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The Demon King

(Seven Realms #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  67,761 ratings  ·  5,203 reviews
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch, and reformed thief Han Alister must rely on all his skills to provide for his mother and his sister.

While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer, discover three young wizards using a magical amulet to set fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han wrestles it from them, but without realising that his heroism
Paperback, UK edition, 506 pages
Published 2010 by Harper Voyager (first published October 6th 2009)
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Xiola If you don't like reading about girls, then the chapters about the girl might take a bit of getting used to, but at least half of the chapters are abo…moreIf you don't like reading about girls, then the chapters about the girl might take a bit of getting used to, but at least half of the chapters are about the male protagonist. They both have different points of view and totally different characters and are written differently; yes there is more focus on romance in the girl's chapters, partially because of the culture she is surrounded in, but there is almost none in the boy's chapters, because largely he is concerned with survival. The male character is likeable and sometimes charming but he's not written as a "boyfriend type", and doesn't get very romantic in his thoughts at all; mainly in this book he is concerned with survival, his family, and his friends. (I read a review that said that the fights the male characters get in are weird and unprovoked, which worried me in the beginning, but after reading it I didn't feel that way at all; I think they may have judged based on the first few chapters - there is certainly a confrontation in one of the first few chapters where the main characters seem to overreact to a situation, which gets them into a mess, but it does not go unexplained; the context for that reaction is explained later on... the main guy is a bit impulsive throughout the story but this didn't bother me as he wasn't inconsistently written and the way he reacted fit with his character; the girl was impulsive too, it's probably the main thing the two main characters have in common).

If nothing else it's enjoyable for it's world-building. It manages to pack a ton of coherent believable detail about the world while remaining clear and well-paced and not getting bogged down in lengthy exposition paragraphs.

It's also quite action-based and quick, with a nice amount of suspense/tension.

One of the strengths of this book and it's world building IMHO is that the story doesn't shy away from discussing (actual politics that go well beyond "courtly intrigue" crap). Likewise, the reason I warmed up to the female character is that, naive or not, she gives a shit about worldly politics. That, more than the romance, gave her bonus points in my book. There are characters in this book from every station in life and the class politics are strong and well-explored and believable. In the second book we learn more about how the politics of the other realms affect each other and the characters. I am halfway through book 2 now and any mentions of romance are still only an underscore to the main story which is far more concerned with plot, character building, world building, politics, and action than romance, IMHO.

I think the main difference between this book and male-targeted fantasy is that the female protagonists get to be real protagonists and are equal with the male characters, and that the point of view of the female protagonist is perhaps more relatable to young adult women than the relegated-to-a-side-character women in many male-targeted fantasy novels. Other than that the story itself is very strong and not a romance or a "girly" book.

I'd say it's well balanced, gender-wise, and probably more suited to male fantasy readers than the average female-authored fantasy; there ARE female protagonists and girly things but they don't take up more than their fair share of the story; one person replied that there is a lot of fanservice but IMHO there is no more fanservice for girls in this book than there is fanservice for guys in male-authored fantasy, and it goes the other way around too since there is a male protagonist as well as a female one; in fact, the only one who has sex is the male character and it's with a side character (it's non-graphic, and not a lot of words are wasted on it and it's neither objectifyingly casual nor particularly romantic). The female character only gets some kissing scenes but they actually relate to the plot later down the line.

EDIT: later on, when the two storylines finally overlap midway through book 2, there is more emphasis on romance than had been in the story previously so while the political intrigue/plot/action is still strong it feels a little more "girly" to me at this point, due to the romance actually becoming a bit more of the plot instead of just a sideline. I still think it's worth it for the rest of it because the story and character backgrounds and development are really strong, but if you wanted to avoid female-POV romance elements completely then I would wait on this one until you're in the mood to have a bit of tolerance for it.(less)
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Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Hanalea's blood and bones, I just found a new obsession!!

