The Warrior Heir is written by Cinda Williams Chima. It was published in 2006 by Hyperion. It is the first book in the Heir Chronicles.
Before he knew about the Roses, sixteen-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 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 society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing the Game—a tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre heritage weren’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.
I didn’t like this book nearly as much as Chima’s first Seven Realms novel, but I do prefer my fantasy set in fantasy worlds or an alternate version of this one, not in our own. However, it was still well-thought-out and interesting in terms of world, and I really liked the dynamic between Jack and his non-magical friends. While it took me a little time to get into the novel, the ending was fast-paced and exciting.
I was actually surprised when everything wrapped up neatly by the end. There are five books in this series, so I guess I was expecting some sort of plot thread to be left for the next book. But no, this book is stand-alone, and so everything is solved by the end except for some character developments. It makes me wonder what will happen next.
This is Chima’s first book, and it does show. Although I thought the Seven Realms series was a little bloated, overall the plot and world building were really great, so I suppose I was expecting the same thing here (I know, a little unfair of me). But The Warrior Heir is not written or developed nearly as well, and the romance between Jack and Ellen felt thrown in just to cater to the audience.
I also think the book would have been better if the reader doesn’t find out before Jack does about Lee and warriors and wizards and things. Since we do, the beginning just sort of slogs on until Jack gets caught up with the reader.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
He set the flashlight on the ground, gingerly grasped the hilt, and drew it out, noticing how the grip fit his hand without slipping. The sword created its own light as it emerged, a silver flame that ran along the blade. It was double-edged, and the metal appeared rippled in a way that meant the steel had been folded and refolded to strengthen it. How he knew this, he couldn’t say. After a century in the ground, it bore no trace of rust, but seemed ready for immediate use.
Will and Fitch, drawn by the light, looked over Jack’s shoulder. “Wicked,” breathed Fitch.
“No,” said Jack. “Not wicked at all.” He lifted the weapon before him with two hands and knew that it was his, although this had been forged long before he was born. It was lighter in his hands than he expected, lighter than one would expect from the size of it. “Shadowslayer,” he whispered, as if the weapon spoke to him. And the power in the blade ran into his hands and up his arms as if, somehow, the sword were wielding him.
The Warrior Heir was a little disappointing, just because I loved Chima’s Seven Realms series so much and this wasn’t nearly as good. The world was interesting, but not all that developed (although, granted, this is only the first book), and some of the elements included felt a little forced, such as the romance between Jack and Ellen. I liked it, but it wasn’t amazing.
You can buy this here: The Warrior Heir