THE EXILED QUEEN
Cinda Williams Chima
Series: Seven Realms #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Release date: September 24th 2010
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 that 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.
Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
“I can teach you marvelous things.”
The Exiled Queen is a solid second installment to the Seven Realms series. It has all the elements that made the first book, The Demon King, so good: great writing, fantastic world-building, developed characters, twists, and a slow but steady pace. The beginning is a little slower than usual, but once the action picks up, it leaves you on the egde of your seat.
Cinda Williams Chima once again delivers an amazing YA Fantasy book. Still told in dual-POV, the story picks up right where The Demon King left off, with our characters on their way to learn a little more about their abilities and the world they live in. The world-building continues to expand, as we are introduced to different parts of the Seven Realms, which only makes the story richer and more entertaining.
As mentioned above, this book does suffer a little because of its slow pace. Sequels sometimes fall under the curse of being fillers — just a bridge from one book to the other —, and the first half The Exiled Queen does feel a bit like that. It takes a while for the characters to be thrown together again and for the action to start. Not to say things are boring, because they aren’t! The story continues to be engaging and interesting.
With the expanding world-building, get more explanations about how the magic and wizardry works in the Seven Realms. We are also introduced to a whole new set of characters. A few familiar faces from the first installment also come back, this time with a bigger part to play in the story. They are still very fun to read about, and Chima gives each of them an unique voice. And the main characters — Han, Raisa, Amon, Micah, etc — all change and develop as the plot progresses, which is always a good thing.
There’s a little more romance in this installment, and also a little more heartbreak. Because of the slow pace, there is a lot of time for those connections to develop, so they don’t feel rushed or shoehorned in just for the sake of writing some kisses. The focus of the story doesn’t hang on that, so that aspect doesn’t take anything away from the main arc.
Overall, The Exiled Queen is a very good and strong addition to this series. It’s a bit of a whirlwind in the best of ways, with twists that surprise you and revelations that only make this complex plot even better. It’s perfect for Fantasy and Ya fans alike, and I’m sure it’s only going to get better.