Friday, February 19, 2016

The Sorcerer Heir - Cinda Williams Chima (Heir Chronicles #5)

18469705The Sorcerer Heir is supposedly the last book in Cinda Williams Chima's Heir Chronicles.  I say supposedly because The Dragon Heir was supposed to be the last book, but then she went on and wrote two more, so I don't think we can really say that she's done with this series completely and certainly.  She could always come back with a new one years down the road--after all, she hasn't really touched on the seer guild yet, and The Seer Heir has such a ring to it, don't you think?

The Sorcerer Heir is also the most direct sequel in the series.  The other books all had related storylines, but with new main characters in each.  The Sorcerer Heir, in comparison, picks up with the same story and same characters as The Enchanter Heir, the book before it.  It continues to follow Jonah Kinlock, the boy with the deadly touch, and Emma Lee Greenwood, the girl with the gift of music, in the wake of the events that ended The Enchanter Heir.  Shades and murder continue to plague the Weir community, and it's completely unclear who is behind it all.  Williams Chima does a good job keeping us chasing our own tails as the characters run hither and yon, all blaming each other for what happened, but I think the "twist" is pretty apparent to a savvy reader if you just poke at it enough.  That said, it wasn't so blatantly obvious that I thought the characters were morons for not figuring it out; they didn't have the same information available to them, after all, or at least not individually, and they didn't know enough to ask the right questions of each other for the vast majority of the book.

Williams Chima also re-integrates Leesha as a semi-main character here.  She gets a number of chapters to herself, which seem superfluous at the beginning but build interest and importance as the story goes on.  I don't remember Leesha enough from the earlier books to say if this is something I would have wanted, but I did like it, at least towards the middle and end.  Leesha's story is really one of redemption, probably more than any other character, and it was neat to see her finally get some resolution in that respect, especially because so few of the other characters got any real sense of resolution.  The end of the book in general is very open, which is one of the things that makes me think that we might see a sixth Heir book sometime in the future.  A lot of things are left up in the air, with the attitude of "Well, if they become problems, then we'll deal with them then," which seems both like not a good attitude to take toward the undead roaming your city who potentially want to kill you, and also like a cop-out so that the storyline can be continued in a future book if reader demand is great enough.

That said, with author ploys aside, I did like this.  It certainly gets going faster than The Enchanter Heir did, probably because Enchanter did all of the set-up for it.  There is action, conflict, and tension pretty much from the beginning.  I wish that there had been a bit more interaction between our two main characters; there's such tension between Emma and Jonah that I thought it had to be going somewhere every time they were in the same room, and yet it never really did.  They had such build-up in the first book, but it never really matured into anything in this one.  Again, I suspect this is because Williams Chima is leaving herself open for another volume.  After all, Seph and Madison, Jack and Ellen, Leesha and Fitch...all of their romantic plots (which Jonah and Emma were certainly made out to have) resolved themselves fully in books following the ones in which they originally appeared.  I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar happen here.

So, that's basically it: I liked this book, I think it had much better pacing than the one preceding it, but I'm not buying that it's the final book in the series.  There was too much left open for me to really believe that it's the final end.  I think even The Dragon Heir had a more concrete ending than this, and that was supposed to be the end, too, so I would not be one bit surprised if another book--like, as I said, The Seer Heir--hit the shelves within a few years.  That said, I'm still eager to read Williams Chima's other series, The Seven Realms, and will probably move onto that in the near future.

4 stars out of 5.

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