(Seven Realms Series - Book One)
Release Date: September 2009
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy - Series
Sites: Amazon | Goodreads
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell. For as long as Han can remember, he’s worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at 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 relative freedom with her father’s family at Demonai camp – riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her--plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.
What I love so much about the start of this series is how well written it is, and how I really never got confused. Everything is played out so nicely and the world is richly done with so many characters and events intertwining with one another.
Let's start with my favorite character: Han aka Cuffs. THIS BOY y'all! *dies over the computer and swoons* Han is in retrospect a bad boy. He has a very tough exterior, and he used to be the leader of the Raggers. But Han has heart. He has so much love for his younger sister and doesn't want her ending up in that life. So he does what he has to do to help provide for his family, but trouble just seems to follow him wherever he goes. That trouble leads to a very interesting plot along with those cuffs on his wrists.
Then there is Princess Raisa who is about to approach her sixteenth name day (I love that wordage by the way). This princess heir is not your average oh let me put on my dress on and prance around cause I'm a princess type of character. Raisa is smart. She is very curious and she doesn't want to just marry some prince and sit on a throne for the rest of her life. She wants to learn. She wants to travel. She wants to swamp some more spit with boys. She has no problem speaking her mind or finding out what is really going on in Fells. That's when Han and Raisa come together.
Since I am apparently on a character kick here, I have to mention how much I adored Amon, Raisa's best child-hood friend who has now turned into a hunky solider who is all about protecting Raisa and Fells. He is quite possibly the only one who can talk some sense into this stubborn princess, but doesn't always succeed. Then there is Micah, son of a very powerful wizard. He's hot in that I-know-you're-a-bastard-and-you're- really-gonna-tick-me-off way. And he does succeed nicely into ticking me off, but he is such a great "villain" along with his father I cannot not like them. Other side characters like Dancer, Raisa's father, Willo - there are just so many great side characters that richly add to the process the book starts to take.
What really brings this whole series into a nice start is the world the author has created. There is A LOT going on in this book, and it does start off slow, but it's one of those things where you need all that information. The writing is so vivid and detailed, I couldn't get enough of it. And it has magic folks. Who doesn't enjoy some magic?!
Basically you need to read this book. You'll thank me later.