Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima


The Demon King
by Cinda Williams Chima
Series: Seven Realms, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Hyperion Books, 2009
E-book from Library
506 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: 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—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Raisa felt relieved, yet oddly disappointed. She was the blooded princess heir, yet in servants’ clothes she was apparently unrecognizable. In the stories, rulers had a natural presence about them that identified them as such, even dressed in rags.

What’s the nature of royalty, she wondered. Is it like a gown you put on that disappears when you take it off? Does anyone look beyond the finery? Could anyone in the queendom take her place, given the right accessories? If so, it was contrary to everything she’d ever been taught about bloodlines.


  • I like the magic and mysticism in this world.
  • History is very important in this book. The book is quite different than I thought it would be. I expected to read about a demon leading his kingdom into war.
  • Raisa questions things about her life and I like that.
  • Raisa’s mother isn’t a very strong queen and her father is often absent, but Raisa is determined to go her own way and rule wisely.
  • Han “Cuffs” is also an interesting character. He was a thief and has stopped. He tries to keep his sister away from the streets and the gangs and to support his mother and sister. Han discovers he isn’t who he thought he was.
  • Raisa and Han discover what they “know” about their country and its history might not be true.
  • Other characters are interesting, too, and I want to know more about them–Fire Dancer, Amon. Fire Dancer’s mother.


  • I like the characters a lot, but thought the story was a little slow at times.. However, that doesn’t keep me from wanting to read book 2!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I want to read the second book in this series when I get a chance!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)


Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima”

  1. I think this series gets even better as it progresses, so I hope you get time to read the second at some point! LOL @ you expecting the story to be completely different. To be honest, I hadn’t even read the back cover blurb, and had no clue what the book was about – the title isn’t a very helpful one, to be fair.

    She’s written a couple of other series, but I haven’t read them yet – very much on my to-read list though.


    1. Oh, I’m so glad to hear that the series get better, Li. I kept expecting the Demon King to come jumping out at some point…LOL. I am really glad I read this one and want to keep reading the series.


  2. I agree, the title is a little misleading. It was very cool to learn about the legends of the Demon King and how some of them may be untrue. Good commentary about how history gets recorded, I think. And I completely agree on Han and Amon – great characters! Raisa is amazing too, of course. Glad you liked this one, Jan!


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