Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Genre: YA/Children – Fiction/Fantasy
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Age Range: 12 and up
Date Scoot Read: July 2010
Source: Paperback (self-purchased)
Scoot's Rating: 8- Really good!
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Before he knew about the Roses, sixteen-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great - until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind - part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game - a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind - he's one of the last of the warriors - at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack's performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he's in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack's official sponsor, there are no limits to what they'll do to get Jack to fight for them
I love how this book started – it jumps straight into the past with a heart wrenching flashback. Jumping forward to present day again seemed like a letdown because I really wanted to know what happened for the character in the first few pages. Nevertheless, I quickly came to enjoy Jack and wanted to follow all the details of the unexpected changes in his life. I really liked the plot-line and the Weirlind concept, however, I feel like the book was choppy at times. Sometimes the pacing was perfect, and at other times we seemed to jump around a lot or move too quickly. The odd pacing did not deter me from reading it as quickly as possible and I really enjoyed the book. The story had plenty of magic and action, with a hint of romance to keep you entertained, and I was happy with the ending. I feel this book could be read as a ‘stand-alone’ but I plan to add the second book in the series to the top of my ‘to-read’ list!