So I'm condensing my lunch break to write this review. I actually finished the book last night, but was too tired to blog. I'm always fresher during daylight hours; good luck getting me to be productive at night!
The Warrior Heir
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Review: A good story is typically not an issue with published books. Getting printed means an editor liked it enough to back it with his/her publishing company's name and reputation. Captivating plotlines abound in our bookstores and libraries (both public and personal).
To some discerning readers, however, there is an added enthusiasm and respect for command over the written word. Writing is a craft, an art, something that we all learn, but so few of us master. Cinda Williams Chima, however, is a veritable savant.
In The Warrior Heir, Chima introduces us to Jack, a boy on the cusp of manhood, who is content with just making the soccer team. When on the day of tryouts Jack forgets to take the medicine he had ingested daily all his life, he finds himself more aware, more alive, more likely to get an opposing player killed (twice!). Soon after, his small-town existence collides into an age-old realm of Wizards, Enchanters, and others who control magic, thrusting Jack and those he holds most dear into a deadly game of intrigue and incantations, traditions and talismans. Jack is just a pawn to some of the characters we meet, but by the end of the book, everyone recognizes him for the star player that he is.
The story presents a compelling, balanced juxtaposition of personal discovery and epic events, mixing modern and medieval, mundane and mystic in a way that makes us wonder if perhaps Chima's world of Wizardry just might be true. And like visual art that provokes thought and evokes emotion through judicious employment of color and lines, Chima achieves those same goals through thoughtful word choice and eloquent phrasing. She spins a magical tale from her writing just as Lee spins fire out of the air in the first few enchanting pages of the prologue.
I had considered moving to a book from another author/series, but I can't wait to finish this trilogy. So more than likely, my next review will be for The Wizard Heir, Chima's follow-up to this story.
Oh, and a bit of an anti-spoiler (i.e., this will help you avoid spoilers): don't read anything about the other books in the series if you want to be truly in suspense when you finish the first book. You'll understand once you've read this one and moved onto the next.