Wow. It's been a while since the last time I read YA fantasy, and I'd almost forgotten why I love this genre so much! The Demon King certainly had its flaws, but it was so riveting and bewitching that I lost the X-Factor final last night in order to finish it and I suspect I'm going to spend the following days lost in this series, with coffee and ice-cream as my sole companions! Burn you social life!

And by fun, I mean books.
“Han al
Eric Allen
Sep 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Demon King

By Cinda Williams Chima

A Review by Eric Allen

Before I begin, I must say that I was not able to finish this book. I only got four chapters in before I couldn't take it anymore. This book fails on every level possible and imaginable. Let me count the ways. No Hook. No plot. No tension. No conflict. No compelling characters or events. No protagonist. No antagonist. No emotion. No color. No life. No story. No desire to read ANY further. No refunds? ...DAMMIT!!! My dislike for the book
Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀
I love this book specifically for its POVs: We have the village idiot and the spoiled princess.
Except thats just the surface-- there much more to these characters and I absolutely adored how their stereotypes were ripped to shreds

The village idiot with mysterious cuffs on his arm with weird symbols no one understands

“Maybe if you knew how to use them, you could— I don’t know—shoot flames from the palms of your hands.'
Han was thinking he was just as likely to shoot flames from his rear end”
Mikee (ReadWithMikee)
Wow! I'm really surprised to say that this book blew me away. I only decided to pick this series up because I have the Flamecaster on my shelf and I didn't know that it was actually a follow up to the Seven Realms series. I wasn't sure what to expect from The Demon King but my expectations were pretty high considering how I went into this book comparing it to the Falling Kingdoms series. Although this book did have similarities to Falling Kingdoms, it's definitely its own separate story.

One of t
C.G. Drews
Oh wow...oh wow oh wow oh wow. CAN I CONFESS THAT THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE FANTASY OF EVER!?!??! Because I am confessing. This is not a drill peoples. THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. It has everything I want and love in an epic fantasy. Seriously the whole time I was just sitting there gasping, "WAS THIS BOOK WRITTEN FOR ME?!!? OMG?!?!?"

Epic Things This Book Has That Makes My Small Heart Pleased:
• It has a Matriarchy and a Queendom. YES THAT'S RIGHT FOLKS. WOMEN RULE. (Although there still is puzzling sex
This book lays a good foundation for the rest of the series, but it definitely drags at times and the story doesn't really get started until the end. I love the protagonists. They have a ton of room for growth. My biggest complaint was the abundance of love interests, but at least it wasn't the main theme of the story. Just a pet peeve of mine. I plan to continue with the series and I'm excited to see where it goes.
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably even more like 4.5/5 stars

I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did - I just got it on a whim and thought this will be fun! And it was fun, and hecka addicting.
I loved the world building and the story, but mostly I just loved getting lost in a fantasy book without a lot of complicated magic systems and things to keep track of. It was so fun to just lose myself in it.
It took a bit for me to get into at first but once I was in I WAS IN TOO DEEP.
Definitely loved this and will
Re-read 2016

I'm bumping this one up a star! LOVED IT!
But I'm seeing a lot of mixed (bad and/or DNF) reviews from friends, and it suddenly strikes me...


Hmmm. Well, I will admit that this is a pretty slow book in the beginning. In fact, it takes quite a few chapters to get to anything that I would personally consider even remotely interesting. I'm thinking that, perhaps, the reason I enjoyed this so much more the second time around was because I knew where everything was headed.
And make NO mistake
Robin (Bridge Four)
Re-Read with my crew at Buddies Books & Baubles starting Feb 22, 2016

One of the best things about this book for me is that in YA usually the MCs meet and instantly it is all about them being together. Raisa is 15 almost 16 so I really like that the author has her meeting different boys (she has quite a few suitors) and playing the field a little. She doesn't just fall in love with the first of second man/boy to show an interest in her. The same goes for Han....he gets a little kissing time too w
Even better the second time around.

How’s it possible that I still want to go back and start all over again?
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Here went my night.

