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.
The Seven Realms will tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima.
I am sorry to report this book almost became one I never finished! It took me THREE tries to get into it- I kept reading the blurb and thinking "I should like this!" and then I would start back over at Chapter 1 and see if I could get further....
Finally, Spring Break is here and I had the time and focus to read past the first several chapters (which are a bit slow). I LOVED this book once I got into it. The characters were dynamic, authentic, and all connected to each other in surprising ways. The politics and history of the world are a bit complicated, and it takes a close read to pick up on everything. It made a nice challenge for me, since I read Young Adult literature and oftentimes don't have to push myself too hard to make sense of what I'm reading (at times I skim entire passages...yikes). It was dark and violent at times, and reminded me of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.
5 Stars :) I'm so glad I tried this one again.