The Demon King, the first book in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, is a fantasy novel in the world of wizards and magic. Set in the northern nation of the Fells, one of the seven realms, the book centers on three different groups forced to live in one nation. The northern wizards, wealthy and powerful in the social hierarchy, invaded the Fells thousands of years ago but require amulets to use their power. The spirit clans, the natives that had their land stolen from them, are close to nature and control the wizards by being the only ones that can make and sell amulets. Finally, the Valefolk are the people in between the wizards and clan, trying to make a living in the poverty of the capital city of Fellsmarch.
At the peak of their power, wizards ruled the entirety of the Fells. That was, until one nearly destroyed the world. That one wizard, now called the Demon King, caused a cataclysm of epic proportions, and no one had any idea what to do about it. Desperate, the wizards finally crawled to the clans for help, and they agreed, for a cost. The clans ended up putting wizards on short leashes, with an agreement called the Naeming which greatly restricted their power. A thousand years later, the country of the Fells became what it is today, in serious poverty, with all three groups constantly bickering, and still living under the laws mad a thousand years ago.
The Demon King focuses on two people living opposite lives in the Fells. Hanson Alister, a 16 year old ragpicker and gang lord in the capital city of Fellsmarch who happened to foster with the clans, lives with his life in constant threat. Whether it being fighting starvation, trying to feed his sister and mother or dodging other gangs, Han lives with every day as a battle of life and death. On the other hand, Raisa ‘ana Marianna lives the easy life as princess heir of the fells. Feasts, dances and fancy clothes, the hardest choice she’s ever had to make is which boy she liked best. Now, when Han finds an amulet that used to belong to the Demon King, and Raisa finds multiple plots against her life, their lives get turned upside down. Follow both of them on the beginning of their epic journey to stay one step ahead of their enemies, with death around every corner.
Although The Demon King doesn’t have the best writing, it really makes up for it in storytelling. Not only is the plot and work construction superb, but the multiple perspective system really makes the book much more interesting. It’s especially interesting when Han and Raisa finally meet (which I won’t spoil), seeing both the perspective of a street rusher and that of someone raised in royalty. The entire story is quite immersive with great character construction. Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel, even if it does have a little romantic tension in the later books.