Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gray Wolf Throne

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
Release Date: August 30th 2011

The Gray Wolf Throne is a continuation of The Demon King and The Exiled Queen, two books which performed superbly in terms of developing the plot and characters. They laid down the groundwork for an epic YA fantasy series which...was somehow derailed by the latest book, the Gray Wolf Throne.

As the title says, this book is primarily about the Queen-to-be, Raisa who ascends to the throne upon her mother's death. Apparently, the former Queen had lost the "Mandate of Heaven" or in this case, that of the Gray Wolf Line, causing her to no longer be able to foresee dangers to herself or to the line. That left her vulnerable, and if we were to believe it, it led to her death at the hands of unknown assailants of which the prime suspects are the Bayars.

However, before I spoil too much of the story for those of you who haven't read it yet, let me get back to the problems underlying this particular novel.

i. It relies too much on "coincidences" to further the plot. For example, a certain character just happens to arrive just in time right as another character was in danger even though he/she/it was AT LEAST a couple of days behind the other. He/she/it also manages to accurately find clues as to the other's location without even trying much. In order words, he/she/it just rushes right through it like the author fed him/her the script to the story. It's just too unbelievable.

ii. Raisa's emotional state fluctuates at times, showing off a side of her that we haven't seen before (totally immature at times) and then suddenly stabilizing in the next scene. Erm...I wouldn't want someone that volatile in charge of my country.

iii. Too much focus is spent on the physical aspect of the relationship between Han and Raisa. I mean this is YA and there are legions of female fans of the series but ughh...TMI!!!

iv. Not enough plot development. We're stuck with certain settings for quite awhile, same old places as in the other two books. It would have been quite refreshing for ol' Cinda to introduce us to a few new places but no. In fact you could count the number of settings used in the story with the fingers on ONE HAND. Combine points iv and iii and you've got a seriously boring story at times. The truth is, I actually skipped ahead a few times because of this.

Cover: 8
Characters: 5
Story: 4

Overall: 4.5/10

This is decent but seeing as how it's part of a SERIES, it could have been a lot better. The author should have had done a lot more to further the plot rather than rehashing the same old stuff over and over again (refer to points iii and iv). I didn't really feel like this was a new book, I felt like it was book 2.5 rather than 3 (a different book in its own right). Overall, you could say that I was disappointed. I expected a lot more especially after reading the first two books.