Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: September 2010
ISBN: 1423118243
Source: Library

Exiled Queen, The (A Seven Realms Novel)

*Some spoilers for The Demon King*
After Han lost his mother and sister and discovered he was a wizard, things definitely couldn't go back to normal.  He and Dancer are making their way through treacherous war-torn lands to go to Mystwerk House to learn magic.  The Princess Raisa is also making her way secretly to Wein House in the same town, escaping a forced marriage and hoping to learn enough to help her keep her throne and eventually rule with strength and skill.  Both face enormous danger from the Micah Bayar, who is also attending Mystwerk House, and whose father has an uncanny control over Raisa's mother, the queen.  When their paths cross in Oden's Ford, the twisting stories of both will intertwine in new and life-changing ways.

Things I Liked:
This is epic high fantasy at its best.  Chima has created a rich, detailed, and deep world here with customs, prejudices, cultures, and history so complete it is like an alternate reality.  I love how intricate and complete every part of the story and the world is, even if it's only a passing reference.  The slang and language of the characters also contribute to this feeling of completeness.  I am just in awe of how much work and thought and creativity Chima has used to put this series together.  And the story that attends it is just as rich and detailed as the world.  There are twisting plots and twining stories that lead to unexpected results.  Once you get caught up in this world, you won't want to ever return to ours.  Here are some lovely parts:

He looked out over the jagged southernmost Queens toward the hidden flatlands of Arden beyond.  these were unfamiliar mountains, homes to long-dead queens with names he'd never heard.  The highest peaks poked into the clouds, cold stone unclothed by vegetation.  the lower slopes glittered with aspens haloed by autumn foliage. p 16
Houses built onto a hillside are deceiving: short one-stories at the back, and tall four-stories at the front.  They reminded Han of brightly painted fancy girls that had seen better days.  They backed into the mountainside and spread their long skirts down to the valley floor, their dirty petticoats in the gutters.  The streets were narrow and tangled and cobbled with stone - a material plentiful and cheap in the mountains. p 62
Things I Didn't Like:
I think I'm getting too used to reading shorter and faster books.  I sometimes had a hard time with the book's length.  This thing is massive, and it's a series, so there is a lot of information and detail (see above).  Occasionally, I would be annoyed that there were so many minute details and just want to read more story, but they really do contribute to the atmosphere and the world-building really well.  A daunting book, but one that epic fantasy-lovers should revel in.

Reminded me of Chima's Heir trilogy

And a bit Lord of the Rings ish in its enormous detail

s-factor: !
some, not a lot 

mrg-factor: X
mostly passing references and some kissing

v-factor: ->->
some action fighting sequences

Overall rating: ****

Are you an epic-fantasy reader or do you avoid them at all costs?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Oh good! I was just looking at The Demon King on my shelf the other day wondering who recommended it and why I'd bought it. I was afraid it was going to be badly written and unimpressive. I'm glad to hear you love it and the sequel so much. Phew! ;) Now I'm more interested in getting to it.

  2. Jenny, it is really fantastic! Hopefully you'll like it too :)


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