Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Amazon Description:
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.

My Review:
The Warrior Heir was my FIRST EVER audio book. Well, sort of. I remember listening to audio books while taking trips as a kid, but they were "books on tape" and I don't remember what they were or if I liked them or not. I was just happy to have something that would distract my twin brother Stevie from picking on me during the 19 hour drive down to Florida....but The Warrior Heir was my first audio-book that I can really remember. I got it from the Library, because I had a 3 hour drive to school last weekend so that I could move some stuff from my apartment to the house I am moving to. I wont be able to go back until the start of the new school year, because the drive is so long. That’s a 6 hour round trip, so I figured why waste all that time when I could be listening to a book!

Audio book Commentary: Robert Ramirez did a good job narrating. I wasn't fond of his choice of inflection for Jack though...he always sounded so childish and weak, which was kind of an irritating quality for the protagonist of the story to possess. Actually listening started off really weird for me. Maybe I am just not used to audio books, but I felt that even though everything was moving really slow (I can read a 400 pg book or more in a day if I want) I was still missing things. I think I am just more of a visual person, meaning that I can understand something much better when I actually see a physical copy. I had trouble remembering character names, and keeping track of everyone and all the powers and types of magic there were until quite a ways into the book AND even that was after I started writing things down. I also got distracted a lot when listening to the book. It seems that my mind wanders quite a bit more when I'm listening than when I am actually looking at the pages of a book. Even though this was only my first audio-book experience, I think it may be my last...unless I have any 20 hour drives in my future.

Story Commentary: Wow this plot was really cool. Had I discovered this book when I was younger, it probably could have become one of my favorites. It is sad, because as I grow older, I am less and less able to appreciate books that target the younger teen/preteen audience. Though they are still fantastic and well written, I have trouble getting into them because of things like childish language and simplistic plots. This book wasn't really that immature, but the dialogue was very churlish to my ears that are used to being burned to a crisp by smutty, violent, and sexual language in adult books. I liked that Jack's world is rooted in history. The weirlings have their own history apart from humans as well as a deep-seeded need to know history, genealogy, and the past of their families.

One thing I really enjoyed was the segment that took place in Cedar Point. I grew up about 2 hours away, so I've gone to Cedar Point at least twice every summer since I can remember. It was cool to hear about the Blue Streak and Thunder Canyon in a book. I love books that take place in real places.I'm the exact type of book nerd who would go somewhere just to look for landmarks that I've read about in books. I don't mean big land marks like the CN tower or the statue of liberty. I mean the little coffee shop that a character stops at on their way to work, or a fountain where the characters had their first kiss. If it's a real place, that somehow increases the magic for me. For example, I have personally walked into the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross Station ...i'm going to just assume that because it didn't work for me, I am a Squib and will be starting my Qwikspell course asap...

The language: A lot of the writing and language was very overblown and slightly unrealistic. For example, Jack would rather die than be taken away by the White Rose? I don't think so. Human nature isn't really the self-sacrificing type. If Jack was opposed to fighting and violence in general, and didn't want to kill anyone I suppose I could kind of see him saying he would rather die. But he didn't even know that they wanted him to fight at that he claims he would rather die than be kidnapped? I don't know about you but if the choice is between the two, I would go with the kidnappers and hope to pull a houdini...because at least when you get kidnapped you have a chance to escape, a chance to fight. When you're dead, you're just dead...There were a lot of the language and concepts that were extremely overblown like that. Convictions were strong when there was no reason for them to be, arguments got heated when they really didn't make sense, and drama happened that was kind of silly.

The characters: I liked Jack. He was a good guy that has an interesting situation thrust upon him like so many adventures begin. The secondary characters weren't very well defined, but I have this sneaking suspiscion that they were good, except since it was an audio book I had trouble forming my picture of them. I enjoyed how the parents weren't a part of the story really. Becca is caring and worries like a mom should, but she isn't key. That is very tons of books the parents are taken out of the picture by being dead...or just totally uncaring. I like that Becca is there and acts like a normal mom, but she isn't interfering with the story and all that. Will and Finch were good as far as basic friend characters, Will having a tad more depth of character than Finch.I enjoyed them, but they were just too 2-dimensional for me. You could see though every action they made, every thought in their heads...made things a tad boring.

Rating: I give The Warrior Heir about a 7 out of 10...It wasn't fantastic, but it was entertaining and interesting. A lot of the plot twists completely caught me off guard, which is unusual. I think it is a little more suited for younger teens. It would be a great lead-in to the world of magic and fantasy.I will probably be checking out the next book or two in the series when I get around to the library...but I probably won't be listening to the audio books...they just take too long to listen to. I could be doing so many things...actually, now that I think about it, I could probably work out while listening and kill two birds...ahhh...darn you audio books...
Wow...this got to be a lot longer than I planned for it being...Sorry if y'all don't like long reviews!  Happy Thursday everyone!



  1. I've had this sitting on my shelf FOREVER! I really need to start it!!!

  2. I'm a bit sad that the narrator made Jack sound childish. I read and LOVE the Heir trilogy, THE WARRIOR HEIR remaining my favorite of the three. Jack's cool, NOT kiddish!!

  3. I think this book was pretty cool. The main character was pretty awesome.