Series: Seven Realms #1
Published by Hyperion Books on October 6th 2009
Number of Pages: 506
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
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 loved Raisa. She’s smart and stubborn, she wants to be a good queen one day. And when she realized that things are being kept from her that she needs to know, so she can BE a good queen, she goes out and starts finding answers. She may not always have the best ideas on how to do things, and some of the scrapes she gets into could have been avoided if she had been less headstrong. But over-all, I really liked her as a character. And I really like her and Amon together.
I liked Han just as much as I liked Raisa. I guessed some of the mystery around his silver cuffs, but I didn’t have a clue about the scope and his past. I liked how he tried to take care of his mother and sister, as well as his interactions with the clan.
I didn’t like either of the wizards at all. But they were well-done bad characters. The progression of the reveals about just how bad the wizards are, was perfect. I also liked that there were more than just the main two, and that we got to see how the magic works. At least enough that it was understandable, and didn’t leave you lost as to how everyone fits into the world. I love when magic has actual rules that need to be followed, I’m hoping for more details on it in the next book.
The world seems to be really well done. It’s fleshed out enough that it feels like a real place, without being an info dump. All the characters feel real as well, none of them are cardboard.