The Warrior Heir

Cinda Williams Chima, Author Hyperion Books for Children $16.99 (426p) ISBN 978-0-7868-3916-2
An eons-old conflict meets teenage drama in newcomer Chima's engaging but somewhat derivative fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Jack, who nearly died as an infant, maintains a strict daily medicine regimen-but one day he accidentally misses his dose, and that afternoon at soccer practice he injures a fellow player without even touching him. Shortly thereafter, Jack's aunt Linda drags him on a hunt for information about his great-great-grandmother, for reasons she won't disclose. Aunt Linda, it turns out, is an enchanter, one player in an underground magical battle between the wizard houses of the Red Rose and White Rose. Jack too is one of the Weirflesh-the magical beings that live among modern-day humans-inheriting a ""gift that is passed from generation to generation in a kind of stone or crystal that sits behind the heart."" The houses wage an endless Hatfield-and-McCoy-like duel for control of the magical community, but the number of qualified wizards to play the game diminishes with each generation-making Jack a hot commodity (and his great-great-grandmother's grave contains the sword that Jack is to use in battle). Intrigue in the first half of the story gives way to arena action toward the end. The concept of a ""wizard war"" may be well worn, and character names such as Nicodemus Snowbeard could likely produce a giggle with long-time fantasy readers, but Potter fans looking for a new fantasy/mystery fix may well relish this tale. Ages 10-up.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 426 pages - 978-0-7868-3917-9
Prebound-Glued - 426 pages - 978-1-4177-7668-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9739-0
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