Sadie Hawkins Review #102: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Sadie Hawkins Review #102: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams ChimaThe Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
Series: Seven Realms #3
Published by Disney Hyperion on August 7, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 517
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
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four-half-stars

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisaana'Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he's concerned, the princess's family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. 

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it-he's saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive-and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

Recommended by: The Megasus (Cuddlebuggery)

Things just keep getting more epic. It’s funny how this book covers the shortest span of time but the most stuff happens. In The Gray Wolf Throne, Raisa levels up to a new degree of bossness. Han gets to use all his fancy blueblood training. And, oh yeah, shit goes down.

Perhaps because of the accelerated time frame, The Gray Wolf Throne goes really fast. The pace just rockets, despite the book being long. It feels like hurtling toward an ending that could be roses and could be a brick wall against which our cast will smash and die. Personally, I’m hoping only a few of them die, but Chima does seem to enjoy character death, so it’s really hard to say.

One thing I find really interesting about Chima is how she does the deaths. She’s resisted a lot of death tropes common to fantasy fiction. Generally, I’m used to being able to assume that if a remotely important character dies off screen, they’re totally going to be alive through some complicated series of events. Unless someone confirms that a character is dead, they’re not going to be dead. Not so with Chima. She’s done the bulk of her killing off screen, which makes it even more shocking when it goes down.

Basically, Chima resists death fake outs, which is really awesome, since I don’t like that trope in most cases. Early on, both Han and Raisa are in serious danger of dying. She could easily have done a fakeout with a POV swap (it’s third person, so why not, right?), but she didn’t. And, you know what? I was still concerned for them. You don’t have to try to fool me into thinking they’re dead to make me worry that they might die. Besides, even if they survive that, which, I mean, they probably would anyway, since there’s another book left and only a few authors kill the MCs before the end of the series, there’s still a fuckton of danger ahead of them.

Never have political maneuverings been more fascinating than in The Gray Wolf Throne. Raisa has to come back to her queendom and become the queen. Obviously, she’s going to be the best at it, but there are wars outside the queendom and tensions inside. The list of people she can trust is short, and people keep trying to kill her. Also, for all that I thought Gavan Bayar was a giant dickface, he’s got nothing on Gerard Montaigne, who makes my skin crawl.

Raisa has always been a strong heroine, in pretty much every possible definition of the word. That doesn’t mean she’s the strongest person physically or that she doesn’t cry. She’s not, and she does. Raisa’s biggest strength is that she loves hard work. Not only will she do it, but she enjoys it, a barb her sister throws at her. In The Gray Wolf Throne, she really reaches new heights of badassery. Her training at Oden’s Ford has made her stronger physically and given her an adeptness with weapons. Though she does get saved a lot by others, it’s not because she’s a damsel in distress; it’s because there are so many people trying to bring her down. Good luck, guys. Raisa doesn’t go down without one hell of a fight.

The Han/Raisa romance is giving so many  feels. They break my heart with all the things keeping them apart. The fact that they can’t fight their feelings only makes them that much more shippable. On top of that, both of them are so practical and wise, always putting their heads over their hearts, which I admire even as it stabs my shippy heart. The other ships continue to be…there. I like Cat and Dancer sort of in theory, but I also never get to see them be TOGETHER really so I have no idea what their private dynamic is. Then there’s what happens to the only actual instance of LGBT+ romance in the series thus far: View Spoiler »

Just when I’m feeling pretty hopeful, Chima hits me with that ending. GAH. Must read final book now.

Favorite Quote:

View Spoiler »

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif 100 anya boss
Raisa be like…

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One response to “Sadie Hawkins Review #102: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima”

  1. I LOVED The Gray Wolf Throne! It’s what made me long for The Crimson Crown desperately. I think I need to read these books again; I liked The Demon King, I liked the Exiled Queen, and then I read 50 pages of GWT… and put it down for almost a year. WHYYYY PAST MORGAN?! Because when I picked it back up I read it in a couple days and then Crimson Crown came out! This series is soooooo awesome, Raisa is the best boss lady ever, I LOVE her and Han, and how Han changes with all his training. I love Aediion because it feels unique. Your review captured what is so great about this book. So glad she didn’t use the fake death trope either. I can’t wait for you to read The Crimson Crown now 😀

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