The Heir by Kiera Cass, hardback novel, 346 pages, published by HarperTeen in 2015.
Twenty years down the track from when America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, they have been implementing their plans for the country; disbanding the caste system and quieting the rebels, yet not everything is peachy. The populace is restless, discrimination is rife, and an uprising may be coming. Illea also has a new heir to the throne, Princess Eadlyn. The responsibilities and pressures of running the country will one day become hers, but her parents think she would do better with a companion by her side. The search for her true love would also be a convenient distraction for the public, hence a new selection begins. Thirty-five young men all vying for Princess Eadlyn’s affections in the first male selection. Might Eadlyn find her happily ever after?
Okay, so I got sucked into the world of The Selection with America and Maxon and Aspen, and I enjoyed the time I spent in Illea. So it made sense to me to read the fourth book in the series. Overall I did like reading The Heir, but I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first three books in the series, and this mostly had to do with Eadlyn. She certainly was no America. I really liked America, she was impetuous and occasionally reckless, but she was also endearing, kind and compassionate. Eadlyn, however, comes across as aloof, condescending and even sometimes cruel. She is constantly telling herself that no one is more powerful than her, which is probably meant to be a self-confidence booster, but is just vain and arrogant. She is rude to her maid, Neena; insulting her for being a maid, and never saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. She thinks Neena is great at her job, and she needs her, but Eadlyn has never praised Neena in this way. She is always thinking about herself, even attempting to interfere with her brother’s happiness just to keep him by her side. She couldn’t even share one of her hundreds of tiara’s with Kile’s little sister, Josie, even though wearing the tiara was obviously making her happy, and it was just as obvious, to everyone aside from Eadlyn, that Josie idolises her. I found Eadlyn to be selfish and spoilt, and not very likeable. There was some character growth by the end of the book, and I can see that she can change, but it hasn’t been enough yet. I really hope she continues to improve in the next book.
Of the men that arrive for The Selection, most of them were pretty average, though I didn’t approve of Eadlyn being so dismissive and aiming to embarrass and demean them. I quite like Henri and Erik, but it must be weird to try to date someone with a translator involved. I was pleased Eadlyn seemed to deal with this strange situation better than she did most of her other potential suitors. I also like Kile, but it is curious that he grew up in the palace, alongside Eadlyn, practically like her brother. It adds an interesting element to their relationship. Still I like him. He’s a little quirky, and will probably be good for Eadlyn. And if he didn’t enter himself, then who put his name in the barrel?
All of these books have been pretty easy reading, including The Heir. It is light entertainment that doesn’t require much thinking, great for right before bed. It is kind of compulsive though, so it’s also a fast page-turning read. The writing is good and the plot somewhat predictable, yet serviceable. I want to stress that I was entertained; a book doesn’t have to be brilliant to be entertaining, and The Heir is just that, entertaining.
I do find that I have a need to discover the outcome of this historic selection despite my feelings towards Eadlyn, so I will be reading the next book in the series, The Crown. Surely Eadlyn will learn from her mistakes and become a better person.
The romance is fairly tame, just a bit of kissing. There is also a small amount of violence, so The Heir is suitable for high school students and up.