Yes, you read correctly. Despite my reading slump that drove me to DNF more books that I'm comfortable with yesterday, despite today being my last day of vacations and as usual busy as hell, despite the objective flaws of The Demon King, I couldn't stop reading for the life of me, and closed my reader at 6am pretty exhausted.

Worst is, I'm fighting the urge to start The Exiled Queen right now, and I can count on the finger of one hand the number of times it happened with a
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Uhh... WELL. I don't really know what went wrong with me and this book.

I was supposed to enjoy it.

I was supposed to really enjoy it.

I was totally expecting to really enjoy it.

But sadly, I didn't.

I have heard so much praise for author Cinda Williams Chima, but for now I'm left wishing I could see what so many others have seen in her books.

I actually had a weird experience where I was under the impression that this series was a completely different story than it turned out to be. I'm sure that
Guys, I'm literally screaming, THAT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING READ???? I feel so satisfied akdjskdj RTC!!!!
Three words; fa, reaking, awesome!

Now I remember why I love fantasy so much! Especially a kick-butt high fantasy like this one.

Chima has masterfully created an intriguing world, with a cast full of memorable characters.

The chapters somewhat alternate between Han and Raisa. Divulging the depth of each character and the world around them, presented in their own P.O.V. I love when authors do this. I like that connection you get when the story is presented in this format. I am emotionally invested i
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
YAS. Thank goodness- another legit series to get into!!

Wahoo... Okay. Initial thoughts....This is going to be a quick review because really I just want to read book #2 after all the raving reviews from friends... (though I'll probably come back and update this review later. Whatever.)

So here we go.

The world is MY kind of world. Quarreling kingdoms, forbidden magic, clans... street gangs... yeah baby. Love it.

The pace was a little slow to start but I didn't mind too much. I think most of this bo
THE DEMON KING was a perfect maelstrom of practically everything I love in a book. Court intrigue, captivating characters, intricate plotting, enticing romances, and brilliant world building coalesce to deliver the best high fantasy story EVER.

The characters in Chima's story are extremely well developed; each had their own unique personality that distinguished him or her as an individual entity, subsequently allowing me to easily love or hate them. In the case of Han Alister- LOVE. Han is a ref
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOW. Definitely adding this to my favorites list.
I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to read this...
If you love fantasy... READ THIS.
Full Book Discussion on YouTube:
Feb 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 Stars

Buddy read with Cait, who liked it way more than I did. If you want to check out her positive review, here it is.


I should've just DNFed this. I'll be honest, I did consider doing it a few times, but noooooo, I had to give it a chance. I kept on hoping it'd get better. But nope.


Obviously, I'm an unpopular opinion here since this has a 4.20 average rating. But oh. It wasn't my cup of tea.

Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
DNF - No rating.

I am just in the mood for something more robust. After 25% nothing had really grabbed me yet.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

“Hanalea's Bloody Bones!!!!”

Finally, I've found myself to be crazy about a book after a very long time. I had lot of anticipation of the book because I had procrastinated to read it for a while. I've tried my level best to hate this book, but unfortunately I couldn't. I know many of them hated the slow pace of the book but I think patience is a must to read this book as it was worth it. At the beginning, the description about the kingdom, clans, history, geography, etc. were to
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I loved this book! I'm very excited about this series. It's off to an awesome start!

I love most of the characters in the book. The two main stories revolve around Han and Raisa. Han is a poor boy that lives in the towns outside of the kingdom. He has some kind of cuffs that are around his wrists and I wonder what these could be there for?... He does his best to take care of his mom and sister. At one time he was the leader of a gang, but he saw the error of h
Zain Otoom
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't what I expected but nonetheless, it was good. This book is so slow at the beginning. It picks up roughly after chapter 12/13, or page 200 or so. It's definitely a build up book. There's so much world building in this book it's crazy, and I have to say, it was one of my favorite parts about this book. I listened to most of this book on audiobook because I was struggling to get into it, so if you seem to have the same problem, I recomme
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wizards, street rats, warriors, and aspiring Overlords
Recommended to Lexie by: C.G. Drews
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2016
Reviewed at The Honest Bookclub.


