Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
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 (goodreads).
The Demon King is a very strong fantasy novel that does not leave any detail out!
Plot: The synopsis, to be honest, kind of turned me off from the book. It's so long and reveals too much. Luckily, the devil is in the details. Chima must have a spreadsheet while writing this series because this book is hella in depth. It's long, but the story and characters kept me glued to the pages. This book was unusual for me because most Young Adult fantasy novels are jam packed with action, but The Demon King takes it nice and slow and alludes to more political strifes than relying on physical action.
Characters: The Demon King is told from the alternating perspectives of Han, a former street lord, and Princess Marianna. These two characters seemingly have nothing in common and it's fascinating and smart how their storylines interweave. If political intrigue is your thing, then The Demon King is 100% for you. There are a lot of characters who have their own agendas and precarious truces that are in danger of breaking.
Now I bet you're all wondering. Romance? Not so much in this one. Marianna and Han are really independent characters who establishing their own storylines, as a result, they don't have a lot of "screen time" together. Regardless, this is going to be one of those slow burn romances that I adore; albeit a lot slower than I'm used to.
Worldbuilding: Remember how I said Chima must have had a spreadsheet while writing this bad boy? I can't see how she could have created this intense world without several graphs and excel spreadsheets to keep characters and alliances together, as long as lands. It's so rich with history and conflict. I hope that we get more glimpses into the past because that story arch and how it parallels to the present worlds is fascinating!
Short N Sweet: The Demon King is unique, but prepare yourself for a loonnnnng read!