The Demon King is next big read

Jahlia Finney, The Eagle Staff Columnist

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The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima was a book that I honestly would have never picked up at the bookstore had it not been for the book club choosing it. The cover is ridiculously simple. It depicts an antiquated amulet with an ominous background. I wasn’t impressed by the simplicity or the summary, which didn’t draw me in. Of course, I should’ve remembered the golden rule of book covers. Besides these setbacks, the book was phenomenal.

The Demon King is one of the best fantasy books I have read in a long time. It is a story about two characters from different families and very different lives: Han “Hunts Alone” Alister and Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir to the Fells. The story begins with Han and his friend Dancer in the forest when they discover a group of wizards burning the hill of Hanalea. When confronted they flee and unknowingly leave behind an amulet that fell from the leader. Han doesn’t realize that keeping the amulet will turn his life upside-down. Meanwhile, Raisa becomes confined to the castle after three years living with her father in the Demonai camp. She desperately wants to know what is happening in the Queendom and the goings on of a war with the south that is steadily growing bloodier. When her childhood friend, Amon, returns from training, she’s eager to become reacquainted. Soon she becomes aware that her life is not as nice as it should be, and that her enemies are far closer than she had expected.

The characters are colorful, three-dimensional, and bleed out of the pages. The first protagonist, Han Alister, is brave, intelligent, and awkward in social situations. However, these positive characteristics hide his one major temptation towards crime. The story begins with Han and his life in a poor and dangerous society where he is leader of an infamous street gang. Growing up with little money, being the head of a pack was the only way to support his mother and sister, Mari. His sister was what made him give it up, knowing that he was putting her in danger as well as himself if he continued. However, that doesn’t stop him from being a suspect of various crimes including murder.

The second protagonist, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna is from a much richer social class and suffers from the all-too-common problem of feeling caged in. She doesn’t need to be monitored throughout the day or be given petty rules, which she must follow even though they peeve her. The only way for her to rebel is by having a secret relationship with a royal wizard, Micah Bayar. As I read I found her to be manipulative, smart but naïve, fierce, strong-willed, and determined to do what’s right. She continues to fight and take action and bend things in her favor.

Two characters from all-too-different worlds meet in this amazing novel full of betrayal, drama, adventure, suspense, and magic. I recommend this to those who love fantasy and action.

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