Publisher: Hyperion Books
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, Raise 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 Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between the clans and wizards.
This book has been on my to-read shelf for quite some time now and I've been wanting to read it after hearing some really good things about it. Well, after recently ordering the sequel and the third book in this YA fantasy series, I finally managed to read and finish the book in a matter of days, and it surely didn't disappoint me because I really, REALLY loved it!
The story is told in dual perspective and it follows mostly two of the main characters who come from very different worlds. There's mysterious and almost too confident Han, the former streetlord known as 'Cuff' with mysterious silver bracelets that he has worn for most of his life and ones that are nearly impossible to take off, and then there's the prim and proper Princess Raisa ana'Marianna, the heir to the Gray Wolf Throne. For the last three years Raisa has spent this time with her father in order gain some of her own personal freedom while she still can. Only now, she must be returned to her Queen of a mother who lives back in Fells where Raisa must make the impossible choice of marrying one of her suitors when she comes of age to then be trained in becoming the next Queen. As you can see, these two main characters we follow are from completely different paths and yet their parts to play in this particular storyline were equally as important as the other, so it's really interesting to see their sides of their own worlds and compare them between each other. Now Han and Raisa were so easily loved by me and there was so much to like about them too - even when they frustrated me at times, which in all fairness made them even more human to me. And heck, even the supporting characters such as Amon Byrne (another lovable character of mine) and the likes of Micah Bayar (a character you love to hate) were just as well-written as the main characters were. So all around I loved them all! Every single character.
When it comes to story-wise just like the characters it was so easy to be caught up with the plot and all the little surprises that snaked around each and every corner. I can't necessarily say too much without giving things away but everything in this story has a little bit of everything and it's so very involved and not to mention intense for the characters themselves. But as the story begins to pick up the pace and unwraps the many layers until everything is out in the open, it's great to finally find a book where I can say I have no idea where it will lead to, only that I'm very excited to read more from this series and from this author as well. She's just brilliant in bringing this story to life!
Overall, THE DEMON KING has that familiar vibe of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series only this one is for a much younger audience and I loved every moment of it! If you love a good old read with some action, adventure, magic and basically anything that will satisfy any sort of fantasy reader, then this book will definitely keep you up at night!