From the Demon King: 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 nev been able to get them off.
One day Han and host clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to sacred mountain Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him form using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has some evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece at a stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa 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 more 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.
WARNING: Spoilers are ahead!
Extended Summary: During his encounter with the three wizards, Han told them that his name was Shiv, and he order Micah to leave the amulet behind. Micah complies and leaves. After Han and Dancer arrive back at Marisa Pine Camp, Digging Bird, Dancer's cousin, told Han that she was considering becoming a Demonai as her vocation. He showed his approval of her choice, gets a kiss, and is left alone.
While Raisa is out hunting with her mother, Queen Marianna and others, they run into a "wild fire." Gavan Bayar, the High Wizard, Micah, Miphis, and Arkeda lead the group to safety and are pronounced heroes that the feast that evening. Unknown to most, the latter three were the one's who set the fire off in the first place and were not able to put it out due to the loss of the amulet. Amon Bryne, Captain Bryne's son, arrived back from Oden's Ford after three years and is assigned on a temporary assignment to the Queen's Guard. Raisa left the dining room and told Amon to meet her in the garden.
On his way toward Vale, Han visited Lucius Frowsley, a blind man. Han gave Lucius the amulet, and he identified it as the amulet of the Waterlows. Lucius told Han the story of the Waterlows and how Hanalea, a famous warrior queen, ran away with Alger, wizard heir to the Waterlow house, and got married. The council was unhappy with Alger's actions and killed him. Unfortunately, his death released a destructive power that led to the Breaking. Hanalea had to negotiate with the clans to heal the world. The clans obliged, but, in return, the Naeming was created. Wizards were forbidden from marrying the queens to avoid wizards from obtaining too much power and were not allowed to enter the Spirits. Han soon realized that the story was a different version of the story of the Demon King, who is actually Alger. In the story of the Demon King, Alger was the bad guy; he captured Hanalea and tried to make her love him by using dark magic. Because he had heard the latter version all his life, Han had a hard time believing Lucius's.
Raisa met with Amon in the glass garden with Magret, her nurse, in tow. Margret fell asleep on a bench, and Raisa took the opportunity to show him a secret passage to her room. As they walk through the tunnel, Amon expressed his concern of her safety and order her to board it up. While exiting her room, they run into a drunk Micah. Micah was suspicious about why Amon was in her room, but was escorted away before he could question Raisa.
Han spoke to Matieu, the owner of The Keg and Crown, who told him that six Southies were killed the other night. Many suspected that Han was the murderer because of his former reputation of being street lord of the Raggers. Gillen, a member of the Guard, injured and captured Han. However, Han was able to make his escape via river.
After having a disturbing conversation about last nights events with her mother, Raisa fleed to the roof of the glass house. Elena found her there and gave her the Running Wolves ring, which once belong to Hanalea, on a chain. She said that it would protect her from wizard charms and to wear it, which Raisa does. Amon and Raisa met up again, and Raisa composed a plan to see how the public acted when royalty isn't around. Amon reluctantly agreed, but insisted that she went under protection.
Han made his way to Southbridge Temple where Speaker Jemson was. Jemson fetched Willo, who had been visiting Fellsmarch, and had her tend to his wounds. Before Han fell asleep, he thought he saw Dancer run into his room in flames. When he awakes, Willo and Dancer had left, but left him some red-brown hair dye to make him less recognizable as the street lord of the Raggers.
Raisa stole clothes from the palace laundry and renames herself temporarily as Rebecca Morley. Under the protection of Amon and the Cadets in his triple, (who are also known as the Gray Wolves and were informed that "Rebecca" is Amon's sister), Raisa got to view a much dirtier was of life. She arrived at Southbridge Temple where she ran into her father and, later, Han. Amon recognized Han as the boy who escaped Gillen's capture, and, to protect himself, Han took Raisa captive. He locked the others into the temple and brought Raisa into his "secret hideout." The next morning, Raisa tried to sneak away, but the Raggers cornered her. Han had followed her and came to the rescue. He learned from Cat, the new street lord of the Raggers, that some of the Raggers were captured by the Guard in hopes that they would tell them where Han was. Han promised that he would help spring them from the prison before he left with Raisa.
