The Dragon Heir
by Cinda Williams Chima
The sequel to The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir wraps up at least the first trilogy about the "weirlind" of Trinity, Ohio. These are the wizards, warriors, enchanters, sorcerers, and seers who have taken refuge in a magical sanctuary where the two main houses of wizards - the Red Rose and the White Rose - cannot enslave them and force them to fight in their age-long war. They are set apart from "anaweir" (non-magical folk like you and me) by a magic stone in their chest, a hereditary organ that draws power from a stone called the Dragonheart hidden in a mountain ghyll in the northern English county of Cumbria.
As this book opens, a young wizard named Jason Haley steals the Dragonheart from under the noses of the Roses and of the wizardly D'Orsay family whose family owns the ghyll. D'Orsay needs the Dragonheart in order to consecrate a new covenant giving him power over all the magical guilds. But first, he needs to retrieve the covenant itself, which has fallen into the hands of a mercenary b*****d named Warren Barber. Barber magically enslaves a pink-sweater-wearing, backstabbing, popular-girl wizard named Leesha Middleton to infiltrate Trinity, get close to Jason, and bring both Jason and the Dragonheart to Warren.
Got all that? I hope so, because I'm just getting warmed up. While Leesha develops genuine feelings for Jason - feelings that could get her killed - another wizardly romance is hitting a rough patch. Freakishly powerful Seph McCauley carries too much of the responsibility for maintaining the security of the sanctuary. The girl he loves, Madison Moss, is an elicitor - think: a sponge that soaks up magic. Ever since she absorbed a hex aimed at Seph, she has been poison to him. Literally. Realizing this, Madison is almost relieved to get called home to take care of her younger sister and brother, who are too much for her flighty mother to handle. Only, she doesn't count on Seph finding the "hex painting" onto which she directed the overflow of evil magic trapped within her. Nor does she realize that the Dragonheart has selected her to play a very special role in the magical war now brewing on the outskirts of Trinity, Ohio.
That might give you just a taste of what's going on in this complex book, though it's hardly a synopsis. I haven't told you what happens when Warren Barber catches Jason on his way to Madison's house. Or the drama that plays out between Madison and the handsome, rich, evil young wizard who covets her ancestral land. Or about Seph's dangerous dabbling in performance-enhancing potions. Or what becomes of all the regular people of Trinity on the eve of the magical war-to-end-all-wars. Or what becomes of Seph's parents, preventing them from lending their powerful aid to the sexy young heroes whose complicated motives and loyalties could as easily become the stuff of soap opera as, in this book, the backdrop for a tale of love, betrayal, courage, and a desperate fight for survival.
I won't conceal from you the fact that I enjoyed this book a bit less than the first two in the trilogy. The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir are both relentlessly focused, taut magical thrillers. This book is just as magical and perhaps even more thrilling, but the focus is spread much more widely. I recall one scene in particular when more and more characters walked onstage, adding their remarks until one was apt to forget what the scene was about. As an epic conclusion to the series, it does fine. But its strong points are the parts that zoom in on Madison's and Jason's points of view. If another Trinity trilogy develops (a novel titled The Demon King is on the way), I hope and trust that the author will keep that strong focus throughout.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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