Series Review: The Heir Trilogy by Cinda Williams Chima

Warrior Heir WizardHeir Dragon Heir

They fought for glory, but not for blood. They were Weirlind, heirs of the warrior’s stone. And they always slept better with blades beneath their beds.

Goodreads synopsis:

An epic battle between good and evil…

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great – until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts.

Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game – a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.

As if his bizarre heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he’s not just another member of Weirlind – he’s one of the last of the warriors – at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.

My thoughts:

The Heir trilogy is a modern fantasy trilogy that takes place in a world where some people are ‘gifted’, or better known as the Weir. These people are born with special stones near their hearts that allow them access to different types of magic: Warriors have physical magic, Wizard magic is bound by words, Enchanters employ the use of mind magic, Sorcerers toil away with material magic and Seers are able to see the future. All Weir are not made equal however. Wizard magic being the most flexible allowed the Wizards to lead Weir society and rule over the four underguilds for centuries using Warriors in their Game to determine the head of the Wizard Council. But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever.

The premise of the Heir trilogy is probably my favorite part. I feel like it had so much potential that wasn’t utilized in these first three books. Over the course of the trilogy the most emphasis was placed on Warriors and Wizards leaving the abilities of the three remaining guilds up to our speculation. Yes, Enchanters and Sorcerers had their mentions but it really wasn’t enough. Also, Seers were left out entirely and I feel like that’s just really bad representation.

The plot of the trilogy is built on the Wizard’s Game to determine the head of the Council. The two main Wizard houses, the White Rose and the Red Rose, both employ Warrior champions to fight to the death as proxies. The main character of the first book, The Warrior Heir, is the intended representative of the White Rose. Except, he won’t go along with their plans easily.

Each of the books had different protagonists with their own intertwining storylines, all central to the Game. The strongest plot of the three was definitely Wizard and it’s protagonist Joseph ‘Seph’ McCauley. It was truly an eventful experience compared to Warrior and Dragon. Warrior was expectedly slow being the book that lay the foundation for future walks in the Weir world but Dragon definitely wasn’t the conclusion I had wanted. Or even if it was, it was a bit too… neat — as a friend of mine put it.

While the trilogy is definitely not lacking in action and adventure, things did drag on a bit at times. This I attributed to the changing perspectives. Not only would we read from the main characters’ points of view, but sometimes we read from those of supporting characters or even the antagonists’. I always love multiple POV stories because they make for a more three dimensional and immersive plot but things can easily start to fall over themselves if you throw in a perspective for everyone.

On the topic of perspectives, let’s touch on the characters. My favorite of the protagonists was definitely Seph, the Wizard Heir. I feel like Jack got the short end of the stick being our introduction to the Weir world but to be honest, I didn’t see him growing much over the course of the story. Seph on the other hand had the most growth of the three. I won’t even mention the protagonist of the final book for fear of spoilers but let it be known that he was my least favorite to read from. The supporting characters were way more interesting and felt more developed than some of our protagonists, especially the final one. This is definitely something I hope CWC addressed in her follow up to the trilogy.

Would I recommend this trilogy? The short answer: no. The long answer: Yes, but not as an introduction to YA modern fantasy. It’s a bit difficult to follow at times and can be hard to digest. But once you’ve gotten used to the world of fantasy, come give it a try. There is definitely a lot to experience in the world of the Weir.

– GJA

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