04 July 2011

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The covenant that was meant to keep the wizard wars at bay has been stolen, and Trinity must prepare for attack.  Everyone is doing their part: Seph is monitoring the Weirwalls, Jack and Ellen are training their ghostly army, even Anaweir Will and Fitch are setting booby traps around the town’s perimeter.  But to Jason Haley it seems like everyone wants to keep him out of the action.  He may not be the most powerful wizard in Trinity, but he’s prepared to fight for his friends.

Everything changes, though, when Jason finds a powerful talisman—a huge opal called the Dragonheart—buried in a cave.  The stone seems to sing to Jason’s very soul—showing him that he’s meant for more than anyone’s guessed.

Moral compasses spin out of control as a final battle storms through what was once a sanctuary for the gifted.  With so much to lose,w hat will the people of Trinity be willing to fight for—and what will they sacrifice?  It’s everyone for himself in this thrilling conclusion to the Heir trilogy.

Though not as endearing or as satisfying as the first two, The Dragon Heir is a stunning addition to the series.

The book focused mostly on Maddie and Jason, both introduced in the previous book,  The Wizard Heir, though there were plenty of shifts between POVs.  I really like Maddie and Jason—Maddie, for her ferocity and Jason for his complexity.

But I was confused about some things.  There were a few plot points that were slacking.  For instance, the way the book opens is with Maddie's infamous grandmother Min telling her about these four pretty boys she'll meet—two who will steal her heart and two that will deceive her.  I think that whole aspect could have been eliminated entirely.  It didn't hold up very well towards the end; didn't seem important at all.  The book could have done well without it.

I had problems with the very beginning and the very, very end.  Just…the way it ended?  From a strategic standpoint, the whole "where they are now" scene should have been put into it's own chapter—the Epilogue.  There was no "floating down" period—a denouement, if you will—where you were guided through the full impact of the climax.  A lot of crap went down.  There should have been something more—the mourning period and reconstruction progress should have had more than a paragraph a piece dedicated to it.

I loved the battle scenes—so well described. I could picture all the chaos and fighting and the character's reactions.  I was glad the fighting lived up to the anticipation.  I would have dropped a star on the rating if there had been all this panic about an attack only to have a tiny little fight scene.

I like how Cinda Williams Chima switched between the setting at Trinity and Booker Mountain.  She kept the atmospheres unique to each other.  However, I think the book would have been tighter had she kept to just Maddie and Jason's points of view.  It seemed as if Chima tried doing too much with too many characters.  It gave the story a looseness where I expected iron-clad progress.

The one part I really liked was how Seph's character was expanded.  After reading The Wizard Heir, which was mostly in his point of view and now into The Dragon Heir where he's shown through the eyes of other characters, you can see his transition from rich boy arrogance to home grown humility to self-sacrificial hero.

This transition in Seph shouldn't be the focus, however. Jason's character didn't really change or grow.  So at the end, I was confused at his depiction.  I liked the change in Maddie.  Her story was very cool and it made the end of the story very satisfying.  Though taking a step back from her character, I didn't like how whiny she seemed sometimes and her romantic interest just didn't hold up.  I didn't believe that she was really in love with anyone.

I loved the plot twist at the end, though.  Fantastic!

Other than some plot holes and overdoing the POVs, it was an absolutely thrilling conclusion to the series.  (Though it isn't the conclusion.  Chima has a sequel coming! *squeeage*)

Book Info:
  • pages – paperback, 499
  • published – September 2009
  • publisher – Hyperion/Disney
  • genre – urban fantasy
  • received via – Borders :)
  • rating – 4/5
  • series – The Heir Chronicles
    • The Warrior Heir
    • The Wizard Heir
    • The Dragon Heir
    • The Enchanter Heir