Han Alister:
• a drifter and a grifter
• a life of perpetual uncertainty
• a home he can't visit and a foster camp he can't call home.

Raisa ana'Marianna:
• a princess
• a life planned for her before she was even born
• a home she can't leave, far from a camp she calls her real home.

Han and Raisa are about to meet - in a world brought down by wizards but where wizards rule from the shadows, and in queendom run by a queen who circumvents conflict. They'll meet in stree
Nouf *LostinFantasy*
I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much but I ended up loving it! The world building, setting, and characters were everything I look for in a fantasy book! I guess you can say this first book in the series was pretty much 500 pages of introducing and setting up the plot. But I was still completely wrapped up in the characters' adventures and how everything came together in the end!

The dark history between the wizards and the clans and the line of queens (yes, it's a queendom!) is what shapes
Aly (In Wonderland)

My slump is officially over. The only problem now is: do I carry on with the Pokémon Readathon, do I finish my towering TBR or do I carry on with this series?

I need more Han. And Raisa. And Amon. I NEED MORE. *flails*
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, 2017-read
Buddy read with Jia!

Wow. I had high hopes for this series and I was not at all disappointed. It was such a promising start to what I know will be an amazing series. This book was highly intimidating because it was high fantasy and the chapters were 20 pages long. I'll admit, I did struggle through the first 5-10 chapters because it was a lot of world building and characters to process and learn about. However, when I sat down and really dedicated my time to the book, I flew through it and adore
Stacia (the 2010 club)
I have the hardest time reviewing fantasy books. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe because so much is constantly going on, it leaves me a bit stumped as to how to summarize everything in an eloquent fashion.

Fans of traditional fantasy, whether it be adult or YA, will most likely appreciate this series. The Demon King read very much like a slightly scaled down version of a good adult epic fantasy - not much was held back for the sake of a younger audience.

From the good to the evil characters, I fou
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

He called her Briar Rose, he said, because of her beauty. And her many thorns.

It's not often that I find a YA fantasy series that enraptures me the way this one did. It's no secret that I am very picky when it comes to reading these, as well. Needless to say, I've been side-eyeing this series for FOREVER, yet I have never taken the plunge. I've mentioned it to a couple of my closest friends and have felt there was something special about it for a long while. So why not leap right in
“History,' Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. '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.”


This book was really good. Don't let my three stars dampen your spirit for reading this book.

The Demon King was an enjoyable read. I cannot say that this book completely blew me away but it was surprising and interesting. Hunts Alone aka Hans Alister was an a
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Recommendations? 2 6 Jul 09, 2020 01:19PM  
Bradley Public Library Crossover Club 1 2 Mar 24, 2020 07:42AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima - Restarting February 1st 2020 158 309 Feb 17, 2020 05:09AM  
Čteme anglicky: Letní čtení 2019 - The Demon King 1 3 May 23, 2019 06:46AM  
How do you pronounce Demonai? 4 16 May 11, 2019 08:15AM  

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New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima comes from a long line of fortune-tellers, musicians and spinners of tales. She began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers.

Her Heir Chronicles series (magic comes to contemporary Ohio) comprises The Warrior Heir The Wizard Heir . The Dragon Heir The Enchanter Heir, and the Sorcerer Heir.


Other books in the series

Seven Realms (4 books)
  • The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)
  • The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)
  • The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)

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Ashley Poston made her name with Once Upon a Con, a contemporary series set in the world of fandom, and her two-part space opera, Heart of...
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“Well, I believe she went in to rescue some Raggers from the pits,” Cuffs said. “She wasn’t all that specific.”
“She went in to rescue — why would she do that?” Amon gripped the ironwork, studying the streetlord’s face. Was he lying? And if so, what was the purpose?
“Guess she’s kind of taken with us,” Cuffs said. “You know, the glamor of the gang life and all. Getting beat up every other day, arrested for crimes you didn’t commit, long nights in gaol, sleeping in the cold and wet. It’s...seductive.” He raised an eyebrow.”
“History,' Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. '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.”
More quotes…