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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)You can't always run from danger...

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

 I very much enjoyed The Demon King, but not quite enough to give it a five star rating.  I was expecting about the same from The Exiled Queen, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Let's start at the beginning.  First, the cover is cooler than the first book.  That's a pretty cool ring, people, and the cover is a tad shiny and it just looks all-around nice.

This book dumped me right into the plot where the first book left off, plopping me down into the middle where I like to be: in the midst of all the betrayal, politics, loss, deceit, responsibility, basically, all of the exciting stuff.  Oh, did I mention intrigue?  If you've been hanging around my reviews for any amount of time, you should know that I love, love, love some good, deep, tangled court intrigue. 

And boy, did this book have some good intrigue.  Wow.  These characters really do have a knack for getting themselves in huge messes, don't they?  First she runs away.  Then Han's a wizard.  Then Amon reveals his little secret.  Then Han and Raisa meet.  Then Micah Bayar decides to join the party.*

Speaking of characters...I loved them.  I really did.  They all were so deep and utterly real.  There was a love triangle (SCALENE!!!!!  Hahaha.), but it didn't bore me one bit, because it actually seemed like real conflict between actual real people, not some fluffy oh-he's-so-hot-but-so-is-he-now-what-do-I-do-I'm-so-pathetic kind of thing. You know what I'm talking about.

This is one series that, so far, actually gets better as the books progress.  This book was better than the first, so hopefully the next will continue the pattern...  I've been debating whether to give this four or five stars.  It's such a tough decision, because I really feel it might deserve five, but...  Well, since it does, five stars it is.  Fantastic.  

Now I really really need to get my hands on the next book in this series.  I really want to know what happens.  Amon Byrne, I'm watching you.

*DID SOMEBODY SAY DRACO MALFOY?  Seriously, though.  I have this theory that Micah is a reincarnation of Draco or something.  And yes, I just quoted AVPM.  Deal with it.

Reviews of other Seven Realms novels:
The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)


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