Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: The Exiled Queen

Raisa, the heir to the Gray Wolf throne, is on the run to avoid powerhungry factions and a forced marriage.

Han "Cuffs" Alister, his friend Fire Dancer in tow, is off to school to learn to use his new magic powers, so they'll stop using him.  He also has an ancient treasure, the amulet of the Demon King, which apparently bonded to him.  He's also a street kid with a gang history and a major grudge against the queen and the Bayars.

Micah Bayar wants Han dead, Han's amulet in his possession, and Raisa as his wife.

Amon wants Raisa, but can't have her; he's cursed so that just touching her causes him enormous physical pain.

They all want to survive life in the Oden's Ford school, something which becomes more difficult by the day in the web of magic, thievery, assassination, politics, and cold-blooded murder that is the Seven Realms...

Disclaimer: I didn't realize that this was the second book in the series until I'd already started it.  So if the review's a bit muddled, I apologize.

Entertainment: ★★★

This was more than a little confusing, since the book just jumps right in to the action without any explanation of the world, characters, plot, etc., just assuming we've read the first book.  I hadn't, so it took me a while to catch up to everything.  Once I did, it was a nice read.  Just confusing for the first half of the book.

Plot: ★★

There wasn't much of an overall plot, beyond everybody trying to stay alive.  Or maybe the plot is very massive and subtle and won't be revealed until the last book in the series.  Either way, there wasn't any real goal or quest or anything for the characters to aim at, which was more than a little annoying.  Also, the sideplots were a little hit-or-miss; some were great, others basically boring.

Characters: ★★★

I liked Han.  Raisa was okay, a little indecisive for my tastes but still a fairly good character.  The side characters were excellent: Cat Tyburn and Fire Dancer, particularly.  Micah wasn't very scary, for an antagonist.  Overall, the characters were nice but really nothing special.

Writing: ★★

Again, it was a little confusing.  And it had the unfortunate habit of zig-zagging between some really good scenes and some that just dragged.

End Result: three stars. A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

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