Perhaps Chima’s writing improved after the Warrior Heir or perhaps the characters for book two, the Wizard Heir, are simply more interesting, but for whatever the reason, I found myself enjoying this book much more than its predecessor.
Seph McCauley is a wizard without training, leading to a great number of accidents. Those accidents, in turn, get him into trouble. His guardian (he knows nothing of his family and what little information he knows about his magic comes from his sorceress foster mother) doesn’t know what to do with him and decides to send him to the Havens, an all boys school meant just for troubled boys like him. The Havens has a high success rate for rehabilitating its students, but that is only a surface purpose for the school. The real purpose is much more dangerous and sinister and could end up enslaving the magical guilds after the freedom they have just, tenuously won, thanks to Jack Swift. Seph has only one ally, Jason Haley, another student at the Havens who is desperate for escape and revenge.
I definitely find Seph’s story somewhat more compelling than Jack’s. Maybe it’s just that Jack came from a more or less perfect life until his magic acted up, while Seph is more of a mystery. I have also always been a sucker for school-related fantasy, so the Havens storyline certainly doesn’t hurt.
For anyone who has read the Percy Jackson books and then the Lost Hero, they know how some of the pleasure of the book comes from seeing those familiar characters while also meeting new ones. The Wizard Heir brought the same type of pleasure–Linda Downey, Leander Hastings, Jack Swift, and Ellen Stephenson among others. Best of all, we get new insight into Linda and Leander’s past relationship.