The Heir Chronicles is obviously a boy-focused series, not unlike Harry Potter in terms of intended audience I suspect. And I kind of have a soft spot for YA books for boys. The main character in this book (Jack) is up against some really unenviable odds, but handles it all with grace and good humor. The secondary characters - some adult wizards and some younger school friends - are all fully drawn and terrific complements to Jack. They also all have significant parts to play in the narrative which is wonderful to see in a book with such a comparatively large cast. Too often secondary players are one dimensional, but Chima cares enough for her cast of characters (and her readers) to give everyone a distinct role to play and to give every character his or her moment in the sun - when he or she is faced with a difficult choice that impacts the hero and his journey and they have to do their best in a challenging situation.
I know it can be difficult to get younger male readers to pick up bulky books, but The Warrior Heir should be a strong antidote to reluctant young male readers. I myself (despite not being a young male reader) will be picking up the next book, described as a "companion novel" rather than a sequel (The Wizard Heir) as a matter of urgency!