The Exiled Queen is written by Cinda Williams Chima. It was published in 2010 by Hyperion. It is the second book in the Seven Realms series. My review of the first book, The Demon King, can be found here. Chima’s website can be found here.
Will contain spoilers for the Seven Realms series.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
“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 she 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’s and Raisa’s paths cross…”
“Take a message to Lord Bayar,” Han said. “Stay out of my way, or your whole family goes down.”
Fiona stared. For a moment she couldn’t seem to get any words out. Finally, she croaked, “Alister. You’re Cuffs Alister. But…you’re a wizard. That can’t be.”
“Surprise,” Han said. Standing tall in his stirrups, he gripped his amulet with one hand and extended the other His fingers twisted into a jinx as if they had a mind of their own, and magical words poured unbidden from his mouth.
The road bulged and buckled as a hedge of thorns erupted from the dirt, forming a prickled wall between Han and Dancer and the other wizards. It was chest-high on the horses in a matter of seconds.
Startled, Han ripped his hand free of the flashpiece, wiping his hand on his leggings as if he could rid it of traces of magic. His head swam, then cleared. He looked over at Dancer, who was glaring at him like he couldn’t believe his eyes and ears.
Meloncholy gripped her, as if Cuffs Alister had been stolen from her a second time. First he was dead. Now he was magical—and therefore untouchable. The ground had shifted again, and the door of possibilities between them had been shut.
What possibilities? You’d rather he was dead than a wizard?
Startled, Raisa looked up at Cuffs. He flipped her a coin, and she caught it reflexively. It was a five-penny piece.
“For your thoughts,” he said. But he didn’t smile.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
What I Liked:
So, I’m still really impressed with this series. It’s really good. I don’t even know what it is about it, but I want to read more. It’s like how I felt about Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series, but on a slightly lesser extent.
I knew it was going to be Raisa/Han. I mean, it’s really obvious, but it’s still a little intriguing since he’s a wizard and queens are forbidden to marry wizards, so it will be interesting to see how that is resolved. Honestly, at one point I was rooting for Raisa/Amon (and Han/Fiona, of all people), but that ship (both ships, really) has sunk. Now I’m totally rooting for Fiona/Gryphon, but do not ask me why.
Who is Crow? Is he even real? Is he trapped in Aediion? Will he show up again later?
Huh…I was really expecting something to happen with Dancer’s lost amulet, but I guess not. Or maybe it will come up later?
The cover art, by the way, is beautiful. I love it.
What I Didn’t Like:
They don’t even reach Oden’s Ford until almost halfway through the book. I didn’t even really get into the book until they reached Oden’s Ford, because most of the time I was thinking, “Most of this stuff could have been cut.” Seriously, half of both Raisa’s and Han’s journeys could have been left out with a little bit of maneuvering.
Micah is really, really annoying.
Sorry, Chima, but all I could think when I read your description of Aediion was Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Aediion is almost an exact copy of Tel’aran’rhiod from the Wheel of Time. Not that I’m saying Chima copied it, but still, it threw me out of the book because of how close they were.
The Exiled Queen could probably have had some material cut, because the beginning gets a little tedious with all that seemingly unimportant traveling. Luckily, it gets really good when both characters get to Oden’s Ford, and I’m enjoying reading this series. Raisa learned a lot/developed a lot in this book and I’m looking forward to seeing how she will apply the knowledge in the next books.
Coming Up Next: Mistwood by Leah Cypess