Review Blog

Jan 31 2012

The heir chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima

cover image

Indigo, 2012.
The warrior heir. Book 1. ISBN 9781780620473.
The wizard heir. Book 2. ISBN 9781780620503.
The dragon heir. Book 3. ISBN 9781780620534.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. A reprint of Chima's award winning series (2008 Kirkus Best YA Book of the Year, 2009 Voya Best SF and Fantasy Book of the Year) is a treat for fantasy lovers like me. The books would best be read as a series, starting with book 1, The warrior heir, where the reader is introduced to 16 year old Jack, a normal teenager living in a small Ohio town. The only thing that makes him different is the scar above his heart and the medicine he has to take daily. One day when he misses his medicine, he discovers that he is stronger and faster than all his soccer mates and that he is a member of the Weirlind, a group of magical people who are facing war. Book 2, The wizard heir, follows the adventures of Seph, who is an untrained wizard. When sent to a private school in Maine, he uncovers deadly secrets and becomes involved in the war between the Red and White Rose factions. The dragon heir has two main protagonists: Jason, who steals the Dragonheart, a powerful treasure and Madison Moss who is a danger to her boyfriend Seph, as she leaks the toxic magic that she absorbed in the fight against evil.
Chima deserves the accolades she received for these books. After reading The warrior heir I was thrilled knowing that I had the next two stories to read straight away rather than having to wait impatiently for them.  Her main male teen characters, Jack, Seph and Jason are tough, intelligent and courageous. Each must go through terrible trials but all triumph in different ways. The girls in the story are brave and smart, play vital roles in the fight against evil and the romances are very well done.
Her world building is wonderful. The reader is taken off into the politics of a magical place, where those who have the strongest warrior wield power. A single warrior from each of the warring sides is forced to fight to the death in a gladiator style to win the power to rule. The action is inventive and ranges from Ohio to the wind swept moors of Cumbria in the United Kingdom. With swordplay, wizards living hundreds of years and using mind control, intrigue and strange treasure, I was swept along in Chima's fabulous world.
Each book has an emphasis on a different character. This gives added appeal as Chima explores different relationships and abilities, making a much richer series than is often encountered where the same main characters appear. There is a satisfying conclusion to the three books (although a look at Chima's website gives information about two more books to come).
The clever writing,  inventive setting and great characters of this series should appeal to both boys and girls. Fans of these books will want to go out and immediately find her Seven Realms series.
Pat Pledger

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