|Picture source: Goodreads|
Title: The Exiled Queen
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Series: The Seven Realms Series #2
Published: 2010 by HarperCollins
Where I got the book from: the library
To read the synopsis - it has spoilers for book one - visit Goodreads.
The Exiled Queen follows the characters and the story from The Demon King smoothly. Naturally I was eager to see how Raisa, Han and Dancer managed on their way to and at Oden’s Ford, and hoped for more magic and mayhem to ensue. In that aspect I was not disappointed – the subplots of The Exiled Queen were various and yet linked together well, and both Raisa’s and Han’s stories kept me turning the pages.
However, I didn’t find the big picture of the plot, so to speak, very clear. Once at Oden’s Ford, Raisa and Han basically lived a boarding school-ish life (which is always fun, I don’t deny that), and more than once I thought that Micah Bayar and his friends were very much like Draco Malfoy with his cronies. Han gets tangled in a curious world and finds himself pledged to perhaps too many masters with dubious aims. Raisa, on the other hand, develops into a convincing speaker, though she even more uncertain where things stand between her and Amon Byrne, her commander. Despite all the happenings, I finished the book feeling like there wasn’t a proper story in it, as in there wasn’t one large plotline the subplots attached to and complemented. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book – I did, very much. Dancer was more fleshed out, like I had hoped, and there was a lot of excitement and plot twists. I did guess one of these twists very early on, though it still came unexpectedly along. The romance was great and left things hanging for the final book which I wait to read in anticipation. I only hope things work out in a satisfying way for Raisa, Han, Amon and Dancer. The fact that there is a love triangle of sorts didn’t bother me in the least, because it was executed very believably and there’s a chance it won’t work either way, which is intriguing.
I have to say that one of my favourite supporting characters is Cat. Her name is annoying because Cat is really not that original, but then again, it suits her fierce and independent nature perfectly. I love her unyielding street accent and tough shell and the changes she goes through, slowly letting go of her guilt. Though she has her flaws, she is unbelievably loyal and her passion for music shows that she has her softer parts.
There is one character that I genuinely hate, and that’s Crow. I won’t say much because that might spoil the book for those who haven’t read it, but he is frustratingly enigmatic, power-hungry and the one person I trust the least. I really want to figure out his motive because he has so many secrets and he might play a key part in the third book.
Again, I loved Chima’s way to tell the story – simple, concise but accurately descriptive. Within the genre of high fantasy, there seems to be a tendency to write from third-person narrative, and while I generally prefer first-person, the narration in the Seven Realms Series is very likeable. Though I wasn’t as close to the characters’ immediate thoughts and feelings as I am in first-person, I felt that I really knew who Raisa and Han were and connected with their feelings.
I liked The Exiled Queen very much although I think the plot could have had a clearer purpose. The romance and the intrigue were portrayed well, and enough questions were left unanswered to leave me waiting in anticipation to begin the third book. All in all, The Exiled Queen was a well-written sequel to The Demon King and interesting because of the different setting and development of characters.
4/5 An exciting fantasy novel!
See my review for The Demon King, book one in the Seven Realms Series, here.
Similar books: The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan (Black Magician Trilogy #1)