The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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.

Rating: 2/5

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: None.

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.

Overall Review:

The Dragon Heir was ultimately disappointed, due to the glaring lack of resolution to several plot threads and the amount of extra material that I felt was unnecessary and made the book more bloated than it needed to be. I did like the action, and the scene at the end with the dragon was very pretty, but overall, I’m not impressed.

You can buy this here: The Dragon Heir

The Wizard Heir: Starts Off Slow, But Ends Satisfyingly

The Wizard Heir is written by Cinda Williams Chima. It was published in 2007 by Hyperion. It is the sequel to The Warrior Heir.

Sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley has spent the past three years being kicked out of one exclusive private school after another. And its not his attitude that’s the problem: it’s the trail of magical accidents—lately, disasters—that follow in his wake. Seph is a wizard, orphaned and untrained, and his powers are escalating out of control. After causing a tragic fire at an after-hours party, Seph is sent to the Havens, a secluded boys’ school on the coast of Maine. Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and initiate him into his mysterious order of wizards. But Seph’s enthusiasm dampens when he learns that training comes at a steep cost, and that Leicester plans to use his students’ powers to serve his own wicked agenda.

I liked The Wizard Heir a little better than The Warrior Heir, mainly because I was used to the world and the difference in Chima’s style (from the Seven Realms series) all ready. It was nice to see a new character, but also see that new character interact with the old ones. I think I like Hastings even more in this novel, too.

While the beginning took a little bit for me to get into, simply because Seph didn’t start out the type of character I enjoy reading, the middle/ending was really well done in terms of action and tension and kept me reading. The first big plot twist Chima pulls was pretty obvious, especially since her viewpoint switches give it away, but the second one I did not expect at all and was pretty awesome. I also like how each book so far has a stand-alone arc (yes, this one doesn’t end on a cliffhanger! Happiness!) in addition to the continuous one (that I can see more clearly in this one as opposed to the first) and that the main villain of this one is dispatched at the end–not a lot of threads left hanging, everything ends pretty tidily.

The inclusion of Madison Moss seemed a little too convenient, although how they used her Super Special Power was really neat.

The next book has Jason as the main viewpoint, apparently, which I’m not really looking forward to since I found him annoying in this book (but hopefully he’ll be more endearing if I’m in his head).

Rating: 4/5

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

“Jason, what do you know about Joseph McCauley?” The voice was complex, full of fire and ice, sorcery and menace.

Jason toyed with his earring, frowning, as if struggling to remember. “He’s the one you told me about, right? He spent a lot of time in this building over winter break. I think I’ve seen him in the workout rooms.”

“We’ve been working with him all year, but we aren’t making the kind of progress we would like. He’s hallucinating. Delusional. Dangerously symptomatic. But refuses our help. And now there’s been a change in his behavior that makes me think perhaps he’s been spending time with you.” The voice was gently on the surface, but then was steel underneath. “Do you remember our discussion about your negative influence on the other boys?”

Overall Review:

I am starting to like the world of The Wizard Heir a little better, and although the book starts out a little slow, by the end it’s fast-paced and gripping. Madison Moss is a little too convenient and is more of a Chekhov’s Gun than anything else but her power is cool. Hastings really fits the role of Enigmatic, Powerful Wizard well and is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. The book is still a little strange and Chima’s prose could be a little better, but the series seems to be improving.

You can buy this here: The Wizard Heir