Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Review: The Exiled Queen, Seven Realms #2 by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen, The Seven Realms #2 by Cinda Williams Chima 
Release Date:  September 24th 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: Library  
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 that 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.

Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction
**There are spoilers for the first book and this book! Read further at your own risk! You have been warned!**
Have I told you guys that I bing read this entire series? The Exiled Queen clocks in at 586 pages all of which I read in one day because I was so utterly absorbed with what was happening that I could not wait to get back to reading if I had to stop. The Exiled Queen had more action than I had anticipated but it went away after a while but the world building, character development, and plot development kept me engaged. 

The book picks up a little after the events of the second book with Raisa on the run and Han on his way to Oden's Ford. Honestly, I'm going to say that Gavan Bayar is a crazy person like no other. I really, really don't like him. Anyways. There is so much adventure and danger in this book that I can't even handle it! Raisa will arrive in one place, think she's safe, and then BAM! something comes out and almost kills her! And this time, she's not alone so the lives of many others falls in her hands so I was exited to see how Raisa's emotions were incorpated into the plot. Honestly, the book becomes slow once Raisa and Han arrive at Oden's Ford but then of course it picks up at unexpected places! 

Furthermore, Raisa and Han grow and develop as the book progressed. The Exiled Queen shows a different side of Raisa because this is the first time she's not simply at the castle but in various parts of the world she is to one day rule and the other realms. Raisa truly realizes that she hasn't seen as much of the world as she had thought and there was more to ruling a county than simply knowing the boundaries of a country. Han, on the other hand, has to deal with the aftermath of his sister and mother's murder which really, takes a toll on him. Han is a much more different character and you truly feel for him. While he was aloof and strong in the first book, Han in The Exiled Queen is sad and angry and in need of vengeance. But he's also very smart and gifted and it's a pleasure to see how he grows as a wizard. 

I love me a good romance and the romance between Han and Raisa makes me so, so happy. While they're not just friends, they're not really more than friends. Han is too upset about the loss of his family to consider a girlfriend and Raisa is still hurt by the revelation that she and Amon can never be anything more than friends. Their friendship and gradual attraction is perfect because it doesn't happen all at once but at the same time, they're not completely in love either. There's more room for their romance to grow and I love that they're not an established couple already. 

Overall, yet another win for this series! While The Exiled Queen was faced fasted then The Demon King, it still lagged at times. But like the first book, I was too invested in the characters and their lives to truly let it bother me. I love the world too and I think Cinda Williams Chima has a gift for writing because as much as I love the world and the characters, her writing is what really brings the book to life! 

**I borrowed this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for my review.**

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