by Cinda Williams Chima
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Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.
One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her...
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.
He called her Briar Rose, he said, because of her beauty. And her many thorns.
It’s not often that I find a YA fantasy series that enraptures me the way this one did. It’s no secret that I am very picky when it comes to reading these, as well. Needless to say, I’ve been side-eyeing this series for FOREVER, yet I have never taken the plunge. I’ve mentioned it to a couple of my closest friends and have felt there was something special about it for a long while. So why not leap right in then? I don’t know…because I’m stupid???
There comes a time when my cautious nature and blurred lines cause a lot of missed opportunities, and this one is by far one of the greatest. Had my great friend, Jen, not bought me this for my birthday (among many others, sigh, spoiled), it might have even been another year before I even considered it again. I go through phases, ya know? So, anyway, here comes my husband’s family vacation and I know I will likely have time to basque in the glory that is no drowsiness from work. Whatever should I read, I thought? Well, this one was on my list. My only mistake (besides having to listen to people incessantly talking in my ear 24/7 whilst I tried to cram read)? Saving this one for the end of the week.
Or was that a gift in disguise? It’s also no secret that I found another series I absolutely fucking adored from the minute I picked it up, enrapturing me for 90% of the trip, and for that I can’t say I made many mistakes. However, I do regret only having a couple days, in the end, of Han time. Because I waited, though, here I am getting to post a more coherent review than any of my poor Nevermore books did, and that breaks my heart, because there will never be enough time in my life to go back and re-write all those mini-reviews. I do plan to add quotes to them ALL, though, so be warned *pointy finger emoji*.
ANYWAY, my time is winding down even as I dawdle on meaningless chit chat. All I really wanted to portray in this review for my great friends is this: This story was addicting beyond words, creative beyond measure, and Han will steal your heart before you even realize the little thief has weaseled his way into your soul-He has an uncanny knack for such things. And, hey, even better, he hasn’t even fully developed into the hero I know (and hear, from a little snake/Dark Pup) he will become. I can’t even WAIT for book three and four (YES, I AM DONE WITH BOOK TWO).
He was not the sort to try and reconcile the warring souls that lived inside his body. There was Han Alister, son and big brother, breadwinner, deal-maker, and small-time conniver. There was Hunts Alone, who’d been adopted by Marisa Pines and wished he could melt into the clans for good. And finally, Cuffs, petty criminal and street fighter, onetime streetlord of the Ragger gang and enemy of the Southies. From day to day he slid out of one skin and pulled on another. No wonder it was hard to sort out who he was.
So why only four, you ask, while I wrap up this pitiful mini-review? I can’t be sure other than the fact that maybe I wanted a little more, in the end. For a fantasy, I found this book was not boring, but, in fact, unputdownable. From the beginning I was captured in it’s alluring web with no way out, and Han was nipping at my heels, making my heart beat faster than I could have possibly expected. But then, at the end (and maybe I was tired), I wanted more as the last 20% began to unwind. Oh yeah-I’m saving that last star for the last two books. Let’s hope they impress me in ways I can’t fathom, at this point.
Peril? Oh boy, this series is guna have it in spades.
Romance? I CAN’T EVEN.
World? What’s not to love?
I dunno. This isn’t what I wanted for ANY of my reviews in the last week, but at least this one got some more from me than just ‘oh my GAWD, I can’t even.’ *shrugs*
****************************** This. Book. Was. Excellent ! I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that I loved this…I’ve been eyeing it for years and finally my lovely Jen took fate out of my hands and got it for me for my birthday…THANK YOU, LOVELY!!!! I ADORED this. HANNNNNNNNN.!!!! Onto book two…so frikkin’ excited I read this on my vacation. 😀 RTC! *fingers crossed* hopefully…