Here is my review of the second book in the Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima. Like the first book, this is actually the third time I’ve read through this book. I think one of the things that makes these books so re-readable is the surprises.
There are several fun plot twists and reveals that happen in these books (at least the ones I’ve read so far) that make you want to go back and read it again to see all the sneaky foreshadowing. At least it did for me.
Synopsis: Wizard Heir
This story starts about two years after the events of the first book and we are following an entirely new character. Seph McCauley is a sixteen year old wizard living in Toronto. Seph is having some difficulties. He has no idea who his parents were. The sorcerer who was his foster mother has died.
On top of that, he has hardly any idea on how to use his wizard powers. The result is that he ends up having a lot of magical accidents, like setting stuff on fire by accident. This causes him to get kicked out of schools a lot.
Seph eventually ends up at a school for “troubled” teen boys, which he then learns is a front to help find young un-trained wizards like himself. The headmaster, Gregory Leicester, turns out to be a wizard as well. He offers to help train Seph, but at a steep cost. It turns out that Leicester, like most wizards in this world, has his own agenda.
So I realized after writing my last review that the cities in this series aren’t actually very big. A good part of the first book takes place in London, so that might count as “urban” enough for an “urban-fantasy” label.
This story, however, takes place mostly at a secluded boys school in the middle of no where. Though we do eventually get back to Trinity, Ohio, the small town from the first book. So it’s more of a suburban-fantasy story than “pure” urban-fantasy.
I really enjoyed the new characters that were brought in this story. Most of the characters from the previous book played substantial roles in this one as well. So all of your favorites will make an appearance. Seph is a more interesting as a main character than Jack I think.
He’s charming and clever and more independent. The two main supporting characters are also even more interesting. Jason is another young wizard, who is a street smart punk with a vendetta. Madison is an artist and… a mystery. I really don’t want to give more than that because I don’t want to spoil anything.
There is one thing in this book that I feel the need to address. Seph, the main character, is portrayed as a practicing Catholic. From a certain perspective it makes sense that Chima would write it this way. The ritual of Catholic prayer that Seph associates with is a nice contrast to the dark magic/pagan rituals of the villain.
The main problem I have is that one of the mentor characters claims that wizardry is compatible with Catholicism. As a Bible-believing Christian and practicing Catholic myself, I can assure any readers that in real life this is not the case.
Real-life wizardry is condemned in Scripture. That being said, since this is a work of fiction, there is nothing to prevent us readers from enjoying it as a work of fiction.
The next book on the list is The Dragon Heir. I’m super excited to re-read this since I only remember a few things about it. Also, after The Dragon Heir we enter uncharted territory since I haven’t read the last two books yet.