Cinda Williams Chima: An Author You Should Be Reading!

I am surrounded by book lovers. Seriously. Most of my friends, cost my acquaintances, ampoule and you, my followers, are book lovers. It makes me incredibly happy to be around so many people who love books because its just awesome. I am able to talk about them all day long, and I have people available whenever to recommend me books :) Fantastic.

But in all this time, all these people that I’ve met, all these book lovers in my life, and I have not met anyone who has read the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (or her Heir Chronicles as well).

cinda

And this seriously disappoints me!

Because she is an absolutely amazing author. I’ve only just discovered her books back in October of 2012, not even a year ago, but I am fully addicted to them.

About Her Books

Cinda Williams Chima writes two different series of books, The Heir Chronicles and The Seven Realms series.

url

The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir

The Enchanter Heir hits bookstores in early October :) 

I’ll talk about the Heir Chronicles first. I adore these books but not nearly as much as the Seven Realms series so I’ll talk about these first. These are a contemporary fantasy, a fantastical idea set in a world that we are familiar with. There are different classifications of people who have special gifts: wizards, sorcerers, enchanters, warriors, and soothsayers. For years, the wizards have held control over everyone else. The different wizard families, the Roses, hold a tournament, pitting different warriors against each other til the death. Enter Jack Swift, a normal every day boy in Ohio who skips his medicine one day and is suddenly super fast, super strong, and feeling better than ever. He soon learns that he is part of this society, that he has both magic and warrior skills, due to some circumstances that occurred when he was born. The Roses are looking for warriors for their tournament, and warriors are running out. Jack’s life soon becomes a danger, as he is hunted by those who would use him. Of course he is also dealing with being a normal teen boy as well, like homework and soccer and choosing between Ellen, the new girl, or Leesha, his ex-girlfriend.

The Seven Realms Series

The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Cinda’s other series, the Seven Realms series, is more pure fantasy than the Heir Chronicles. We meet two different characters. First, there is the Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir to the Fells, with her mother Marianna as queen and her sister Mellony. Her father is a trader of the Clans. Raisa is concerned about the strength and well-being of her country, and she is worried that her mother is focusing on all the wrong things. She is spending too much time with the High Wizard, and wizards are highly regulated and not to be messed with lightly. Raisa is both trying to have fun as a young princess heir, flirting with the cute boys and wearing pretty clothes, but also trying to be intelligent, and aware of her queendom and how she can be a good queen. Enter Han Alister, who is living a VERY different life than Raisa. A former crime lord, he is trying his best to find good, honest work in order to provide a decent enough life for his mother and his sister. This is proving hard to do when he steals an amulet from a young wizard and all sorts of bad things start to happen to him. Soon, Raisa and Han’s lives start to intertwine and they both begin to learn that there is more going on in the queendom than they were initially aware of.

How I Discovered These Books

In all honestly, it was all happenstance.

My boyfriend and I were…in Long Beach area for some reason. I can’t remember exactly why, but we were. And we were thinking of things to do and decided to go to Barnes and Noble because I can spend way TOO MUCH time in a bookstore (Hey, we ended up going to a record store later, where my boyfriend spent a whole ton of time). And Jon offered to buy me a book, so I took a REALLY long time to find one haha. I had to make sure that it was good.

Eventually I decided to get The Demon King. I really liked the cover, and its what caught my eye. I love that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” when it comes to people but when it comes to books, I totally judge by the cover, always. And I thought the cover was pretty badass. Then I read the book synopsis and it sounded really good and I took it home. I finished the book within the next day or two, and then preceded to bust a move between the next three of the series.

Luckily enough for me, I discovered the Seven Realms series right before the conclusion, The Crimson Crown, came out…like literally the week of release. I love it when that happens. I literally consumed this series.

Then for Christmas, my dad bought me the box set of The Heir Chronicles, which I read the week after all the holidays died down :)

Why You Should Be Reading Them!

Honestly, and I mean this in the….nicest way possible, but if you haven’t read these books and have NO plans of reading them in the future, then you’re stupid.

Yeah, I went there, I said it. You are SO stupid.

Haha.

These books are AMAZING. I literally felt completely blown away by the amazingness that is the Seven Realms series. I have been impressed by books time and time again, but these books just simply blew my mind with how amazing they are.

I mean, it has everything that I could possibly want in a book. It has adventure, and magic, and a fantasy fictional world and princesses and hot guys and romance and battles and kissing and everything. Its everything packed into four absolutely amazing books.

Reasons You Should Be Reading Cinda Williams Chima 

1. She creates a brilliant, believable fantasy world. In the Heir Chronicles, its set in our world and yet you believe in the magic, and you believe in the world created with warriors and wizards and enchanters in Ohio because she makes it so easy to believe. They weave regular lives with their fantasy lives. One minute, Jack is at soccer practice, hanging out with his friends, and the next, he is learning spells and how to wield a sword. In the Seven Realms, she creates an entirely fictional world with a queendom (yes, a country ruled by women, I love it!) And again, its absolutely believable. You believe every single bit of it, and you want to live there.

