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Friday, August 31, 2012

Audio Review: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized1 Comment

Title: The Exiled Queen
Publisher:  Recorded Books (Audio);  Hyperion Books for Children (Print)

Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 05 Apr 2011 (Audio);  24 Sept 2010 (Print)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN:  B004V7E5VI (Audio), 1423121376 (Paperback)
Format: Audio
Audio Length:  ~17.5 hrs
Narrator: Carol Monda


Place(s) Traveled to: Oden’s Ford

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Seven Realms Series Order
Book 1: The Demon King (Audio)
Book 2: The Exiled Queen
Book 3: The Gray Wolf Throne
Book 4: The Crimson Crown (23 Oct 2012)

First Line: 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.

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima is one of those books that leaves me a bit stumped on where to begin writing my thoughts. This seems to becoming more of a norm for me these days but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Exiled Queen is the second book in a series and so the world has already been established or at least it has for the most part. In this book Chima takes her characters from the places we knew in The Demon King and then plops them into a Hogwarts like scenario. I say Hogwarts, as the majority of characters we met in book 1 all head off to school. 

Unlike the first book though there isn’t as much overlap with the various groups. There is some but mostly Han is with himself or dealing with Micah Bayar and Raisa is with Amon and its not until the end that they all start to cross paths. Since all the major players are in school there is a little bit more info dumping that occurs in this story as the reader learns more of the history of the world. But its not enough to make the story dry or boring and there is enough actiony things going on to keep the story moving at a steady pace. 

The Exiled Queen as the second in a four book series had the potential to be really dry and pointless and while there wasn’t a ton of plot development in this book I still found myself really enjoying it. There isn’t much in this book that I really see affecting the overall story ARC of the series but instead this was a book where all the characters seemed to be given a place to grow a bit more into themselves. Their basic backgrounds were already established in the first book and while they are all struggling with some internal conflicts they are given the time to work through them and come out stronger on the other side. So I’m expecting some really fierce, strong and plot driven characters in The Grey Wolf Throne

As a whole I am thoroughly enjoying the Seven Realms series. Its a great addition to the fantasy genre and its one that should appeal to those who like Game of Thrones or Grave Mercy. As there are lots of elements in those books that can be found in this series. Its a series that continues to build upon itself as it continues so each book gets richer and deeper and becomes just a little more real. The Exiled Queen doesn’t suffer from that dreaded middle book of a series but at the same time that’s exactly what it is. This is a bridge book to get the characters to a certain point before all the things start to happen. But I am fine with that as it was well written and well told and I really can’t wait to see what happens next.

As with The Demon King, Carol Monda, does a fabulous job with the narration. She has this dry voice that really works well for male and female characters alike. There were times when her voices would slip a little but there are so many characters and its a lot of hours of reading and so those slips can be excused. For me, I can’t imagine any other narrator reading this story. Monda has become this world and its a big struggle for me trying to decide on if I should read book 3 in print or get the audio of it. Reading the print version is faster and I am eager to see where the story goes. But Monda has built this world for me that even if I read the print form I think I’d still hear her voice in my head. 

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