Seven Realms: The Exiled Queen

 

Han "Cuffs" Alister is a wizard. One that descends from the evil Demon King. The silver cuffs that he had worn since birth had trapped his magic. Not allowing it to break free and be used. But now, Han's magic it's free, and the Spirit Clans have a job for him to do. Travel to Odens Ford and learn magic. Then return to the Fells and be a representative for the clans to the wizards counsel. Two groups that have been in opposition for a thousand years.

Raisa ana'Marianna has fled the Fells, leaving an illegal marriage behind her. But where can she go where she won't be found our killed. Under the guidance of her long time friend and member of the Queens Guard, Amon Byrne, she travels to Odens Ford to gain a practical education.

But when she runs into Cuffs Alister, a man who kidnapped her months prior in Fellsmarch, things take a dangerous turn. Soon she and Cuffs find that things at Odens Ford are more dangerous than they seem. And staying their may be just as dangerous as leaving.

 

 

 

/*** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***\

**/** SPOILERS ARE PRESENT **\**

 

 

While more exciting than the first book in this series, The Demon King, I hesitate to call this book ‘good’. Why? Because by itself, the books is only ok. It, like the other books in the series, draws off of the story lines of the other books to transform the entire story into an excellent read. But none of the books, a possible exception could be the Crimson Crown, by themselves, are good. Just OK. Average. Nothing more.

 

Now the analysis …

 

We knew from the previous book, that Raisa and Amon Byrne had some type of former relationship, and that Raisa would like to continue or even further what they already had. But Amon is hesitant to go with Raisa with the relationship because he realizes that, as a member of the Queen’s Guard, and the future Captain of the Guard, a relationship between the two of them would not be a good thing. 

At least Amon realizes that the he and Raisa could not hold a relationship and does not try to pretend that they can. Han on the other hand is a different story. I personally didn’t think that they would make a good couple. Their personalities are too similar to each others. And when Raisa becomes queen, she is going to want as many different outlooks on situations as posisble. So I think that as a whole, keeping the two of them apart was a good idea on Chima’s part. 

 

During their journey to Oden’s Ford, Raisa’s company of Wolves travel through a land of beings known as ‘Waterwalkers’. I personally liked the idea behind them and was disappointed that they did not appear later in the series. They seemed like an interesting people, and their idea behind payment was interesting as well. I would be curious to see what Raisa does to fulfill her promise to the Waterwalkers.

 

Meanwhile, Han and Dancer are also traveling to Oden’s Ford, but by a different way. At the border of the Fells, they run into Fiona Bayar and two other wizards (I can’t remember who they were). I guess Fiona recognized Han and attempted to halt their travels. But Han all of sudden lets loose a burst a magic that grows a thorn hedge between the them. How te hell did that happen!! I assumed Han was drawing random power from the amulet, or the amulet was kind of working by itself. It turns out that I was pretty much right. Not completely but somewhat. Han did not have anything to do with the magic, it was all about the amulet. This whole series is “all about the amulet”. 

 

Along their way, the two wizards also meet Cat Tyburn, one of Han’s old Raggers and one of the people that Raisa rescued from the prison in Fellsmarch. I figured she be one of those characters that does some useful thing and disappears for a good long while before returning out of no where. I was pretty wrong in that aspect. It turns out, that Cat plays a huge role in the remaining series. I would have loved to have seen her play an even bigger role than she already dos, but the way Chima incorporated her was pretty good. Better than those fun disappearing characters that a lot of authors put in their books 

So. Oden’s Ford. The School of schools. The Great Equalizer as Amon calls it. I personally did not like how the school was presented. It seemed very war and battle driven and less standard educational. I know a lot of the people that graduate from their will probably see battle, but Chima did not need to make the whole school seem like revolved around war. What do they teach when there are no wars going on and all of the realms are at peace. Is it more war?!?! The teachers and administrators there need to find some other subjects to teach.

 

And now, a very important part of the whole series. Aediion. The dream world. Props to Cinda Williams Chima for coming up with the idea of Aediion and incorporating it so well into the series. It is possible the single most important place in the whole series. Its where all of the interesting things come to light. And where all the pertinent information is revealed. Its where we learn the true tale of Hanalea and Alger Waterlow, The Demon King.

