Friday, July 20, 2007

The Heir Series

Cinda Williams Chima’s new series grabs your attention from the first page of the prologue and doesn’t let go until the last word. Although the books are about modern day wizards, the story is nothing like Harry Potter.

The Warrior Heir begins in 1870, when a family’s life is ripped apart by wizards, then shifts to a time more than one hundred years later to where Jessamine Longbranch, a wizard and doctor changes the fate of a baby for her own selfish reasons.

Several years later, Jackson Swift wakes up one morning and, in his hurry to get out the door, forgets to take his heart medicine for the first time in sixteen years. Surprisingly, instead of becoming sick, Jack feels better than ever and breezes through his soccer tryouts. He knows something’s up when, after taking his medicine again, he feels anesthetized. Very soon after, his Aunt Linda shows up to take Jack and his friends on a spur-of-the-moment genealogy trip. Along the way they discover more than a few family records; Jack finds a medieval-era sword and learns that he has a destiny: to train as a warrior and fight a duel to the death, but will he fight for the light side or the dark one?

In The Wizard Heir, Seph McCauley is a handsome teenager who leaves a trail of disaster behind him. Unexplained fires, explosions, and other strange occurrences happen wherever he goes. He’s been expelled from four schools in the past three years, and now he’s on his way to a school for troubled boys in Maine. There Seph learns that he is a powerful—although untrained—wizard, but soon he realizes there is a dark side to the magic performed at Havens. Now he must fight to be free against those even more powerful than himself.

Ms. Chima effortlessly blends Jack and Seph’s modern day world with ancient fantasy, making for fast-paced novels with completely engrossing storylines. If you enjoy these two novels, look for The Dragon Heir. I’m sure it will be an amazing finale that includes characters from the first two books and tying the previous stories closer together.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Horatio Hornblower: The Duel

Director: Andrew Grieve
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Dorian Healy, Robert Lindsay

Seventeen-year-old Horatio Hornblower (Gruffudd) is just beginning his service with the British navy as a midshipman aboard the Justinian. Although at first he is terrified of heights and unused to the rocking of the ship, young Horatio is brilliant at calculating, navigation, and mathematics. But jealousy and hatred arises. Jack Simpson (Healy) is senior midshipman, and with his power over the other midshipmen, he “teaches them their places” by eating their food, beating them when he wishes to, and generally making their lives miserable. So when Horatio is being “snotty” and questions the rules made by Jack Simpson, he becomes the victim of Simpson’s wrath. Struggling to adjust to his new life, attend his duties, and stay out of Simpson’s way, Horatio has a seemingly doomed beginning to his naval career. Transferred to the Indefatigable, Horatio believes for a while that he is safe. But Jack Simpson is never far away, and when he goes a step too far, Horatio decides the abuse can go on no longer, and he challenges the senior midshipman to a duel with pistols. Watch this wonderful movie to find out what happens! The Duel is a great film that will quickly sweep you up in its amazing reenactments of battles at sea, duels, and one young man’s intelligence and determination. If you enjoy this movie, be sure to continue watching the series with The Fireship, The Duchess and the Devil, The Wrong War, The Mutiny, Retribution, Loyalty, and Duty.