing. Plus Han and Raisa felt like two different people who each had their own story and voice which sometimes it can be hard for authors to make characters unique with two leading narrators for one tale.
I also like how the reader gets the chance to see the different sides of life. Han is a street rat basically who was once a leader of a street gang in order just to survive and make enough money to help support his mom and younger sister. I really loved Han because he reminded me of George from Tamora Pierce’s fantasy world. I knew he was going to show me all of the great things he wanted out of life even though he had a rough time just living. Then the reader gets to experience the complete opposite with seeing how princess Raisa lives in her castle and her future role and pressure to become a great queen for her people. I have always enjoyed seeing guards, princesses, queens, historical elements, street gangs all collide in one epic fantasy book and I will tell you that this is the book for you if you want to go on a great adventure that will leave you with some surprises in the end.
Stephanie: Chima is a fantastic world builder! I loved The Demon King largely because Fellsmarch, Ragmarket, and Marissa Pines were so easy to imagine. Not only did are these beautiful descriptions of Han’s surrounding but there is a dangerous history. The tale of Hanalea and the wizard who almost broke the world has depth and explains why things are the way they are.
Of course no story is complete without a conflict. Where there is a Queen with a court, there is usually a conflict. An authority as high as a queendom can only go so long before someone challenges that authority. This is the whole crux of The Demon King.
Alexa: All in all this is the beginning to what I can only guess with be a great series. This book might have suffered just a little at times of the first book information dump syndrome and been just a little slow at times but it has great promise. I can’t wait to find out more of the storyline in the second book because I feel like the first book really left the reader on a cliffhanger where we want and need to know more. Some changes are certainly on the horizon for the characters and I can’t wait to read about more of their journey. (4 Hearts)
Stephanie: A story that includes the kind of lore and legend, setting, and conflict is almost always going to be a hit for me but Chima takes it to the next level. I truly enjoyed The Demon King and I will eagerly dive in to the rest of the series!
Please be sure to visit Stephanie at her blog Once Upon a Chapter!