The Dragon Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima, was published in 2008 by Hyperion. It is the sequel to The Wizard Heir.
The covenant that was meant to keep the wizard wars at bay has been stolen, and Trinity must prepare for attack. Everyone is doing their part: Seph is monitoring the Weirwalls, Jack and Ellen are training their ghostly army, even Anaweir Will and Fitch are setting booby traps around the town’s perimeter. But to Jason Haley it seems like everyone wants to keep him out of the action. He may not be the most powerful wizard in Trinity, but he’s prepared to fight for his friends. Everything changes, though, when Jason finds a powerful talisman—a huge opal called the Dragonheart—buried in a cave. The stone seems to sing to Jason’s very soul—showing him that he’s meant for more than anyone’s guessed. Moral compasses spin out of control as a final battle storms through what was once a sanctuary for the gifted. With so much to lose, what will the people of Trinity be willing to fight for—and what will they sacrifice?
Unfortunately, for the most part I found The Dragon Heir disappointing. I thought quite a bit of extraneous material could have been cut (something I’ve noticed in all of Chima’s works) and there was a distinct lack of resolution to several different threads throughout the story.
But more on what I liked first: I liked the relationship between Devereaux and his father, because I enjoy it when villains show more than one side to their character. It’s something I talk a lot about in my reviews of the Redwall books. I appreciated that Chima showed both the manipulative, power-hungry side of D’Orsay and the loving, “family man” side of him.
I found Madison a bit irritating as a character, but I also liked the direction Chima went with her, especially since I initially thought that someone else would be the main focus (helped by the summary and the viewpoint of a certain character). The scenes at the end with the dragon were very nice, as well.
But I was mostly frustrated with what I felt was an oversight by Chima of several character threads as the book ended. The characters discuss the dangers of flame, yet there is no mention of Seph having to deal with the consequences after the battle (because he’s conveniently magically cured). I’m also disappointed that we missed out on any sort of discussion between Hastings/Linda and Seph about the flame. Speaking of Hastings, I hated that he wasn’t even seen throughout most of the book and I especially hated that he wasn’t at the final battle to dispatch Wylie. Wylie and Hastings were set up as nemeses in the first book, and the fact that we never see a confrontation between them is beyond disappointing.
Also, Jason is pretty much only useful as a character when he gets the Dragonstone at the beginning. After that, I don’t understand why he got so much attention, and his final scene meant absolutely nothing to me.
And what’s with the random wizards where Madison lives? They felt more like an insertion by Chima to create tension than anything else. They certainly didn’t mesh with the world.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
She felt the tug of the stone from across the room, dragging her forward. As it had before, the Dragonheart seemed to react to her presence, brightening, colors sliding over each other like brilliant paints sloshing in a jar.
She stood over the stone. As she extended her hand, the light from the stone stained her skin. Her breathing slowed, her eyelids drooped. A rush of brilliant images coursed through her mind: a castle built of stone, a jewellike valley ringed by rugged mountains, a procession of courtiers bearing gifts. She heard the whisper of a half-remembered song, lines of poetry that broke her heart. She heard someone calling a name she wanted to answer to.