Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Age Group: Young Adult
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 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. (from Amazon)
My opinion of Chima's writing grows everyday. First, I read the first book in her Heir series, then, I read The Demon King. The Warrior Heir was okay... but not extremely good. The Demon King was good enough that I wanted to be on the ARC tour for The Exiled Queen. And The Exiled Queen.... well. It blew me out of the water.
First off, the plot was AMAZING! Obviously, I don't like a book just because it has a good plot, because if the writing sucks, the book sucks. But most of the time, I will love the writing and the characters, but hate the plot. And still give the book five stars. Not so with this book. Trust me, this plot will keep you on the edge of your seat. It had everything that I could want from a YA fantasy novel. Complicated love triangles... (sort of), new and unexpected friendships, the characters learning all about the crazy new world they've entered, and of course, the feeling of looming danger. I don't want to give you any spoilers, but I will tell you that Raisa's love life sure heats up and gets REALLY complicated. Oh boy.
Which brings me to the characters, of course, we got to know them in the first book, but in the first book I had favorite characters. I've always had a soft spot for Raisa and Amon. I mean hello, a girl who's not afraid to stand up for herself and her smokin' hot uber loyal soldier best friend. And I found that in The Exiled Queen, that favoritism sort of carried over, but as I got more into the book, I found lots of other characters I liked. Instead of skipping over Han's chapters (like I was tempted to do to get more Amon/Raisa action. Which I won't tell you if there ever really was any action), I found that the characters in his chapters were growing on me. I really started to see Dancer as this loyal best friend who was in a mess he didn't want to be in, but stuck to it. Which trust me, will really endear him to you once you see how much he fits in at the Wizard school... or more like doesn't. Also, call me crazy, but I was starting to like Fiona Bayar. She may be grouped in with the "bad" guys, but it's really just because of her family. I found that she was really level - headed and at times, very feisty in a good way. Oh, and then there's the Wolf Pack. If you want the best friends you could ever have in the world, it's them. I really grew to love Talia and Hallie, because they were always there for Raisa. And it was kind of interesting to see them go through their struggles too, because they had A LOT! Anyways, if you didn't love the cast of characters in the first book, you will definitely ADORE them in the second book.
Overall, this book was nothing short of amazing. I found myself staying up late at night just to see what Han and Raisa were up to. Chima's writing seems to get better and better with each book she writes, and she has effectively got me extremely excited for the 3rd book. The Exiled Queen is set to be released September 28th, and if you haven't read The Demon King, you definitely should so you can be ready for this amazing keep-you-up-all-night book.
Those were my thoughts, so if you've read either of the two books, tell me what you think!