The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima continues the story of Raisa and Han as they both venture outside of their homeland and learn about magic and fighting :D. The Exiled Queen is the sequel to The Demon King and so there will be spoilers for the first book in the blurb. As long as you skip that though, you’re pretty safe since The Exiled Queen is pretty removed from the events of The Demon King. The Seven Realms series continues to have a seriously awesome strength of strong and logical female characters, and The Exiled Queen has the added bonus of a magic school!
Note: I listened to The Exiled Queen on audiobook, which strongly shapes my experiences with it.
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
Narrated by Carol Monda
(Seven Realms #2)
Published by Hyperion Books on Sept. 24th, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 586 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
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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 that 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.
Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
- Raisa might be my favorite main character ever. She is so awesomely logical and rational that she thinks up clever solutions that didn’t even occur to me and I love that! If you find yourself rolling your eyes at annoying and irrational main characters in YA, this is the series for you :D.
- The romance of this series is the very definition of slow burn, and The Exiled Queen continues to taunt us with forbidden and sweet interactions while skillfully avoiding annoying angst. Did I mention already how much I love Raisa’s insistence on thinking logically? Turns out that’s useful in romantic interactions too!
- Magic school! We got hints of the cool magic in The Demon King, but now that our characters are finally in school and learning lots of magic skills themselves, we get to find out how everything works right along with them.
- Between the journey at the beginning of The Exiled Queen and what Raisa learns in her classes, we find out a lot more about the greater world in The Exiled Queen. There are a lot of wars and tensions brewing on the continent and it is great to see that every struggle has multiple sides to it, even in a fantasy world.
- The Exiled Queen has great MCs, but it also has some really awesome secondary characters. I love Dancer of course, but I also love the two new female characters we get to know in Exiled Queen as Raisa makes actual friends for once. One of Raisa’s new friends is a non-traditional student and has a young daughter she is raising (and goes through the very real struggle of balancing her education and her family) and the other young female cadet fancies women and is in a wonderful relationship :D. How much more awesome can these secondary characters get??
- The pace of The Exiled Queen was fairly languid, with Raisa and Han both spending most of their time getting to school and then learning things. The things they learn are certainly cool, but this wasn’t a particularly action-packed book.
- Because of how spatially distant and inconsequential a lot of the events of The Exiled Queen are from Raisa and Han’s previous commitments, it ended up feeling like an interlude. Raisa is mostly just biding her time and trying to be productive while hiding out, so I struggled to feel like things were really going anywhere until the very end.
- The audiobook was generally quite enjoyable to listen to, but there are some freaking weird pauses between chapters, to the point that I frequently thought that the playback had paused itself (even when I had it at 1.25x speed!). I really don’t understand how or why that is the case, but just be prepared to wait a solid second or three between chapters when listening to the audiobook.
The Exiled Queen is a solid second book, though a little less intense than The Demon King. I’m very excited to see where things go in book three after that ending though, and I appreciate the amount of time spent on character development for both our main characters and various secondary characters. I can definitely see why this series is so beloved by fantasy fans, and highly recommend it for the awesome feminist themes alone.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.