A teen from Ohio discovers he's the last in a long line of magical warriors chosen to fight to the death.
Before he knew about the Roses, sixteen-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 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 living among us. At the head of this magical society sit 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.
As if his bizarre magical heritage weren'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. Can he learn to control his magic and fight off the Wizards who would claim him? Find out in the first book in the epic Heir Chronicles series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima!
An eons-old conflict meets teenage drama in newcomer Chima's engaging but somewhat derivative fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Jack, who nearly died as an infant, maintains a strict daily medicine regimen-but one day he accidentally misses his dose, and that afternoon at soccer practice he injures a fellow player without even touching him. Shortly thereafter, Jack's aunt Linda drags him on a hunt for information about his great-great-grandmother, for reasons she won't disclose. Aunt Linda, it turns out, is an enchanter, one player in an underground magical battle between the wizard houses of the Red Rose and White Rose. Jack too is one of the Weirflesh-the magical beings that live among modern-day humans-inheriting a "gift that is passed from generation to generation in a kind of stone or crystal that sits behind the heart." The houses wage an endless Hatfield-and-McCoy-like duel for control of the magical community, but the number of qualified wizards to play the game diminishes with each generation-making Jack a hot commodity (and his great-great-grandmother's grave contains the sword that Jack is to use in battle). Intrigue in the first half of the story gives way to arena action toward the end. The concept of a "wizard war" may be well worn, and character names such as Nicodemus Snowbeard could likely produce a giggle with long-time fantasy readers, but Potter fans looking for a new fantasy/mystery fix may well relish this tale. Ages 10-up.