Saturday, March 2, 2013

Series Review: The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Recorded Books, Hyperion Book CH
Publication date: 2009, 2010, 2011, October 2012
Length: 15 hrs 6 min, 17 hrs 49 min, 14 hrs 59 min, 608 pages
Source: Library
For: Fun!
Series: Seven Realms, Books 1-4

I'm quite sure I can't summarize the story for all four, but the books follow the story of Raisa, Queen of the Fells as she struggles to come into her own as an independent queen and avoid becoming a pawn either to the Wizard Council or to the Clans.  Han is a street lord turned scholar and trying to make his way in the world as something more than what he was before.

Things I Liked:
Since I already reviewed the first three books in the series, I won't go into detail on each of them again (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne).  This is more an overall series and Crimson Crown review.  I listened to the first three books on audio in preparation for the last one and it was a great idea!  Especially as there are so many characters and plots going on at once that I totally forgot some things.  I am always blown away by the complicated, detailed, and enthralling world Chima created.  This world is so believable, mostly because Chima doesn't spare on details.  It totally reminds me of the full-immersion experience I have when reading Lord of the Rings.  Middle Earth is only slightly more real to me than the Seven Realms.  Not only is the fantasy just amazing, but the characters are too.  I thought about Raisa and Han and Amon when I wasn't listening or reading and then long after I finished.  I can't seem to get them out of my mind!  
I enjoyed the narration, though I was a bit skeptical at first, because Carol Monda has kind of an older woman voice.  But she does accent and feeling very well and I was immersed in the experience all the way through.

The series end did not disappoint.  It was so packed with action, adventure, depth, twists and emotion that I almost couldn't believe it.  I loved where the story went and I was really impressed that it seemed Chima was getting her characters into spots where there were no ways out.  But of course, Han can always find a way out.  Raisa continued to make hard choices, and balanced her feelings with her responsibilities very carefully.  

Things I Didn't Like:
The books are LONG, but for true fantasy-lovers, the longer the better.  Also, I did get a bit bothered by the pretty lax attitude everyone seems to have about relationships and how many different people the Raisa has relations with and thinks it doesn't matter much.  It was a bit disconcerting for a sixteen-year-old to be that way.  I had a few issues near the end of Crimson Crown where I thought things were not explained enough and then left me wondering if they happened just for convenience in the story.  Still, I'm completely blown away by this epic series and recommend it to fantasy fans looking for something totally engaging.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Crown and Court Duel by Sherwood Smith

occasionally, though most are made up in the world

mrg-factor: XX
implied, not on page

a number of violent incidents, generally not too descriptive

Overall rating: *****

Epic fantasy - love it or hate it?

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


  1. I really really like this series too. It doesn't seem to get near the blog attention I think it deserves. The first didn't do as much for me (I am not a huge fan of epic fantasy), but I enjoyed each successive book more and more.

    Also, I totally get what you mean about the lax attitude about relationships. I just kept thinking seriously? Another one?

    1. It does deserve more attention, doesn't it? And I'm glad I'm not the only one who wondered about Raisa's exploits - she sure had a lot!

  2. Generally I do not like epic fantasy in adult books but I always feel like YA can tone it down enough to still keep it interesting. I can't wait to read this series. I hope it is amazing since I just bought the first 3 books in order to get them signed at the Tucson Book Festival next week. :)

    Thanks for the great reviews!

    1. I think it's definitely got the interesting factor, but I am a fan of epic fantasy :) Wish I could get to the Tucson Book Festival! Is Chima going to be there?

  3. I love epic fantasy and I know I would love this series but I just keept putting it off - that's a lot of book to commit to! I'll get to it soon, though, because it sounds like exactly my kind of book.

    1. It definitely requires some commitment (the books are enormous), but it's worth the effort!

  4. I'm excited to get to these. I've been a little scared of epic fantasy for some reason lately but I know I'm just going to have to dig in.

    1. Doooo eeeet! I think you'll like it (and that's saying something, cause I'm not usually quite so sure you'll like something :)


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