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Reviewed by:
  • The Warrior Heir
  • Karen Coats
Chima, Cinda Williams The Warrior Heir. Hyperion, 2006426p ISBN 0-7868-3916-3$16.99 R* Gr. 7-10

When Jack was a baby, he had lifesaving open-heart surgery. Since then, he's taken a dose of medicine every day of his ordinary small-town life in Trinity, Ohio. One day, when he is sixteen, he forgets to take his medicine, and his life changes forever. Through a dramatic and violent turn of events, he learns that he is a member of the Weirlind, a race of magical people who live among us, acting out their wars and tensions in and out of human history, and that his magic was kept at bay by his medication. His specific role in Weir society is that of a Warrior—a champion who will fight to the death in a tournament designed to establish what faction holds power in the socially stratified and corrupt world of the Weirlind. With the help of Will and Fitch, Jack's best friends, and various Weirfolk, who each has his or her own investment in Jack's destiny, Jack recovers the sword of his ancestors, learns to fight, and eventually ends up in a tournament that could change the fate of the Weir forever. Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality; her well-developed secondary characters keep both Jack and the reader grounded as the stakes for Jack's participation in the tournament mount. Plot twists and surprises make perfect sense in retrospect in this densely imagined and fully realized world; instead of staying up all night racing to the end, readers will want to put this one down occasionally to savor possibilities and work out connections on their own before following through with Chima's well-wrought climax. A moral subtext that considers the ethics of medical manipulation, hierarchical societies, and spectatorial bloodlust deepens but never overwhelms the action. Fans of action/adventure, fantasy, and even videogames will find this an absorbing read.



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