Monday, June 29, 2009

Right under your nose

Title: The Warrior Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Series #: 1 of 3
Date Started: June 27, 2009
Date Finished: June 28, 2009

Rating: A+

Description (from B&N): Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind he’s one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack’s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he’s in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack’s official sponsor, they’ll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Imagine you've just discovered that you possess magic powers. What would your first reaction be? Fear? Excitement? Disbelief? Acceptance? Cinda Williams Chima does a magnificent job in her debut novel at portraying the emotions of a confused teenager who's just learned he's a magical being and that he's marked for death. Jack is convincing as the average high-schooler literally thrown into a war between two wizarding factions. You feel his disbelief, his wonder, and his pain. His two best friends, Will & Fitch, are also believable and likable. Fitch is probably my favorite character.

I love stories about societies and worlds and powers that are hidden in the everyday life and setting of Earth. It's just fun to imagine the possibilities. Stories like this, and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, instead of creating entirely new worlds that require ample explanation and description, use the backdrop of the world live in so there's less time spent on making the setting real, and more time spent on weaving a complex and exciting story.

This story didn't fail to entertain or surprise. While my sister did say that some of the ending was a bit cliched, there were plenty of twists that neither one of us was expecting. Well-written, gripping, and fun, Warrior Heir was a too-exciting-to-put-it-down book, and I can't wait to read the next two books. A+

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