Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Exiled Queen, by Cinda Williams Chima

Because I have the best librarian ever, I got to read this book early. (And yes, it is a sequel. I'm sorry, please don't stab me. Just think, this gives you time to go read the first one! And then you don't have to wait! So go read The Demon King, if you haven't already.)
And yes. You do indeed need to go read the first one.
If you already have, well, I just finished the Exiled Queen. 
So here we go.

Release Date: September 28, 2010

Amazon Review Thingy: (As always, this will have mild spoilers. I do not have the power to control Amazon. I apologize.)

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 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.  

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.   

My review:

I like Cinda Wiliams Chima. Her previous books had her on my 'will watch with eagle eye' list. But the Seven Realm novels have landed her smack dab in the middle of my 'need to cyber stalk write like her' list.

See, I like huge fantasy books, but I do agree, some of them can get dull. I didn't have that problem with this one. Instead of focusing on ornate descriptions and oodles and bunches of fantastical creatures, The Exiled Queen is full of characters that I love. While the plot is great and the writing is superb, it was the characters that really made this novel. 
Raisa, the princess, is not the typical fluff ball. However, she isn't the now-typical 'I am a warrior princess' either. She's brave and flawed and stubborn and smart. Oh, and she really has this issue with kissing boys she shouldn't be kissing. 
And speaking of that . . .
Let's just talk about Han, the main male character. Because, generally, fantasy novels do have great guys. But they aren't always crush worthy.
Yeah . . .
Han is. A reformed thief who can cheat at cards or slit a throat, Han is now becoming a magician. And through the whole book, even when I wasn't busy thinking Why are there no reformed thief-now-magician boys in my high school? I just liked him. 
The villians are believable. And the support characters are just as fleshed out as the main ones. You want to be the friend of Dancer, Han's closest comrade, and you laugh as Raisa's roommates try and set her up.
Sequels are not always so hot. But honestly, I liked The Exiled Queen more than the previous novel. (Oddly, a pattern that seems to be repeating itself -- I liked Linger more than Shiver, Catching Fire more than Hunger Games, and now The Exiled Queen more than The Demon King.)
Still, the first is definitely good. I'm not saying that it isn't. I'm just saying that I think the second falls more into the 'Fantabulous' category. Cinda Williams Chima took on a subject that many people totally couldn't. It would have been easy for this to fall flat, or to bore me, but it didn't. I was too busy falling in love with the characters.
And now I want the next one, which is unfortunate since the second hasn't even come out yet.
-waits a little longer-
Where, oh where, did my stupid time machine disappear to?!


Maggie said...

I would like to read this book. Because I kinda loved Demon King. Kind of a lot. Heh.

Good review, my friend. Thank you for pointing out how we don't have any thief-turned-magician boys. I need to work on that.

The hunt begins.

(That was so cheesy. Ahem, I do need to read this book though. -nods- )

Sam said...

Maggie: Please, yes, do get to work on that.
And I loved it as well. (Ahem. Now, apparently, I am redundant.)

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Not reading your review because I'm behind and haven't read the first one! But I'm glad I can be the best librarian!:)

Anonymous said...

Wait, do all librarians have this book or just some? I also loved The Demon King and I just hate waiting for the sequals since I finish books in less then two days. Would the library in Evanston have The Exiled Queen? .....sorry for my spelling a
errors if there are any, I'm on my iPod and it's hard to type.

Sam said...

Greenbeanteenqueen: Well, get reading! -waits impatiently- -taps foot-
...Oh, wait. I guess that's rude.
You are the best librarian though. Just saying.
Anonymous: Hello! Just some librarians have it. Sarah, my librarian, went to ALA and was able to pick up an early, early copy. Yours might, though. If you head to the teen section, you can ask.