The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Enchanter Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima, was published in 2013 by Hyperion. It is the sequel to The Dragon Heir.

They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre—the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed: like the other survivors, Jonah possesses unique magical gifts that set him apart from members of the mainline guilds. At seventeen, Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a network that hunts the undead. Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away, an unschooled wild child raised by a grandfather who taught her music rather than magic. Her life changes forever the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah’s life—and a shared legacy of secrets and lingering questions. Was Thorn Hill really a peaceful commune? Or was it, as the Wizard Guild claims, a hotbed of underguild terrorists? The Wizards’ suspicions grow when members of the mainline guilds start turning up dead. They blame Nightshade, bringing tensions between the groups to a head. Racing against time, Jonah and Emma work to uncover the truth about Thorn Hill, amid increasing concern that whoever planned the Thorn Hill Massacre might strike again.

I struggled to get through The Enchanter Heir. I found it tedious and lacking in plot and development, with more time devoted to describing how enchanting Jonah is and to music lyrics than to actually advancing the plot. That’s one of the problems I’ve had with Chima, even in her Seven Realms novels (which for the most part I adored): there are always large chunks of her books that I feel are unnecessary and should be edited out.

I did find the setting intriguing, if only because Thorn Hill reads like some tragic superhero origin story. However, I didn’t think keeping the heroes from the first three books the same age was a good move. When I started the book, I thought that this was going to be a “fastforward five or so years” and that Jack, Seph, and the rest would be older. And I was excited about that! But no, these events take place directly after the events of The Dragon Heir (maybe a year or so later), and it actually made no sense to me. If Thorn Hill was such a big deal, and the kids who came out of it are so hated/feared, then why wasn’t it mentioned earlier in the series?

(And yes, I know, it’s because obviously Chima hadn’t thought of it yet and so didn’t include it in the first three books. But that’s why I was expecting a time-jump—it would have made everything seem much more natural than just introducing “hey, new world information!” with no prior setup.)

I also hated how prominent villains of the first three books were dispatched in the prologue of this book. It was incredibly anticlimactic, not to mention that we missed out once again on a Hastings/Wylie showdown. So much for setting them up as rivals in the first book.

A few other things I didn’t like: the introduction of the undead and the poor explanation as to why they were there; the complete lack of plot development during the second half of the book, with time instead being taken up with bands and lyrics and love angst; and the darn cliffhanger ending. I used to not mind cliffhanger endings, but now I am really started to get annoyed by them.

Rating: 1/5

Recommended Age Range: 16+

Warnings: One or two sensual scenes, violence.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

“Though wizards would have planned the operation, it would have been sorcerers who developed and compounded the poison,” Gabriel said.

They all stared at him.

“Why haven’t you told us that before?” Jonah said finally.

“I thought it was obvious.” Gabriel shrugged. “That’s the role of sorcerers—compounding medicinals and the like.”

“Why would sorcerers collaborate with wizards?”

Overall Review:

Unfortunately, The Enchanter Heir was just full of way too many things that annoyed me, such as the tedium of the pacing, the too-long filler and the too-short plot development, the inexplicability of the whole Thorn Hill situation (as interesting as it is), and the annoying love-angst between Jonah and Emma. I don’t even know if I want to read the last book.

You can buy this here: The Enchanter Heir

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