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The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

The Gray Wolf Throne (edition 2012)

by Cinda Williams Chima

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3912927,416 (4.34)19
Title:The Gray Wolf Throne
Authors:Cinda Williams Chima
Collections:Your library
Tags:teen fiction, fantasy, wizards, high fantasy, magic, healing, romance, royalty

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The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima



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Things just keep getting more epic. It’s funny how this book covers the shortest span of time but the most stuff happens. In The Gray Wolf Throne, Raisa levels up to a new degree of bossness. Han gets to use all his fancy blueblood training. And, oh yeah, shit goes down.

Perhaps because of the accelerated time frame, The Gray Wolf Throne goes really fast. The pace just rockets, despite the book being long. It feels like hurtling toward an ending that could be roses and could be a brick wall against which our cast will smash and die. Personally, I’m hoping only a few of them die, but Chima does seem to enjoy character death, so it’s really hard to say.

One thing I find really interesting about Chima is how she does the deaths. She’s resisted a lot of death tropes common to fantasy fiction. Generally, I’m used to being able to assume that if a remotely important character dies off screen, they’re totally going to be alive through some complicated series of events. Unless someone confirms that a character is dead, they’re not going to be dead. Not so with Chima. She’s done the bulk of her killing off screen, which makes it even more shocking when it goes down.

Basically, Chima resists death fake outs, which is really awesome, since I don’t like that trope in most cases. Early on, both Han and Raisa are in serious danger of dying. She could easily have done a fakeout with a POV swap (it’s third person, so why not, right?), but she didn’t. And, you know what? I was still concerned for them. You don’t have to try to fool me into thinking they’re dead to make me worry that they might die. Besides, even if they survive that, which, I mean, they probably would anyway, since there’s another book left and only a few authors kill the MCs before the end of the series, there’s still a fuckton of danger ahead of them.

Never have political maneuverings been more fascinating than in The Gray Wolf Throne. Raisa has to come back to her queendom and become the queen. Obviously, she’s going to be the best at it, but there are wars outside the queendom and tensions inside. The list of people she can trust is short, and people keep trying to kill her. Also, for all that I thought Gavan Bayar was a giant dickface, he’s got nothing on Gerard Montaigne, who makes my skin crawl.

Raisa has always been a strong heroine, in pretty much every possible definition of the word. That doesn’t mean she’s the strongest person physically or that she doesn’t cry. She’s not, and she does. Raisa’s biggest strength is that she loves hard work. Not only will she do it, but she enjoys it, a barb her sister throws at her. In The Gray Wolf Throne, she really reaches new heights of badassery. Her training at Oden’s Ford has made her stronger physically and given her an adeptness with weapons. Though she does get saved a lot by others, it’s not because she’s a damsel in distress; it’s because there are so many people trying to bring her down. Good luck, guys. Raisa doesn’t go down without one hell of a fight.

The Han/Raisa romance is giving so many feels. They break my heart with all the things keeping them apart. The fact that they can’t fight their feelings only makes them that much more shippable. On top of that, both of them are so practical and wise, always putting their heads over their hearts, which I admire even as it stabs my shippy heart. The other ships continue to be…there. I like Cat and Dancer sort of in theory, but I also never get to see them be TOGETHER really so I have no idea what their private dynamic is. Then there’s what happens to the only actual instance of LGBT+ romance in the series thus far: Yeah, Talia didn’t die, but I’m still pissed that of all the couples to almost break in half by death, the lesbian one? No. Do not approve.

Just when I’m feeling pretty hopeful, Chima hits me with that ending. GAH. Must read final book now. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Feb 17, 2015 |
This is the third book in the series and it is so far the best. Each book I read gets better and better, I am already eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I will say though that the first few chapters I had to push myself to get through but then it got enthralling and I couldn't let it go.
I love how Ms. Chima allows her characters to be teenagers, even if the weight of the world is on them. They are all hormones and attitude and even these ones are aflutter with both. I love the sensuality she instills in her work and her characters as well. I am a grown women and I want Han all to myself.
We see the downfall of a couple of key characters and we also get to see some chess pieces move on the board.I enjoyed learning some interesting facts about some of my old friends and growing to loathe the ones I hate even more than I already did. That is the key thing about these books, you will make friends and enemies and you need to keep them straight because it's your head that's going to explode later if you mess it up and fall in love with one of them. Ms. Chima draws these emotions out of the reader and then you are stuck her world. Be careful but definitely read this series! ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Raisa is growing up and growing into her position. I really like how we see this change as the books progress. In this one, it feels like she is less a spoiled child and more aware of the difficult decisions and situations one faces in the adult world. She is learning to juggle conflicting priorities and opinions to form her own.

That said, this book felt unsettled, unfinished somewhat. It's obvious another book is coming and that always bothers me. I feel each book should be able to stand on its own, yet this one would be quite lost without the book before it and presumably, the one forthcoming.

However, this was still an enjoyable read and for those interested in this series, it will satisfy. ( )
  HunyBadger | Sep 8, 2014 |
Really loving this series...which for once did not end in a cliffhanger! Many secrets are revealed in this installment, as Han finally discovers Raisa's identity and they both must struggle with the consequences of their relationship. Raisa also learns of her mother's death and must craft a plan to hold her throne from the people who would take it from her. Fun reading! Can't wait to dig into the next one! ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jun 12, 2014 |
First word of caution:
This is not really a YA novel...

