An unexplained tragedy left no adult survivors from the thriving Thorn Hill community in Brazil and less than a thousand children to be rescued and brought back to the States. These children were not just left with emotional scars, they were changed at their most basic magical and physical levels. Calling themselves savants, the Thorn Hill children have become teens with serious magical complications that make them dangerous to ignore; Jonah Kinlock can kill with a single touch. Torn between his gentle heart and his magic, Jonah is starting to question what he believes about the status quo when Emma Greenwood appears. True, Emma's got her own secrets, but there are intriguing hints that she might be the key to understanding what happened in Thorn Hill. Can Jonah battle his hormones, keep his deadly secret, and still win Emma's trust before it is too late? 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. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
Gr 7 Up—The fourth installment to Chima's "Heir Chronicles" centers around two teens, Jonah Kinlock and Emma Greenwood. Ten years earlier, a massacre killed off all adults, leaving just child survivors known as savants, who are mutants endowed with skills that, once brought under control, can be used in ways to contribute to the survival of the community. Many of the them, however, require heavy medication and rarely live to adulthood. Those that die turn into shades, zombielike creatures that retain the memories of their past life and inhabit dead bodies. Jonah is a talented musician, enchanter, and trained assassin. His skin is poisonous and he can kill from a simple touch; his job is to rid the world of shades. Emma is also a talented musician, but unlike Jonah, she is not aware of her special abilities. The teens are star-crossed lovers with overwhelming obstacles blocking their paths. As Emma's world slowly converges with Jonah's, both of their lives spin into a chaotic downward spiral. Scattered with musical references throughout, the book also tackles serious themes of disability and discrimination. The cliff-hanger ending will leave readers restless for more. For those in need of a quick refresher, the author provides a series guide on her website.—Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VA
Chima returns to her best-selling contemporary fantasy series with an entry that is almost entirely setup--but such delicious setup. Ten years ago, something terrible happened at the magical commune of Thorn Hill, a refuge from vicious Weir infighting. Thousands died, leaving only a few hundred young children, horribly damaged and with mutated gifts. Jonah is one of those survivors, born a charismatic and empathetic enchanter but now cursed with a killing touch, which he reluctantly employs to hunt down the undead spawn of the massacre. Meanwhile, Emma scarcely remembers Thorn Hill and knows nothing of her sorcerous heritage, until her grandfather's murder sends her fleeing into the epicenter of Weir intrigue, prejudice, accusations and assassination. There are so many complicated storylines introduced here--characters old and new, factions with shifting allegiances and agendas, plots and counterplots and secrets and lies--that the protagonists don't even meet for over 100 pages, and the volume ends on a grisly cliffhanger. Yet the twisty narrative works, propelled by the deft characterizations of tortured, frustrated, desperate Jonah and fierce, feral, determined Emma and held together by the ubiquitous soundtrack of the blues, both literally and metaphorically. 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. (Fantasy, 14 & up)
Before the massacre, Thorn Hill seemed a peaceable place. In its aftermath, survivors were left with strange gifts. As a member of the Nightshade network, resident 17-year-old Jonah Kinlock now hunts the undead. But when person or persons unknown begin murdering members of the mainline Wizard Guild, the Nightshade members themselves become a target. As tensions escalate, Jonah and a hauntingly pretty new arrival realize that they must somehow ferret out the truth behind the killings.
* "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."Kirkus Reviews, starred review
PRAISE FOR THE WIZARD HEIR
"Chima uses her pen like a wand and crafts a wonderfully rich web of magic, while thankfully leaving some dangling threads for subsequent tales."VOYA"
Intriguing plot and subplot teasers abound, and the book ends in a cliffhanger that will have readers roaring for the next entry. Chima continues to excel at building tension and populating her well-told tales with new and returning characters we want to know better."Booklist
PRAISE FOR THE DRAGON HEIR"
Chima spins a finely structured tale that roars to a satisfying conclusion."School Library Journal
PRAISE FOR THE WARRIOR HEIR
*"Chima offers a pitch-perfect blend of high fantasy and small-town reality..."The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
PRAISE FOR THE WARRIOR HEIR
* "Twists and turns abound in this remarkable, nearly flawless debut novel that mixes a young man's coming-of-age with fantasy and adventure."VOYA (starred review)
PRAISE FOR THE WIZARD HEIR"
Chima is a talented storyteller...a strong choice for teens seeking a rousing read."The Cleveland Plain-Dealer
PRAISE FOR THE DRAGON HEIR
* "A superlative accomplishment."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)