Title: The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles #1)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
From Goodreads: "One March day, Jack Swift, a high school student in a small college town, forgets to take the medicine he’s taken daily since he was an infant. There ensues a cascade of events that puts him in mortal danger.
Jack discovers he carries a secret within him that has made him a target of the ruthless wizards of the Red and White Rose. Jack is a Warrior Heir, the last of a dying breed, sought after by the Roses to fight in the tournaments that are used to allocate power among the Wizard Houses. Unknown to him, Jack has lived all his life surrounded by members of the Magical Guilds: wizards, enchanters, soothsayers, and sorcerers. They are determined to save him from the Roses.
With the aid of his aunt, a beautiful enchanter, Jack desperately tries to acquire the skills that might save his life. Jack and his friends, Will and Fitch, unearth a magical sword from a cemetery and fight off the wizards who would take it from them. Jack begins training with the dark and dangerous Leander Hastings, a wizard with a mysterious past.
Meanwhile, Jack is torn between his attraction to Ellen Stephenson, a new student at Trinity High School, and Leesha Middleton, his former girlfriend, who decides she wants him back.
Discovered and besieged by treachery at home, he flees to the Lake District of England. There he is confronted by the greatest challenge of all. "
My Opinion: I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Jack Swift is just going about his normal life in a small town in Ohio, minding his own business, when he forgets to take his heart medicine and his life is changed forever. Jack finds out that there is a whole world of magic out there, and because he was born a warrior heir, he is being sought out by two warring factions of magicians and witches, the Red Rose House and the White Rose House. Warrior heirs are very rare so as soon as he is made known to the magic world, he is in grave danger, since the Houses don't exactly ask nicely for him to fight for them. The worst part is that since his mother and his aunt have shielded him from this world, he has no idea how to fight (he finds a magic sword which was passed down to him and which he has no idea how to use). He has to learn very fast though and gets help from strategically based people in his small town who, as it turns out, have been watching over him for years and who are ready to help him out now. My favorite relationship in the book is the one that Jack has with his two non-magical friends, Fitch and Will. Even though they don't possess magic, when Jack is forced to go on the run following a class trip to London, they go along with him, risking their lives and jumping feet first into a very scary unknown future, because they refuse to let Jack fight this battle alone.
For me personally the beginning was a bit slow, and it took me a while to really get into it. but I'm glad I didn't give up on it. The rest of the story was very action packed and filled with adventure, and I really liked the boys and their aunt, and the boys' friend and Jack's former girlfriend, Leesha, who helps out as well, but I wasn't quite as fond of the new girl in school, Ellen Stephenson, who catches Jack's eye, because as I read on I found out that I am strongly "Team Leesha"!
I thought the pacing was a tiny bit off, moving quickly when Jack and company were fighting, but moving more slowly when they weren't, but it wasn't off enough to keep me from enjoying the book. I've read some other reviews for this book that mention teenage boys who really liked the book and even though they weren't big readers, they finished this book and gave it an A+, which is a huge recommendation! I plan on giving it to my son to read when he gets a little bit older based on these reviews because I'm always looking for books that appeal to teenage and pre-teen boys, so thank you very much for that Ms. Chima!
In summary, I thought this book started a bit slow but it more than made up for that in the end. Jack was a very likable character who fought against his destiny, but in the end, like all heroes, he accepted his fate and did what was required. I recommend this book to all teenage readers and lovers of YA fantasy books that deal with magic and witches and all of that fun stuff! I give this book an enthusiastic 5 stars because any book that has mature adults, young adults, and teens reading it and enjoying it deserves 5 stars :D