Kathy's Reviews > The Demon King

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
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's review
Nov 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, family, wizard-witch, young-adult
Read in January, 2001

Hanalea, 1,000 years ago the warrior queen who loved the wizard, Alger Waterlow aka the Demon King - a powerful wizard whose power got away from him, and almost led to the destruction of all... and the clans, of green magic, who brought back balance with Hanalea and with the agreement of the Breaking - that strode to maintain a balance between the royal, the clan, and the wizards... and 1,000 years later there is discontent; High Wizard Lord Bayar, using wizardry objects of the past has spelled the queen and is striking to take over all...

Raisa ana'Marianna, fifteen - turning sixteen and eligible for marriage, and princess heir, raised to be the next queen - has spent 3 years with the clans (as per the Breaking agreement) of relative freedom, learning to be a trader, as is her clan father - and how to read people, how to care for herself... she has a good heart, wants to be strong as was Hanalea, is getting multiple gifts from potential suitors, is frustrated with the society, the politics, the insulation of the palace - she wants to do good for her people (to the point where she takes many of the gifts, and gives them to the temple to be used for the people)... the restrictions are much to handle...

In her circle is Amon Byrne, son of the queen's guard head, seventeen, handsome - and by the end of this story, Raisa's personal guard - bound to her through magic (although how effective the magic is a question - when she was almost forced to marry the High Wizard's son, he felt a little concern but did not perceive the seriuosness of it.

Raisa and Amon grew up in each other’s company and were good friends… Amon just returned from 3 years of training to be a guard, and though there is some awkwardness between them because of a bloom of attraction and roles that don’t allow them to cavort, they as they once did, Raisa depends on Amon from the beginning to be honest with her, to protect her, to care for her. At the end he and his Wolf Pack (fellow students) return to Oden for further training with a disguised Raisa in their protection.
Micah Bayar, also turning 16, son of the High Wizard – and learning how to use magic in spite of being underage – he is a bit of a bully, a bit of a lady’s man, a bit cocky, but a bit unsure… he seems to buy into his father’s agenda, and plays court to Raisa – stealing kisses with her (that they both enjoy)… but when his father gifts both him & Raisa with a seduction charm jewelry on his naming day (turning 16) and they are spelled and off to have sex until her father intervenes with the help of Amon to prevent it, Micah seems to be as surprised as Raisa… he is party to forcing Raisa into marrying him on her naming day – though Raisa makes her way out of it…
Hanson Alister, son of a washerwoman and a mercenary, aka streetgang Ragger’s ex-boss, Cuffs, Hunts Alone (to the clan, where he goes each summer)… he wears magic silver bracelets, which cannot be removed (and he has tried) and they grow with him… unknown to him, the bracelets contain his magic, and absorbs the magic of anyone who strikes against him… he was a good street gang boss, but the power of it was pulling at him, and he wanted to be a better man for his younger sister… so he struggles to make money, mostly by running alcohol between Lucius Frowley (who ends up to be 1000 years old, best friend to the demon king, and believing that he has been given a bad name, and husband to Hanalea – magiced so as the true memory of what happened can be retained) and the town’s taverns… he is ‘adopted’ son to the clan matriarch, and learns much from her… he gets the demon king’s amulet when Micah sneaks it out so as to use the magic to push the deer to the princesses’ riding party – but Han and Fire Dancer come across them, and take the amulet to insure that it is not used against them… Han hides it for most of the story, though Lucius ‘feels’ it and knows it for what it is, giving Han warning to keep it, but to hide it… Han tries hard to do what is right – though he is thwarted easily… someone is killing the rival gang (because Han gave his name as Shiv, leader of the Southies, the wizard is torturing and killing Southies trying to get the amulet back and Cuffs is being blamed for their deaths), so the guard is after him, the Southies are after him, his own gang has mixed feelings for him, his mother distrusts him (because she had been told that a demon invaded him in the womb, and only the silver cuffs keep him safe), and there’s not enough money, etc… he is friends with Jemson, at the temple where the children go to learn… and when he stumbles in on him when he is meeting with a disguised Raisa, and her guard Amon recognizes him as Cuffs, he locks them in a room and takes Raisa hostage… they spend the night together in his hide out (no gold hiding there), and she escapes him in the morning… he tracks her down just as the Raggers are hassling her – and he defends her, and she learns that he is innocent of the deaths of the Southies – then she goes to the guard house to find out if her guards are torturing people, and ends up helping the prisoners in a rebellion of sorts, and Amon (after han tells him) rescues her & the Raggers that were incarcerated, and she gets back to safety – and Han never knew she was the princess…

Fire Dancer, clan, son of the matriarch – is in fact the son of a wizard who had bespelled and raped his mother… his magic came out a few years earlier, and at 16 he must go to Oden for training – he is not happy – the clan hate wizards, and now distrusts him… Fire Dancer and Han go together to Oden …
So… the story ends with the High Wizard planning on ruling the Seven Realms, with the realms paying him and his followers homage, conquering the clan and making them provide them to tools for magic as he sees fit, and making his son the husband of the princess/queen… the queen is spelled, her husband, clan patriarch is working against them and strengthening the clan’s position… Raisa is going to Oden to train as a warrior, with bound Amon as her guard and protector… Bird Digger (who grew up with Fire Dancer and Hunts Alone) is training with the clan warriors (the Demonai) – and Fire Dancer and han/Hunts Alone are going to Oden to learn to control their magic (and though unstated, I’m sure they’ll come up with Micah, who is also scheduled to go to Oden)….
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