Conflicted Feelings and Magical Cuffs | The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

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| ISBN: 978-1423118237 | Pages: 506 |
Publication Date: October 6, 2009 | Source: Library/E-book
| Rating: 3 out of 5 stars |

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...
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

I have a lot of feelings regarding this book and they are quite conflicted. The Demon King is a prized favorite among many readers in the BookTube community which was where I was first exposed to the title. There is so much love for this series and the mysterious Han Alister that I had this book on my TBR for a long time.

Cinda Williams Chima is a magnificent writer when it came to the creation of the world. I loved learning about the history and foundation of Fellsmarch's queendom. That along with the vast nuances of cultural differences between city and clan difference - it was clear that the Seven Realms were crafted very carefully. 

“A vocation is not something you slap on, like a coat of paint, and change whenever you want. A vocation is built into you. You have no choice. If you try to do something else, you fail.”

The plot itself takes a hot second for anything to happen. It seems as if we are being immersed in the everyday lives the characters with little blips of excitement and action sprinkled in. For the length of the book, there didn't seem to much that was happening - but it is the first book so there needs to be time to set up the series. However, the few climatic points we got were fairly predictable. I felt like I saw the big turning event that would spur the events for the second book and since it felt like we were in such a lull around, I was a bit underwhelmed.

So we have to talk about Han Alister because he's the whole reason why I picked this book up. 
I'm on the fence about him - he has a lot of potential to grow especially with what we find out at the end, but do I want to keep reading to find that growth? I'm not sure yet. He just hasn't quite hooked me in yet. 

“History. Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?' 
'So hopefully we get smarter and don't make the same mistakes again.” 

Then we have Raisa. Lord help me because I am not a fan of her. She has just come back from spending time with her Clan where there she experienced an abundance of freedom. Now that she's back in the constraints of royal life, she's looking for every opportunity to strike out. All she really wants to do is have secret rendezvous and kiss boys. Literally, every male character she meets, she has a "moment" with them - it was fine at first but it got annoying. There just didn't seem to be any substance to her character because of her focus (I know she's a teenager...but please more personality than boys and kisses...)

 There are a couple of side characters whom seem to be pretty important for the future events of this story. As of right now, I am more intrigued to see how they develop and what roles they play than the two main characters. I'm afraid if I don't jump right into the sequel, this series will end up slipping from my mind because it didn't make a huge lasting impression - but I'm not exactly excited to continue either. We'll see eventually but I definitely wished that it blew me away as much as it did everyone else. 

- your thoughts -
Have you read The Demon King? Should I really attempt to push through to the sequel? If there's one character you'd be interested in seeing grow which one would it be? 

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