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The Exiled Queen (2010)

by Cinda Williams Chima

Series: The Seven Realms (2)

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1,2884013,462 (4.2)38
Two teenagers, one fleeing from a forced marriage and the other from a dangerous family of wizards, cross paths and fall in love.
  1. 20
    Fire by Kristin Cashore (Kerian)
    Kerian: Another great YA fantasy with a journey and romance.

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The Exiled Queen

By Cinda Williams Chima

Seven Realms #2

I can't give this series enough praise! The characters and world that Cinda Williams Chima has created here is extraordinary. I can't seem to put it down nor find enough hours in my day to read. Last night I read until my eyes went blurry but I couldn't stop until I finished this book.

In the last book, Raisa’s mother tried to force her to marry Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard, which is totally against the law but the High Wizard seems to have some sort of magical influence over the queen. Luckily, Raisa escaped with the help of Amon Byrne, the son of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

Raisa traveled under an assumed name, Rebecca Morley, through horrible conditions with Amon and 8 of his cadets to Oden's Ford to attend military school. Here's where I became a little confused. Bear with me while I go on a side trip. Oden's Ford contains many schools; one for wizards on the other side of the river from the military school, and another school for temple dedicates where students learn music, art and philosophy. What I didn't quite understand was if Oden's Ford is the name of the entire campus which includes all of the schools or if it was a town or if it was a small country of its own. I tried following the directions on how each of the characters traveled to Oden's Ford but I got lost. I cheated and found a map from a spinoff series of the Seven Realms but I'm still confused.

Raisa is the princess heir of the country of Fells which is a mountainous region in the north of the continent. They traveled west through the mountains, past something called Westgate which seemed to guard the west border of the country of Fells yet they entered a swampland called The Fens where a people called Water Walkers live that the author described as part of the Queendom of Fells. They traveled southeast through the swamps to Tamron, the country connected to Fells. There was an abandoned guard house on the border. They then traveled south to Oden's Ford. Even with the map, I couldn't figure out if Oden's Ford is part of Tamron or a country all on its own.

Raisa enrolled as a cadet in Wien House at Oden's Ford. She may be out of Fells but danger is all around her. Students come from all over the Seven Realms to attend the schools at Oden's Ford. She knows that Micah Bayar to whom she was almost forced to marry, his twin sister and his two cousins are enrolled in Mystwerk House just across the bridge so she will have to be careful not to run into them. Fortunately, most students who attend Wien House are from the war-torn country of Arden where wizards are viewed as demons so the wizards from Mystwerk rarely cross the bridge to the Wein House side of the river.

What Raisa doesn't know is that two other unexpected people are at Oden’s Ford. Cat Tyborn and Han Alister aka Cuffs Alister, two street gang lords with whom she had dealings with in Fells. Cat is attending Temple School because Micahs father, Lord Bayar killed all her street gang while searching for Cuffs who took a powerful and illegal amulet from him. The Speaker (priest) from her neighborhood paid for her to attend Temple School because she is so talented at music and because he was helping her escape the same fate as her friends.

Hans was sent to Mystwerk after the clans revealed to him why he wore the silver cuffs on his wrists all his life. He is a powerful wizard descended from the Demon King, a line that no one but the clans knew existed. They had fitted him with magical cuffs when he was an infant to hide his abilities. After they revealed the truth and removed the cuffs, they sent him to Mystwerk to learn magic and help them fight the Wizard Council if it ever comes to a wat between the clans and wizards who hate each other.

Whew! That was a lot of explaining.

Han has to deal with Micah Bayar and dodge his attempts to get the amulet back which by rights belonged to the Demon King and has been outlawed in Fells.

There's a lot at stake and a lot that can go wrong.

I'm off to read the next book. ( )
  dragonlion | Jul 30, 2022 |
Oh my, that was just as wonderful as the first book. Possibly better as the fantasy world Ms. Chima has created is even more fully-fleshed, just like the characters, who get proper backstories of thier own in many cases.

