“You can’t assume that because you have plenty to eat that everyone does.”– Cinda WIlliams Chima
Series: Seven Realms #1
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date Published: 6 October 2009
Page Count: 524
Source: ebook (own copy)
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off. One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for. The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.
Cover Design ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I immediately took a liking to the US edition of the cover rather than the UK edition. I felt the colours blended together much more seamlessly and love the final touch of the amulet being the main subject on the cover. The writing was a very unique touch as I have not read a book that had the title going vertically instead of horizontally and I felt as though it gave the cover some character.
Majority of the characters presented in the book did not seem to captivate me as much as I felt they should have.
Han was the first character we were introduced to. In the beginning, I did not like him one bit. He appeared to me as reckless, almost stupidly so. As I got to know him in the book, I did grow a subtle liking towards him but I still felt as though he was lacking a lot of character development.
I felt the most connected to Dancer. I found him to be a much more likeable character but he was also very bland. There was nothing in his character that really stood out to me and I think he lacked the complexity he should have.
I was extremely conflicted when it came to Raisa. She came across to me to be extremely naive (although she was only sixteen) and almost selfish at the beginning. Later, I did change my thoughts and decided she was a very strong character and actually quite selfless.
Micah was not my favourite character, but he was my favourite development wise. He was strongly written and I felt as though he was written to be disliked and I loved that.
Amon to me was just a character lacking in personality, much like dancer. He didn’t catch my attention at all besides his relationships with other characters.
I was exceptionally underwhelmed by the overall plot line to this story and I felt like nothing extreme really surprised me. It was a very predictable read and the main plot twists I had already predicted within the first 5-10 chapters of the story.
I also felt as though this book didn’t really contribute much to the series and not a lot really happened which led me to be quite disappointed as I was expecting a little more from it. I almost would go as far to say that I would have enjoyed the series (keep in mind I have only read the first two books) if I had only read the last part of this book.
I really loved the magical aspect of the story though and the world building and magic system was something I really enjoyed.
Writing Style ⭐⭐⭐
The writing was nothing out of the ordinary. It was very easy to read and provided us with enough descriptive nature to get a decent grip on what was happening. It definitely dragged on in some places much longer than it should but other than that I don’t have much to complain about.
It was written in a third person style where the chapters alternated, following both Han and Raisa. This allowed a good contrast between Han and Raisa to be established.
The standards for this first book was set high for me and I was unfortunately disappointed. I was not captivated by the characters and was constantly let down by the predictability and blandness of the plot. I feel as though the book contributed little to nothing to the rest of the series and I hated the slow pacing of the book and the writing style seemed to be quite average. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike this book, I just found it to be nothing special and quite underwhelming.