Meanwhile, Amon explained to his dad about what had happened. Captain Byrne insisted that word of her capture must not get out and made Raisa's father tell the queen that Raisa was spending some time at the Demonai Camp for a pre-naming ceremony. Then, Amon heared a commotion in the guard house where he found Raisa and the prisoners holding an unconscious Gillen captive down in the prison. Raisa had decided to help the Raggers escape, thus the reason why she was in the guard house in the first place. Amon helped her finish the deed by releasing the prisoners in an allyway out of sight of the rest of the Guard.
Because the Guard continued to look for him, Han decided to fake his death and hide away in Maria Pine Camp. On the way, he ran into three monsters who claim that they were looking for a person name Shiv. When they try to harm him with magic, the magic is sucked away into Han's silver cuffs, and Han is able to make his escape. On the name day celebration for those born in the summer, Digging Bird is apprenticed to the Demonai warriror, and it is discovered that Dancer is actually part wizard. He is to be sent to Oden's Ford to be trained and be used on the clan's behalf.
Raisa's father visited her in her room to tell her that he and Captain Byrne were going to Chalk Cliffs under the Queen's orders. He promised to be back in time for her name day celebration and left. Later on, Captain Byrne spoke to Amon about becoming Captain of the Guard, a role that only Byrnes have had since Hanalea's time, and he informed him that Amon had been selected to be the next. He warned Amon that there would be a bond that formed between him and the princess heir, one that could not be undone. Nevertheless, Amon accepted the position and went through the ceremony to become captain.
Han returned home to find that Mari had caught the fever that many caught in the summer time. He thought that it was because of the bad luck that he had been getting from the amulet and went to Taz Mackney, a vendor of exotic items, to see if he could find a person interested in the amulet. While this is happening, Raisa was at her name day celebration without her dad, who still had not returned from his trip. Micah approached her and told her that the Queen requested her audience. Raisa went into her mother's room to find Lord Bayar, Fiona, and her mother. Her mother informed her that she was to be married at that moment to Micah, despite the fact that their marriage would be forbidden. Certain the Lord Bayar had a hand in this decision, Raisa became frantic and tried to convince her mother to postpone the marriage until her father returned. Micah tried to cast a spell on Raisa to calm her, but the magic got sucked up by the ring she got from Elena. She pretended to be in a trance and was able to convince her mother to let her get her rose necklace from her chambers.
Once in her own chambers, she told Magret of her situation. Magret revealed that she was a member of Hanalea's Maidens, an organization of woman dedicated to the warrior queen's memory. Magret helped her make her escape to Amon, who was posted guard on the other end of Raisa's secret tunnel. They go to the stables where they find their fathers returning from their trip. Together, the form a plan to help Raisa escape to Oden's Ford with Amon and the Gray Wolves.
A few days later, Han returned to Taz to see if he found a buyer for the amulet. Taz did, but it was the High Wizard himself. Taz is killed and Han barley escaped. He rushed home, only to find it in flames. The Guard had set it on fire after searching for the amulet. After the fire is out, he found his mother's and sister's body, burnt to a crisp. He took his mother's locket, his sister's books, and the amulet to Marisa Pine with him. Willo, Elena, Lucius, Averill, and Dancer meet with him and reveal that Han is a desendant of the Demon King. The cuffs had been put on by Elena herself to take in his magic. He had a choice; either leave them on and train with Willo or remove the cuffs and go with Dancer to Oden's Ford to become a wizard on the clan's behalf. He chose the latter, and Elena broke the cuffs off of his wrists, making Han flame up in magic.