2. All of her books have these incredible characters. They’re all such strong and so well developed characters. Raisa, Jack, Ellen, Seph, Han, Jason, Madison, Micah, Fire Dancer. I love them all. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses and they have their struggles and they fight so hard to overcome them. I love that, even when characters are so different, personality wise or in the circumstances of their lives, and yet they have such similar problems, and can relate to one another. Raisa is a princess, terrified of ruling her queendom as a good queen, of taking her place in her realm, while Han, a former streetlord, is struggling to leave his past behind and step into a more responsible, adult role. So different and yet SO insanely similar. All of these characters are ones that I become attached to, that I wish were my friends, or my family, my lovers, my brothers and sisters. They are such REAL, raw characters. And not only does she have these kickass, strong female characters but she has these super awesome male characters as well. I love me some awesome females, but let’s not forget about the guys too.

3. There is SO much fun going on. There’s so much action in these books, whether through traditional fighting styles, with swords and daggers and all that, or with magical powers. I mean, who doesn’t like sword fights and magic? Crazy people, that’s who. Its a wild ride from start to finish in both of her series, and you find yourself pushing yourself through one more chapter, one more chapter, one more chapter because you’re just dying to find out what happens next. She doesn’t mess around; she puts her characters in danger, she makes you believe that things are going to go wrong, that things won’t end up the way they should, and then she does just that. She takes these teenagers and puts them in these impossible situations with heavy burdens on their shoulders and you’re just glued to the pages as you watch them go through their journey. You’re just addicted to it the entire time. I was dying for that fourth Seven Realms book to find out what happened to Raisa and Han and the rest of the Fells.

4. There are some HOT guys in these books. I love me some crush-worthy fictional characters. You know its a good book when it doesn’t take long for me to fall in love with the characters, not just as characters but as boys that you just wish existed in real life. Like, I have a HUGE ginormous crush on Han Alister from the Seven Realms series. He’s a bad boy, a former crime lord turned wizard who is just so sexy, and captures my heart in approximately three chapters. He’s so snarky and charming and smart and he’ll do pretty much anything to make the absolutely impossible relationship between him and Raisa work. Sigh. I also have a major crush on Seph McCauley from The Heir Chronicles. Ditto on the snarky, sexiness.

5. She’s a seriously talented writer. You could have all the things above but just fail miserably because you’re just a terrible writer, and believe me, I’ve seen this happen! Its like so close, almost there, but no trophy. But Cinda Williams Chima captures all of the above in a beautiful writing style. And the best part is that…she has a beautiful writing style, and tells an amazing story but she doesn’t feel the need to make her language more sophisticated than it needs to be. She writes for the audience, and weaves a beautiful story that you can’t help but fall right into. She reminded me SO much of Tamora Pierce, and because of that, she soon became one of my absolute favorite authors. I also learned just recently that she is a huge influence for Leigh Bardugo as well, and I can see why. All three of these ladies are power forces in the fantasy genre.

6. No love triangles. Need I say more? There’s enough romance to keep me swooning but it doesn’t deter from the story. I love romance and kissing and butterflies in my stomach and shipping different characters and all that, but I love when this is happening for a reason, or it is part of the story. I hate romance just for the sake of romance. I don’t judge those who read pure romance books, or those paranormal romances that focus more on the romance than then paranormal, but it’s not for me. This book has SERIOUSLY steamy scenes one minute and then epic battles the next. Perfectly balanced :)

What Are You Still Doing Here?

Seriously? There are about a hundred more reasons why you should be reading these books. If I haven’t gotten you convinced by now…well I just don’t know what to do with you, except maybe hit you in the face with a wet fish a couple times.

But thats a bit cruel isn’t it?

I’m serious though! Get out there, read these books! You’ll be missing out SO MUCH if you never pick up one of these books; you’ll be missing out on a serious gem in the YA fantasy genre.

So please, check out her books, folks. You’re here on WhatANerdGirlSays, which means that you enjoy what I write, and you probably enjoy the books that I read as well…so trust me, when I say you will be crazy to not pick these up.

And check out an exclusive interview with Cinda coming TOMORROW!

Book of the Week: The Demon King

You know, treat I’ve always known that I love books. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved books. I’ve been receiving books as presents from family and friends for as long as I can remember. I seriously would rather get a book or a gift certificate for books than anything else. I’ve always known.

Just recently I started going through my books and I realized just as much I really do own. Its insane!

And that’s just a sampling of all the books that I own. So I told myself, since I have a tiny room and there isn’t a whole lot of room in my house to begin with, I would cut back on buying books.

Yeah, I think that lasted about a couple days…

I LOVE BOOKS.

I recently bought a book and finished it fairly quickly, because I enjoyed it so much so it is this week’s Book of the Week.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima 

The Demon King is the first book in the Seven Realms series. It is followed by The Exiled Queen (which I’m currently reading and am about 150 pages in), The Gray Wolf Throne and the Crimson Crown. I am excited that I still have two books after this one because this was an awesome find!

