Warrior Heir
by Chima, Cinda Williams

After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards.

Gr. 8-11. Sixteen-year-old Jack forgets to take his medicine one morning, and by afternoon is filled with such strength he sends his rival, Garrett Lobeck, sailing into the net at soccer tryouts-without even touching him. Jack soon discovers he is no ordinary teen and his medicine is not what he thought it was. Since the secret insertion of a warrior stone in his chest at infancy, Jack has been dosed with a suppressant designed to hold his powers as a Warrior Heir in check until his wizard sponsor can retrieve him and prepare him to fight in a death tournament for supremacy. With the aid of an aunt, old and new friends, and a magical sword, Jack fights to retain his identity and choose his own path. The magical elements of the story aren't adequately set up, and some necessary details seem hastily inserted, while others are left hanging. Together with loose, occasionally redundant plotting, this is a book for avid, forgiving fantasy readers-particularly those for whom an intriguing premise is enough to keep them involved. ((Reviewed April 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Ordinary youth unearths a mysterious artifact, discovers his secret heritage and becomes the pivotal figure in an epic battle between Good and Evil. The hero this time is Jack Swift, average Ohio teenager, until one day he skips his dose of "heart medication" and nearly kills a classmate. Suddenly sinister dark strangers are in pursuit, and Jack frantically attempts to master a magical sword and his warrior powers, in a centuries-long wizards' game in which Jack is both pawn and prize. Chima's writing is graceful, if clichéd, with an acute ear for the rhythms of Midwestern small towns. Jack is a likable fellow, but his confusing muddle of friends, family, allies and enemies are mostly shallow stereotypes issued directly from central casting, each with the requisite Deep Dark Secret awaiting dramatic revelation. While the plot draws heavily on standard fantasy tropes, they are skillfully rendered, building to a predictable but well-scripted showdown and a genuinely unexpected climactic twist. A competent, unexceptionable addition to teen fantasy shelves; the sort of thing you'll like if you really like that sort of thing. (Fantasy. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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