 

I assumed that the first time Han and Dancer tried in class they wouldn’t get anywhere, but Han would later try alone and succeed in accessing the dream state. So I was fairly surprised when they succeeded on the first try. Of course, THEY, didn’t do much. Han on the other hand meets a very important character. Crow. 

 

And that leads us into the next topic. Crow. Who is he? What is he? Is he alive? Where did he learn magic? How did he find Han? And what is his feud with the Bayar’s all about? We learn little in this book about him, but he becomes highly important to Han in later books. He is his source of information and tactics. And not to mentions tricks. Got to log tricks. 

And with all of those questions being left unanswered I was beginning to expect some epic betrayal by Crow at some point. I kept looking for it throughout the series. I was like, “WHEN IS THIS BETRAYAL GOING TO TAKE PLACE?!?!?!” I was disappointed in this book, and NO, the short spurt with the Bayar’s in Aediion does not count as a betrayal.

 

But Han and Crow do have one thing in common: a hatred for the Bayar family. Now, I know that Han tried to kill Lord Bayar for burning down his house and leaving his family to die inside. And I know, Micah and Fiona are angry that Han tried to kill their father. So both sides have good recents to hate the other. But I don’t understand why the hatred turned into a battle of magical abilities at Oden’s Ford. Its obvious that Han had a more powerful amulet, but Micah had more practice with magic. Meanwhile, Han was getting schooled by Crow on more advanced wizardry than we ever see Micah perform in the series. So the two are pretty even in abilties. I guess it all comes down to ownership of that amulet. The Bayar’s want it (and will kill for it). But it is Han’s by birthright. So I guess this feud in magic turns into, Can Han Protect the Amulet better than Micah Can Try to Steal it. I liked the game. It made the book interesting. But why it turned in a battle of magical ability, I don’t know.

 

This book is also where we are we are introduced to a very important aspect of the Seven Realms: the Armory of the Gifted Kings. We learn here that their was a lin of Wizard Kings before Hanalea established the current line of Queens that ruled. We also learn they they supposedly held an unbelievable arsenal of magical objects. Enough so that the wizards no longer have to rely on the clans for amulets and magical objects. The armory sounds pretty impressive, but it turns into another point of struggle between Han an the Bayar’s. Both believe that the armory exist, and whoever finds it first will be in control of their feud. Not to mention the rest of The Fell’s. So its a pretty important thing.

 

With that, we only have a couple of more points.

 

Point one: Was it a good or bad idea for Raisa to come to Oden’s Ford. I mean, she learned plenty about battle strategies and things that will help her when she becomes Queen. But was it worth the extreme risk she placed upon herself. Oden’s Ford was the perfect place to send an assassin to kill her should anyone know about her presence their. And its not like Amon can protect her every waking second of the day. He has classes too. I think that in the end: the risks and rewards about dead equal. What she learned was just enough to counterbalance the extreme risk she took to learn it.

 

I guess that's also true for pretty much any spy. Is the information learned important enough to counterbalance the risk that was taken to obtain it. A fun though to think about. 

 

Point two: the fun love triangle. Amon-Raisa-Han. Obviously, Amon dislikes Han as a person, not being able to let go the fact that he kidnapped Raisa some months ago. Meanwhile, Han and Raisa are obviously in some amount of a relationship. I can’t tell what Han’s felling for Amon are, but I don’t think they are ‘like’ or ‘enjoy’. Probably the opposite. In my opinion, Amon needs to let go the earlier mishap. Raisa needs to reconsider the fact that she is fraternizing with the same person who kidnapped her. And Han needs to realize that courting the person he kidnapped with her body guard at the same school campus is not a good idea. So all three are at fault here. I guess that makes things even more confusing. Who caves to who? The real answer. No one caves to anyone. Amon, Raisa, and Han all remain in exactly the same shoes throughout the entire series 

And finally, the kidnapping. There goes Raisa, not being careful. She knew Micah Bayar was on the campus. And would not hesitate to take her back to the Fells should he get the chance. She also knew very well that the assassins could very easily infiltrate the school and kill her with no one knowing who she was. And sure enough. Assassins infiltrate the campus and try to kill her. Good thing Micah decided he wanted to marry her instead. Otherwise, the great Princess Heir of the Fells would be dead. And the Line of Gifted Kings would be reestablished with her sister Mellony crowning the first of them. That would have been bad.