Heir Series #1
Hyperion Paperbacks, 2006
Jack Swift is 16. He lives in Trinity Ohio, a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. He has lived a normal, average life with his mom until the day he forgets to take his medicine. He's never forgotten before - he's taken it ever since he was born and had heart surgery to survive. Not taking it makes him feel different. Different-better, different-more clear headed, different-stronger. So much so, that during soccer try-outs his never-seen-before aggressiveness hurts a (nasty) teammate. This fateful day, his "forgetting" begins a journey of finding out about the life that's been planned for him since his birth. His normal life will never be the same. For it was not heart surgery that he had when he was born. He was born a wizard, a member of The Weir, but without the needed wizard stone behind his heart. So one was surgically imbedded. However, as an experiment, a warrior's stone was implanted there instead. And he discovers the hidden world of wizards and warriors, of the Red Rose and the White Rose, of tournaments to the death and magic.
There are no warriors left, they have all been killed off playing The Game or killed by the opposite side before a Game could begin. For it is the side that wins the Game that controls all the Weirlind until the next tournament. Competition is cutthroat. It's hard to trust anyone. He's being trained by the powerful wizard Leander Hastings, with help about charms from the elderly wizard Nick Snowbeard, neighbor and friend since his birth.
He still lives in Trinity and attends high school, becoming the school's soccer sensation. He's drawn to new student Ellen Stevenson. His two best buddies, Will and Fitch, are always around to help him out. But then summer comes, and things heat up. Members of both the Red Rose and the White Rose are trying to find him. When he accompanies his mom to England for the summer, he is almost killed, then finds out the rest of the truth about the life he must now lead. There's not much good news. And it gets worse.
The tournament arrives. Surpise after surprise...well sort of surprise....some were foreshadowed or guessed. Clever twists and turns. Excitement and fighting and strategies abound. Quite and entertaining tale.
There are a lot of videos on You Tube about this book, some done as book reports for an English class. WeReadBooks on You Tube has an excellent review. And Cinda Williams Chima has a good website. There are two more books in the series, #2 The Wizard's Heir is a companion book, and #3 The Dragon Heir is as well.