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Monday, January 23, 2012

Audio Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review1 Comment

Audio Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Seven Realms, Book 1
Published by Recorded Books on 08 March 2010
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Narrator: Carol Monda
Length: 15 Hours 6 Minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
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four-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Queendom of the Fells // Marisa Pines // Fellsmarch

First Line: Han Alister squatted next to the steaming mud spring, praying that the thermal crust would hold his weight.

A few years back I attended my first Book Expo America and while there I picked up a book with a beautiful cover and intriguing title and when I saw that it was Fantasy I kinda fell in love. Then when I entered it into Goodreads I learned that it was Book 2 in a new series from Cinda Williams Chima. I then let out a little sigh and put it on my shelf and eventually remembered to buy the first book so that I could finally get to it. Since I’ve recently been on a bit of a fantasy kick I decided to revisit this series with the pretty covers and intriguing titles but couldn’t find my copy of The Demon King anywhere….so I did what anyone would do…I went to the internet and downloaded the audio from my precious audible.com account. Because having a duplicate copy of a book in a different format is way different than having a duplicate in the same format…right? Or am I just a crazy book addict? Well, that’s a discussion for another day…this is about a wonderful new world that I wish I’d discovered earlier.

In many ways, The Demon King is like most other fantasy books out there. Fantasy, like most genres, does have a particular formula about it. There is that special boy that no one really considers to be special until something extraordinary happens to catapult him into the spotlight. Then there is the dastardly villain and somewhere in the mix there is the token girl – sometimes she’s a strong alpha character and others she’s the princess in a tower waiting for rescue. In other ways, The Demon King breaks the mold in that the hero and heroine of the story don’t really interact all that much. They aren’t childhood friends and they aren’t traveling companions….in fact they don’t really like each other much when they first meet.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the world that Chima created with the Fells. I liked her villains and am curious to see where events will go after the set up in this first book. I am curious to see how the paths of all the characters we’ve come to know if this book will cross in the next one. And yes, the romantic in me is curious to see which boy Reisa will set her sights on because she has several options and she’s not scared to explore them all to find that right person for her. Oh I have an inkling as to who she’ll ultimately choose but I just love all the possibilities that Chima has set up.

What bugged me in this story was that there was a solid dual-POV perspective of story telling set up. There where scenes/chapters loosely divide up between Han and Reisa and while they weren’t regularly divided it worked for the pacing of the story. Then about 1/2 way through the book we’re tossed randomly into the head of a third character for no reason other than it made moving the plot along just a little easier and to me it came across as a bit of a cop out. Rather than try to find a way to use the two characters we’d come to know to get over a difficult patch we get this whole new person and it jolted me out of the story. I like the character of Eamon as a secondary character and seeing inside his head wasn’t a horrible thing…but I just wish that this POV had been established from the start to keep the flow and consistency going from the start of the book all the way until the final chapter.

I fell in love with this world. I think listening to this one helped to really bring the world of Fellsmarch to life as the words in an audio seem to be infused with new meanings and power.  When someone reads a story to you, you are forced to slow down and really listen to the words. When you read a physical book you can speed over the words in that mad rush to find out what happens. But in an audio you are at the mercy of the narrator and while it can be frustrating sometimes to not be able to rush through. There is also a joy to be had in being forced to slow down and really become immersed in the world. The world in The Demon King is very rich and vivid and its one that I would highly recommend to be experienced in its audio form.

Whatever the form you prefer though this is a great book for anyone out there who loves a good fantasy. Yes, it does follow the formula but rather than be a stale retelling of some other story it takes the foundations set up and builds a strong story that is independent of its roots. The characters are all wonderful in their roles and I look forward to meeting them all again in The Exiled Queen. They are strong and weak and flawed and just so very human and relatable. The world is vividly constructed and while you are in the story you believe that it is real. And really, as a reader, isn’t that what you long for in a book?

About the narrator
Carol Monda is a new narrator for me but she is one that enjoyed listening to. She was good with all the various voices, most of the time, and it was never hard to tell who was speaking when. Although there were times in  which the same voice was used for different people but fortunately it was never in the same scene so confusion was avoided. I enjoyed her narration so much that I am considering ignoring the print copy that I have of The Exiled Queen just to download and listen to her rendition of that book as well. To see how she brings that book to life….the only thing that is currently stopping me is how quickly my audio TBR pile is growing! I really need to take a really long road trip with someone who also like audios so that I can make a bigger dent in my pile!

irishdarkblue

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