If you've been on this blog for at least six months you'll know I've read a LOT of Cinda Williams Chima books recently. Like...7 of them. I just started reading The Enchanter Heir. But while I've enjoyed the Heir Chronicles, I tore through the Seven Realms series. The main character in these books? Raisa ana'Mariana, princess heir of the Fells, a little kingdom with a ton of political and magical intrigue. Over 4 books I got to know her pretty well, and I can say with certainty that I love her. Why?
- She's open-minded. Not to say she doesn't have biases, but she's open to hearing different peoples' perspectives and understands why they look at the world the way they do. There's one scene that truly struck me in this regard. Raisa is checking on someone in the infirmary, and discovers that the best healer hasn't been tending her because he's stretched thin and doesn't use techniques other cultures use. She understands, but cuts him down and puts him in the position to learn about these other cultures and appreciate what they can bring to the table. It was well done without hitting the reader over the head.
- She allows herself to be a teenager. Yes, she's the princess heir, and yes, she's got a TON of responsibility, and she takes it very seriously. But that doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy kissing different boys and wearing pretty clothes and escaping it all once in a while to be herself. And she doesn't do these things with an annoying "woe is me" attitude. She takes these moments to be herself wholly and truly.
- She likes learning. This is kind of related to the first point, but Raisa likes to learn. She decides to do physical training and war training when she goes to school instead of focusing on the arts because she's already learned some of those things and wants to be a well-rounded queen. She's got a council of people from all walks of life, and she goes walking in her city as a commoner to see what their lives are like. And she encourages others to learn, even funding schools for people without much money. That's aces in my book.
- She does not give up. Yeah, I know that's general. But there's this scene where she's running from some people and she's exhausted and just watched people die, and then she gets poisoned, and then she hits a dead end. She's dying and has only a rock, but she never stops fighting. It's admirable and crazy and just what I'd want in a queen.
So yeah, I've read a lot of Chima's books in the last 6 months. And YAY she's starting a new series in the same world as the Seven Realms! I can't wait for it to come out in paperback.