In the end, both of the protagonists leave Fells, away from the life they knew, and into a new one.
Book Rating: ★★★★☆
You just have to love Cinda Chima's writing style. There is just enough detail for the reader to be able to picture the scene, yet not an overwhelming amount that can bore many. However, at times, I felt that this book was just an introduction for the story to come; an appetizer for the main course. Readers should be aware that there are multiple books in the series, so plan on reading more than The Demon King. If I had the correct symbols, I would actually rate this book four and three-fourth stars. I would recommend this book to those ages 12+.
In order of appearance:
- Han Alister: also known as Cuffs Alister and Hunts Alone. 16 years old and a former streetlord of the Raggers. His sister is Mari and is a descendant from the Demon King, Alger Waterlow
- Fire Dancer: Han's friend and Willo's son. He lives at Marisa Pines Camp and is part wizard.
- Micah Bayar: Son of the High Wizard
- Miphis Mander: Micah's cousin
- Arkeda Mander: Micah's cousin
- Raisa ana'Marianna: princess heir, almost 16 years old. Also goes by Rebecca Morley
- Queen Marianna: mother of Raisa, current Queen, married to Averill Lightfoot Demonai
- Lord Gavan Bayar: Micah's father, High Wizard
- Mellony: Raisa's sister
- Captain Edon Byrne: Captain of the Queen's Guard and father of Amon
- Digging Bird: Dancer's cousin
- Willow: Dancer's mom, Matriarch of Marisa Pines
- Magret Gray: Raisa's nurse, member of Hanalea's Maidens
- Elena Demonai: Matriarch of Demonai Camp, Raisa's grandma
- Wil Mathis: 18 years old, wizard heir to Fortress Rock
- Adam Gryphon: in a wheelchair, heir to powerful wizard house
- Jon Hakkam: Raisa's cousin, Melissa's brother
- Melissa Hakkam: Raisa's cousin, Jon's sister
- Kip Klemath: brother of Keith
- Keith Klemath: brother of Kip
- Fiona: sister of Micah
- Amon Byrne: Byrne's oldest son
- Harriman Vega: wizard and court physician
- Lucius Frowsley: lives in a cabin by Old Woman Creek, blind, and has a dog named Dog
- Matieu: tavern keeper
- Shiv: leader of the Southies
- Mari: Han's sister
- Mum: Han's mom
- Jemson: Han's old teacher
- Mac Gillen: a strongly disliked member of the Guard
- Dori: a "white-robed" dedicate
- Mandy Bulkleign: Mistress of the Kitchen
- Hallie Talbot: one of the Gray Wolves
- Garret: one of the Gray Wolves
- Mick: one of the Gray Wolves
- Keifer: one of the Gray Wolves
- Talia: one of the Gray Wolves
- Wode: one of the Gray Wolves
- Averill Lightfoot: Raisa's dad
- Cat: one of the Raggers, currently the street lord
- Velvet: one of the Raggers
- Jonas: one of the Raggers
- Flinn: one of the Raggers that was captured
- Jed: one of the Raggers that was captured
- Sarie: one of the Raggers captured by the Guard
- Lady Amalie Heresford: Thanelee of Heresford in Arden
- Marina Tomlin: Princess of Tamron
- Liam Tomlin: Prince of Tamron
- Iron Hammer: a blacksmith
- Laurel Blossom/Flame Shapper: Hammer's new apprentice
- Oak Weaver: new apprentice after the naming ceremony at Marisa Pines
- Tale Spinner: See "Oak Weaver"
- Silver Bird: See "Oak Weaver"
- Reid Nightwalker: Demonai warrior
- Shilo: Demonai warrior
- Prince Gerard Montaigne: Appears at Raisa's name day celebration and is one of her suitors
- Taz Mackney: A prosperous vendor of exotic items. He is killed by Gavan Bayar.
For more details, visit the Cinda Williams Chima website.