The only thing that grates just a little is the choice of the term "girlie" to refer to young women; it reminds me of Beth in [b:Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe.|855118|Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe. (Beth Lambert, #1)|Bette Greene|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347876697s/855118.jpg|2984586] when the fat white man calls her that and she wonders how he'd like being called a manlie. This is clearly my issue though and doesn't really qualify as a flaw. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 11, 2021 |
This was good. We got to know some new characters and I still feel attached to the two main characters. The first book was an introduction setting the stage and this one was character development. Not a ton of really important stuff going on but it was still a good read. ( )
  Airainai | Jan 4, 2021 |
The second volume of Chima's Seven Realms series begins right on the tail of volume one. Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han heads south to study in Oden's Ford at Mystwerk House. But leaving the Fells doesn't mean leaving the danger behind, as Han quickly discovers when he learns that his fellow students include the Bayar twins, scions of the High Wizard.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa has escaped to Oden's Ford, looking to hide from those that would try and force her on a path that is not in her best interests. In Oden's Ford she lives an assumed identity, hiding from those that would force her into a marriage that would break the thousand year old laws that bind the Fells.

The Exiled Queen is a story of false pretenses and politics, framed within the lives of Han (17) and Raisa (16). This second volume of the series starts off much more strongly than the first, and could easily be broached by readers new to the series. Chima does a great job of refreshing our memory of the plot points without too much backtracking, letting the story carry us forward on its own merits.

The Exiled Queen is a solid volume in terms of story. The first book of the Seven Realms introduced us to these two characters, making it clear that they were going to be interlinked some day, but focussed largely on world building. This second volume explores their development as individuals, giving us more depth and intertwining their stories as individuals, focussing on character over scenery. Most of the time in Oden's Ford is glossed over with a few brush strokes, focussing instead on the characters thoughts and emotions. In each character we see the shade of the adults they will become developing, at the expense of the story at large moving along.

For that, this book earns some criticisms. Where the first volume focussed on the world around the characters more than it did on the individuals within it, this second volume takes the exact opposite approach. As a consequence, the action is fairly predictable to anyone that's ever read a fantasy hero/heroine novel before. The state of affairs in the Seven Realms at the start of the book is the same as it is at the end of the book, with only a few pawns moving around on the outskirts of the story. The real story is about us watching Han and Raisa make the decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
It's so great to see another series that just takes off like this; The Exiled Queen continues every bit of the great characters, fascinating world, and intriguing, magic-rich plot that The Demon King began.

Once again, the alternating stories of Raisa and Han are told, but these two are no longer just the headstrong princess and conflicted streetlord they once were. Raisa, now practically a fugitive, is fleeing the political web of power and betrayal the wizards have entangled the royal line in, and Han, grappling with his newly discovered status as a wizard, journeys to fulfill his side of a contract with the realm's spirit clans. But their paths are destined to cross again, this time at Oden's Ford, where the schools for wizards, soldiers, scholars, and dedicates collide.

I loved the way the story continued to twist and turn, with dashes of intrigue liberally thrown in. Han gets himself into several unusual alliances, reunites with unexpected old friends and enemies, and realizes that in order to keep his head above water in this new world, he will have to cultivate new skills in addition to his streetwise ways. Raisa, completely out of her element as a cadet in disguise, gets significant character development and becomes an even more admirable heroine (a scene in which she defends herself from assault with quite unladylike ferocity had me cheering inwardly). And their interactions together in this book, while again fairly brief, are very significant, taking things barely hinted at in the first novel and bringing them to the forefront. The author also continues the admirable skill of making sure the minor characters shine, and each of them is completely unique and integral to the story in some way.

The novel ends on another cliffhanger, perhaps even more suspenseful than the first, and it makes the wait ahead for the next Seven Realms book look way too long!

( )
  booksong | Mar 18, 2020 |
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For Linda and Mike-who shared a world of make-believe and kick-butt Barbies. Thanks for putting up with all the talking animals.
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Lieutenant Mac Gillen of the Queen's Guard of the Fells hunched his shoulders against the witch wind that howled out of the frozen wastelands to the north and west.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Two teenagers, one fleeing from a forced marriage and the other from a dangerous family of wizards, cross paths and fall in love.

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Book description
The second book in an epic fantasy series from Cinda Williams Chima. Adventure, magic, war and ambition conspire to throw together an unlikely group of companions in a struggle to save their world.

You can’t always run from danger…

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery – but the bargain they make is one Han may soon regret.

Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
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