The Warrior Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
I love to read aloud. Some books positively demand to be read aloud. My parents know
this, and their response to my need to read aloud to them most often ranges between
resigned sufferance and grasping at any excuse to escape. But when, during a holiday
weekend at their house, I started reading The Warrior Heir to them, I was astonished at their response. They hardly interrupted me at all. When I paused to check how
they were holding up, they seemed focused on the story. And when I reached the end
of each chapter, they urged me to read on. I might have asked what had become of my
real parents, but there was no need. It was obvious that some wizard had put a spell
on them; and that wizard's name was Cinda Williams Chima.
I didn't have time to read this whole book to my folks, and I sensed their
disappointment about this. So I was happy to send them my copies of the first two
books in this trilogy, as soon as I was done reading them. That didn't take long.
They are hard to put down.
This book introduces you to Jack Swift, an 11th grader from the small college town
of Trinity, Ohio. At first there doesn't seem to be much special about him. He isn't
an orphan; his parents, though divorced, are both living. The only scar he has comes
from a heart operation that saved his life when he was a baby; he still takes
medicine for his heart every day. Other than that, he's an ordinary American
teenager who plays soccer, chases girls, hangs out with his friends Will and Fitch,
and deals with bullies at school. At least, he remains ordinary until the day he
forgets to take his medicine. The day something funny happens at soccer tryouts. The
day strange forces begin hunting for Jack, hunting with a purpose he could never
Jack's easy-come, easy-go Aunt Linda has something to do with all this. So do the
heart surgeon who has checked in on him all his life, the white-bearded handyman who
lives above the garage, and a surprising number of neighbors on Jack's Street. It
turns out a lot of people in Jack's life are in on his secret and sworn to protect
it. But it is the new vice-principal of Jack's high school, the dangerous-looking
Mr. Hastings, whose after-school training regimen becomes the key to Jack's
For there are things in the world unknown to Jack and his friends. There are
enchanters, seers, and sorcerers, whose special abilities grow out of a stone inside
their bodies, stones they have been born with since their ancestors made a pact to
rob a sleeping dragon. There are wizards, with a broader range of terrifying powers
and the will to force all the other "weirlind" to serve them. And finally there is
Jack, one of the last of his kind: a warrior. The wizards will use him to fight a
ritualized battle in an arena: a battle to shift the balance of power between the
rival wizard houses of the White Rose and the Red Rose; a battle, need I add, to the
Jack's swift journey takes him and his friends to a terrifying encounter in a
graveyard, a nearly fatal visit to London, and a climactic battle in the mountainous
north of England. He learns some of what it means to be both a wizard and a warrior.
He picks up a sword of power and a custom-fit book of magic. He wrestles with a
century-old murder mystery. He sees his friends used against him as hostages. He
faces betrayal, heartbreak, and a trial for his life. And in order to help Hastings
change the unjust ways the wizards have forced on the other weir, Jack must also
face a high probability of death in battle against the last person in the world he
would ever hurt.
The Warrior Heir is the first young-adult novel by a sometime nutrition columnist
for the Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer. And yes, it is also the beginning of Chima's
first fantasy trilogy, which is now complete. The companion books are The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir. If you find them as captivating as my family and I do, you
may enjoy knowing that a second trilogy is in the works. You can visit the author's
website (http://www.cindachima.com) for more information.
Recommended Age: 14+
If you would like to contact Robbie, you may do so here.