The novel follows two different plotlines. First you meet Han Alister. He’s sixteen years old and a former streetlord to the gang Raggers in the outskirt towns of Fellsmarch. He is trying to reform himself in order to provide a good life for himself and his mother and younger sister, Mari. That is, until he runs into a young wizard named Micah and steals his very powerful amulet from him. As soon as he takes this amulet, it seems bad luck is following him and soon he is accused of murder. Han is determined to figure out who is murdering people in his town in order to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa is reaching her sixteenth name day, the day where she will now be eligible for marriage. While she enjoyings courting and flirtations and enjoys kissing Micah Bayar, son of the kingdom’s High Wizard, and Amon Byrne, a corporal in the Queen’s Guard and her longtime friend, she isn’t ready for marriage. She wants adventures and she wants to travel and to get to know her queendom better. However, it seems that her mother has other plans for her and mysterious things continue to happen to Raisa. Soon, she starts to suspect something fishy is going on and perhaps her mother’s relationship to the High Wizard, Gavan, is more than it seems.

Han and Raisa are hundreds of miles apart and their stories start to intertwine and unfold something mysterious going on in their queendom. Though they meet once, the novel ends with them apart from each other and leaves you dying for the next book. ( I went out to Barnes and Noble last night right before they closed because I HAD to have the next book).

The Good or the Bad:

 THERE’S NO LOVE TRIANGLE!

I mean, not really. And that alone is enough to give me reason to LOVE this book.

The fact is, this is a fantastic fantasy novel that focuses on the fantasy and the politics and mysteries of the queendom and yet has a balance of steamy scenes that keep me satisfied but doesn’t make me gag. (The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices are the only stories where the love story doesn’t make me gag).

Han and Raisa are both sixteen and of course they have romantic feelings and romantic adventures. Han has an relationship with Digging Bird, of the clans. (Raisa herself is half-clan, her mother’s consort and her father is Averill, high trader of the clans). Raisa flirts and kisses Micah and Amon. But there isn’t any crazy declarations of love or mushiness. Its kind of that typical fun that you have when you’re a teenager and you want to kiss everyone in sight.

But besides that, its a damn good story. At first, I’m confused, not quite sure whats going on but soon, you realize why you’re confused. Something is going on in this queendom and you realize that some of the mysteries that are happening Han’s world have a lot to do with the mysteries unraveling in Raisa’s world. You realize that they’re going to be connected in ways that they don’t even know, especially since the one time they meet, they don’t really get the chance to know each other. Raisa meets Hans as Cuffs Alister, the streetlord, and Hans meets Raisa in disguise as Rebecca Morley, a lower noble girl.

Raisa is a fantastic character. She has this love for her queendom and for the position she is in. She does not shy from it at all. She knows that one day she must marry and that when she marries, it must be for the good of her people and for her line. Even though she likes flirting and kissing Micah and Amon, she knows she cannot marry them because they are a wizard and soldier, respectively, and it is not allowed. She feels a great duty to her royal blood. She wants to get out and have adventures and see the world because she wants to be aware of the world and she wants to know her people and her lands to be a better queen. Its fantastic. When she goes in disguise, she really sees how people are treated in her outlying towns and she is horrified. People are starving, poor and uneducated and so she starts up a ministry in order to help them. She genuinely wants to be a good queen and her mother, Queen Marianna, isn’t often interested.

Han, on the other hand, is a typical teenager. He’s trying to figure things out and he’s struggling. He used to be a streetlord, a good one, so good that there are legends and whispered rumors about how amazing he was. Now that he’s quit the streets, he’s poor as hell and trying to provide for his mother and sister and failing. He has silver cuffs on his arms that he has never been able to get off, and he wishes he could because he could sell them and make some money. He has no place he belongs. He is friends with the local clan, where his best friend, Fire Dancer, lives and his sometimes-girlfriend, Digging Bird, lives. There he is Hunts Alone, but he still doesn’t feel like he belongs. Then he steals that amulet from Micah Bayar and things get complicated. Then he has his true heritage revealed and he has a destiny to fulfill and his life gets even more complicated.

The story leaves off with Han fleeing to his destiny and Raisa fleeing from her mother and the High Wizard and you know that their paths are going to cross and that there is some major stuff going down. You literally have this absolute NEED to read the next book, to figure out what is going to happen next. I definitely recommend this book. The characters are strong, the story is addicting and with it being a series, you definitely will be occupied for awhile. I literally cannot think of one bad thing about this book; I loved it.

Cinda Williams Chima has done what a lot of authors cannot seem to do anymore: writing a young adult fantasy that doesn’t need the world “romance” in the genre title. Most young adult novels of late are classified under “paranormal romance” and “fantasy romance” and its sad because so much of them are just horrible. Chima brings a genuinely good fantasy to the young adult genre. I applaud this book over and over again. I’m sad that I havent’ heard of this before (The Demon King was published back in 2009) and that more people are not reading this. I’m proud to write about it for this blog to hopefully get it out there so people read it.

So definitely pick it up, check it out. It is a book made for both boys and girls and its brilliant. As always, if you click the title above, it’ll take you to the Amazon page :D Its fairly inexpensive too!

See you next week for the Book of the Week and hopefully you check this out!

*      *      *     *     *