08 October 2011

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

Cinda Williams Chima knows how to tell a good story.  Let's consider this: this is a five hundred page novel, is set in a fantasy world, and doesn't have "elves," "dwarves," or "dragons" anywhere on the cover.  And yet Chima has the outstanding ability to keep you riveted all the way with her fantastically crafted characters, clear and twisted plot and in-depth world.  If you haven't picked this series up yet, your life is not complete.  I'm just saying.
Now usually a series will start to either decline around book two or pick up the slack from book one.  Chima keeps everything consistent—actually, she ups the stakes and makes you pine after the next book before you even finish.  Raisa is still one cool chica—for a princess.  This book always reminds me of Aladdin but Princess Jasmine is seriously weak compared to Raisa.  Sure, Raisa can be a real girl sometimes, but hello, she's a princess.  She can face down the High Wizard, man.  She's impressive.

But still.  Han Alister is more like Han Solo—that selfish and emotionally distant character that is so incredibly sexy you can't stand it and you get instantly jealous of any girl he gets with.  Not that I would get jealous, of course.  I'm just, you know, saying.  (And so what, I've got a thing for knife fighters.)

And as always, Chima has you going along, giving you the benefit of the doubt about how much you really know about what's going to happen and then BAM.  Throws you for a loop!  A hundred pages in and I'm starting to get smug because hey, my assumptions have been right so far!  Well Chima won't have any of that.  She completely floored me with that plot twist.  And the ending?!  Oh snap.

I need that fourth book.  As in, right now.  As in, today.  BUT IT COMES OUT NEXT YEAR.  You know how you love an author's work so much you almost hate them because they seem to take forever to get their next book out?  For me, Cinda Williams Chima is that author.  Hyperion has The Crimson Crown set to come out sometime in 2012.  The sadists.

Book Info:
  • pages – hardcover, 528
  • published – August 30, 2011
  • publisher – Hyperion
  • genre – fantasy
  • received – Amazon
  • rating – 5/5
  • series – Seven Realms
    • The Demon King
    • The Exiled Queen
    • The Gray Wolf Throne
    • The Crimson Crown (coming 2012)