Finally now I can wait for the final book... sigh. It was tiring..... it's like playing non-stop Skyrim through all those quest stuff.

Why Skyrim? hell, I could totally get the whole idea of Nordic rivalry... its like stormcloak vs empire vs tholmar..... haha... there's a dragon 'sesat' in the middle of the story anyway.

Okay. The book is long... honestly, the rest bellow is actually small midget part of the story... Its too confusing infact you can totally skip the rest of the summary if you want to...

*Ian Somerhalder voice over* Previously on The Exiled Queen: *insert Skyrim ost the part when Dragon usually pop up in the sky*

Princess-in-hiding Raisa, who goes under the name of Rebecca, was spending one year in the military school and have a brief tryst with former-streetlord/murderer-suddenly turn wizard, Han Alister, as his etiquette tutor (because Han thought Rebecca work as a tutor with the Bayars... yada2 long story...)

So, Micah Bayar found out Raisa was hiding under his nose all along and kidnapped her during an assassination attempt that was arranged by Lord Bayar, Micah's dad, who wanted her dead so that he can raise a 13 yo kid to be a queen and dominate the entire queendom. Ok, why Micah save her? He still smitten with Raisa and want to go against his family.

So, love-struck Han was confused with why his sworn enemy Malfoy Micah would want to kidnap his girlfriend 'kekasih gelap' (for lack of word on how complex their relationship is) and thought that the whole deal she got kidnapped was just a revenge attempt on him and so Raisa's bodyguard Amon split up with Han to trace where Micah kidnap her. Then while being kidnapped by the gang of wizard, the Bayars fell into a trap and was captured by one rival prince and his army in an enemy soil, Raisa use this as a diversion and escaped. Instead of going back to the school down south, she decided that its time to go back home for her mother. Fuh...

Okay, the book started with Raisa disguising herself as a travelling trader in a tavern and was nearly hired by two ladies who need company to pass through the border. Coincidently, the Queen of Guard aka Captain Byrne aka Amon Byrne's dad, to the rescue and it turns out the ladies isn't ladies at all and instead those two were woman shinobi/ninja. jeez.... and then while the Queen's guard escorting the princess to Demonai camp, they were ambushed; all of them died save the princess who was dragged to be kill and torture by a psychopath who Raisa had melted his eye in the first book, Demon King. Raisa escaped because of Han's advice on knifing people still in her head and she ran away with a horse but then more assassins came at her with ratio 6 to one. Han on the other hand, had follow the trail straight to the dead bodies of the queen's guard and encountered Amon's dad's dead body and did some last rites over him in respect.

Then he found someone chasing after a girl with all cloaks and daggers and he think its unfair for people to bully a person like that, he arrowed all of them in the eye (which would have made the Windrun's "arrow in the knee" joke as second rate.) So, when he wanted to help the girl, he found instead, his sweetheart dying from a poisoned arrow. Ignoring his amulet's voice (Crow) to let the girl die, he end up using his power to transfer the poison into his body until they reached Demonai camp where his foster mam slash Dancer's mom, Willo, were able to save them. Raisa survived the wound in little side effect (like confusing the senses, hot water seems ice cold. Every sensation is like putting your skin against sandpaper etc) but Han was battling through the worst after effects of the poison. Later Han wake up and profess his love to Rebecca/Raisa who accepted him gingerly... and then he found out Rebecca/Raisa is in fact the princess of his country who he hated for causing (indirectly) everything he suffered in the first book....

okay.. that was actually some several earlier chapters in the book.... the book is too long with too many stuff thats correlated to one another like a frickin Harry Potter books.... this book, is fortunately not a Harry Potter like the Exiled Queen. Instead its a love child between Game of Thrones - The Borgias - Skyrim and Earthsea anime meets Pride and Prejudice (ok, only the dancing part and some psychopath marriages part..).

Everyone is up to something. Everyone distrust one another. Wizard, nords, native Fells were *invisibly* fighting one another.. kinda like apartheid. There were people plotting. A lot of assassination attempts and many more. Its like reading through a car crash. Everyone is miserable and wanting to stab someone in the back. Wizards dying mysteriously. Forbidden romance that stretched a thousand year, and repeats. Jeez... I'm so glad this year's book is the final book of this series because I cant stand the never-ending canon of GRR Martin.

It might sound harsh when I say it was predictable but... take this, you know its going to happen anyway, the minor character gave clues!! Its like prolonging the inevitable but it still happen. Like its Queen Mariana's death... and three chapter later, too much thinking plotting and pondering... all that was within a day later)..... --> funeral. too many dots there... argh... you get that? Its like real time stuff of everything that happen. Just cut the chase will ya.

Overall... I like the series, truly. No underaged sex to jumble up and story fit seemingly. Clues are thrown while reading the book.. its fun.

But.. the politics of it was lengthy... but tolerable... I read a lot of fictional politics anyway.

Like I said, it was like watching a car crash. Its not a fairy tale. Its too stark and realist.

Final word of caution:
This is not a book for girls and young woman (insert this because I found out adults always rated badly in YA books but still read them.. jeez) who want to make a placard of Team Han and Team Amon stuff.
This is a book for those who like Fantasy genre but dislike the overbearing YA trends and can totally relate to some of the things that exist today... like Skyrim. I like you already if you play Elder Scrolls. ( )
  aoibhealfae | Sep 23, 2013 |
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Thief-turned-wizard Han Alister joins forces with Raisa ana'Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells, to defend her right to the Gray Wolf Throne.

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