Chima orchestrates a world gravid with smoke and grit and sudden death, throbbing with hopeless longings, messy affections, festering resentments, passionate hungers, inevitable betrayals, and miraculous flashes of beauty and grace. A smoldering story soaked in tears, sweat and blood, constantly threatening to blaze into an inferno. Spellbinding.
VOYA – Stacey Hayman
Teens will be more than relieved when they can finally put their hands on this next, long-awaited entry in the Heir Chronicles series. Jonah and Emma, along with a collection of secondary characters, deal with half-truths and lies hidden in their own histories while finding unexpected connections that continue developing storylines from previous books in the series. The fighting and weaponry will have strong appeal for boys, while the musical references will appeal to any teen interested in crafting their own music, lyrics, or poetry. The surprise ending, with plenty of loose threads left hanging, will intrigue and frustrate fans who now must begin to wait all over again.
There’s one thing that I enjoy about the Young Adult genre: the authors are very creative and can get away with certain things that even New Adult or Adult genres can’t. Typical tropes and clichés are twisted into a way that’s unique to the story but are still reminiscent of the genre as a whole.
I’ve been a fan of the Heir Series by Cinda Williams Chima since it first hit bookshelves, as it was able to blend the present world as we know it with a magical element that is rather believable-if you’re into that sort of thing. However, the first three books seemed like a complete trilogy, where this book, The Enchanter Heir, seems like an afterthought tacked on to expand the series.
There are many aspects that separate this novel from the rest of the series, including the timeline, events, and the adult themes portrayed within the pages. But Chima still manages to bring in elements of the previous three books to make it as cohesive a transition as possible.
Chima has always been able to seamlessly interweave two separate narratives into the overarching plot of the previous stories, but it seems like these two characters deserve books of their own as their stories seem to be bigger than the main characters from the previous books. The clash of the normal and the fantastical has been well-balanced in each book, and The Enchanter Heir is no different.
The story follows Jonah Hinlock and Emma Greenwood, two survivors of Thorn Hill, where a massacre slaughtered the entire colony. The first half of the story is told from the point of view of both characters until they eventually meet up. However, unlike the other books, there seems to be two distinct storylines running through the main plot, whereas the other books had one overarching goal.
As I mentioned earlier, this seems to be the most “adult” book from the series, as it touches upon elements that many YA readers may not have dealt with or can comprehend completely. There are massacres, and although we did see huge battles in book 3, it wasn’t to this extent. There’s more to it; it’s more like a terrorist attack or genocide in terms of the overall devastation. The characters in this book have to grow up fast to survive.
While reading through the entirety of the novel, in the first third of the book, hardly anything is clear. You have a sense of the world thanks to the previous books, but there’s so much new information and things that maybe should have been touched upon in the first three books. It seems like a spinoff to the original series, but later on, it’s clear that isn’t what’s happening.
Like with all YA novels, there’s the typical romance: Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Girl likes Boy. Boy ruins it. Boy fixes it at the end. However, in this case, the romance almost didn’t take place, and we only get small hints of it throughout the story. Jonah’s touch is deadly, killing anyone who touches him skin to skin, and while all survivors of Thorn Hill have supercharged magical abilities, it’s not always enough to keep them safe. Apparently, only your true love is. At least in Emma’s case. They share a kiss after a brutal attack, where Jonah believes he has killed her, but she miraculously survives. But we don’t know why, and won’t until the next book is released.
The overall plot has some great twists and turns to keep the readers engaged, especially toward the end of the book when you finally realize how much this book and the other three are intertwined. It all starts making sense, and then the novel just ends. We’re left with a big cliffhanger and so many questions left unanswered. In the past, the books were complete stories in and of themselves, but this one seems like a part 1/part 2 sort of thing. As I came to the last page, there were very specific questions still on my mind that needed answering:
What is Emma’s ability and is it tied in to her survival of touching Jonah?
Why are we only hearing about Thorn Hill now?
How much time has elapsed from book 3 to 4?
If all this was intentional, I’m sure other readers will now be itching to get their hands on the next installment of the Heir series to see how everything turns out. I know I’m looking forward to it.
P.S. For those who have read the series and are looking to close the gap from book 3 to 4, head to Chima’s website and read Dead to Me, a 10-page short story that connects the two stories from Leesha Middleton’s point of view. Although a minor character throughout the series, she’s been involved with every storyline. I know some things make more sense now, but without this little story, I’d still be in the dark on a few things.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars