A Review: The Treacherous World of Wizarding

Title:  The Wizard Heir
Author:  Cinda Williams Chima
Release Date:  April 24, 2007
Publisher:  Disney Hyperion
Genre:  Speculative Fiction
Length:  458 pages

Status: Series

Sum It Up (from Amazon)

Sixteen year old wizard Seph McCauley has spent the past 3 years bouncing from one exclusive private school to another. Orphaned as a baby, Seph was raised by Genevieve LeClerc, the sorcerer owner of a Toronto bed and breakfast. LeClerc tried to protect Seph from the treacherous world of wizardry by keeping him away from others of his kind.

But now LeClerc is dead, leaving Seph on his own and without the training he needs to control his growing power. He prowls the illegal clubs of Toronto’s warehouse district, plagued by magical accidents that are increasing in frequency and severity. Worse, he’s beginning to realize that the stories he’s been told about his parents’ life and death are fabrications—that the people he most trusted have been lying to him.

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. At first, it seems like the answer to his prayers. Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and enroll him in the mysterious order of wizards known as the Alumni. But the dream quickly turns into a nightmare as Seph learns there is a price to be paid for knowledge.

Everyone around him is keeping secrets: Jason Haley, a fellow student who’s been told to stay away from Seph; the enchanter Linda Downey, who knew his parents; the rogue wizard Leander Hastings, and the warriors Jack Swift and Ellen Stephenson. Seph finds himself at the center of a war that he may not survive.

Let’s Review, Shall We?

Hello again! I hope you all have had a great week so far! I apologize for the week hiatus from blogging. I have been fighting some kind of weird stomach virus that has been going around, so, it has been a crazy week for me. Who wants to be sick during the summer, right?! The worst thing about it has been saying a temporary farewell to one of my greatest loves–coffee. Alas, it has been a struggle (Especially with these cloudy days. I love drinking coffee and reading/writing on overcast days.)! But, on a lighter note, I have a new book review for you! (But, as you can see, Linus did not want me to write today. Mind you, he never does this!)

Not Today

So, I recently finished reading the second novel, The Wizard Heir, in the Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima. I truly loved the first novel in the series, The Warrior Heir, because of its adventure, mystery, and magic. Williams Chima created a unique world that piggybacks on the reality of our own world, and I always seem to fall for this type of story. You know the one I am talking about. It’s the one in which a character living their everyday, mundane life finds there is much more to their world than meets the eye. Suddenly, greatness or the expectation of greatness, is thrust upon them, and they must rise to the occasion before the world as we know it comes to an end! Something like that. I digress.

Needless to say that I was excited that there would be more to the story. But, The Wizard Heir  continues with Seph, an untrained wizard who knows little to nothing about his abilities, or the Weir, which leads to trouble in controlling his powers. After setting the horrific fire (thanks to one of the books’ most hate-able villains), Seph struggles with forgiving himself as well as atoning for his actions. The theme that one can rise above their circumstances and actions resonates with this novel, and I enjoyed watching Seph learn about himself and grow as a character.

I also liked exploring different aspects of the Weir world which Williams Chima has created. Since we are seeing things from an alternative character’s point of view, we get more details. Jack’s perspective in The Warrior Heir was limited to his story, and with Seph we get to see from different angles and learn more about the wizarding world especially. As expected, we do not particularly learn good things. Seph sees a completely different reality, and those who tried to shelter him did him no favors. I’m looking at you Genevieve and Linda!

That being said, I struggled a little with the alternative perspective, feeling a disconnection from Seph. After having grown attached to Jack and his supporting characters I felt like a bit of a traitor empathizing with a strange wizard-type character. Even though he is no Jack, Seph began to grow on me. He showed incredible fortitude and endurance that impressed me, and he gained my respect.

(***Minor Spoiler Ahead***)

However, after so much torture to a character, they inevitably begin to break, and that is where a familiar face swoops in to save the day! Just like that, the two worlds of the first and second books overlap, building a bridge across the chasm of disconnection that I was beginning to feel for this installment. At first, I had been disappointed that some of the characters I had grown to love were wholly absent. But, patience is a virtue, and I was well rewarded. Granted, I still like Jack more than Seph, but maybe that is because I can relate more to the warriors than the wizards. Huh. Food for thought.

Overall:  4 out of 5 stars

Hooray! You can buy The Wizard Heir via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any other major bookseller. Check out Cinda Williams Chima’s website, too! She has some great stuff for readers and writers alike!

Additional reviews:

  • Loukia gave a great review about her impressions of the book here!
  • Anne did a hilarious review with some excellent GIFs on Goodreads!

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