Book Review: A Princess in Disguise, an Ex-Street Lord, and an Evil Wizard…Do I Need to Say More?

(Source: Wallpaper222)

Whether it’s the magic, knights, time-travel, or dragons, fantasy continues to fascinate me.

“The Demon King was the monster in every scary story. The devil you wouldn’t name for fear of calling him to you. The one that waited in the dark down a crooked street for bad children to come his way”

(Source: CindaChima)

What You Need to Know

Rating: *****

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: 14+ due to some mild language.

Length: 519 pages

This is book #1 in a tetralogy, followed by  The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, and The Crimson Crown.  A companion series is set to come out on April 5, 2016.

 What’s All The Talk About?

Ex-street lord, Han “Cuffs” Allister, has decided to turn his life around. No more stealing, no more spending time with thugs, and definitely no more fighting. Han’s focus is now on providing for his impoverished family and doing whatever it takes to make sure they don’t go hungry. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking so good and the only thing of value he owns are the silver cuffs worn around his wrist since infancy. Han knows they hold magic because he has yet to grow out of them, but the mystery surrounding the cuffs grow each year and his mother refuses to speak.

(Source: CindaChima)

When Han and his best friend, Fire Dancer, encounter three wizards setting the mountain of Hanalea ablaze, a fight takes place. One of the wizards, Micah Bayar, begins to use magic against them, and Han takes an opportunity to steal the amulet that controls his powers. Unbeknownst to Han, the amulet once belonged to the legendary Demon King, who single-handedly broke the world a thousand years ago.

Han soon finds himself on the run from The High Wizard, who will stop at nothing to see the amulet back in his hands.

Princess Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells, has decided to let go of propriety and seek some adventure. Disguising herself as a maid, she travels along the roads of Fellsmarch to witness the way her people live. Appalled at the poor living conditions, Raisa becomes determined to do good by her people and earn their loyalty.  Little does she know that her mother and the High Wizard have plans of their own for her. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, she is pressured into marrying but the three years at Demonai Camp have changed her. Living amongst her clan has taught her how to be a warrior Queen. As a hidden evil begins to creep itself into her kingdom, Raisa and Han’s world collide in a way that leaves the reader hungry for more.

What I Thought

How she created this world is beyond me, but one thing is for sure, she is one fierce writer. I’ll admit, I was a bit lost at the beginning of the novel, but as the world began to unravel, I was pulled into this story of magic, love, grief, and madness.

This story focuses on two perspectives: Han and Raisa. While they definitely seem to embody some of the cliché molds fantasy writers use for their characters fellow blogger Fantasy Faction has talked about, the story itself is extremely entertaining. More importantly, we see the characters grow from one phase to another. Raisa is a spoiled and entitled princess but she recognizes it and tries to fight it. One of the things I found most intriguing was the relationship between Raisa and her mother. Although her mother is cold and infuriating, Raisa’s love for her the Queen makes it difficult to hate her completely.

“When she was little, Raisa used to creep out from the nursery to watch her mother sleep, afraid that she would stop breathing if Raisa wasn’t there to intervene. The fact that there was something ethereal, almost other-wordly about her mother only reinforced Raisa’s fears.”

To my dismay, we don’t see much of Han and Raisa together in the story. While it is clear that their lives will intertwine at some point, it doesn’t happen until more than halfway into the novel.

“The Demon King stole Hanalea away on her wedding night. He chained her in his dungeon when she refused him. He tortured her with dark sorcery, trying to win her heart. When she resisted, he broke the world.”

The legend of the Demon King raises more questions than answers as Han tries to uncover the truth: Was he truly evil? Why were the Bayars in possession of his amulet? Who killed The Demon King? Why are they hiding the truth?

I wanted to find out more about Han and his connection with The Demon King and I wanted to know about what the amulet would do to Han.

I appreciated the fact that Chima does not compromise the depth of the novel in order to satisfy readers.

The novel ends with Han and his friend, Fire Dancer, heading off to Mystwerk House at Oden’s Ford in order to control his powers. We also see Raisa running away to Wiens House at Oden’s Ford in order to complete her warrior training under disguise.

This book has it all.


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