Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Release Date: 7th May 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased
Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon – and they lived happily ever after.
Eadlyn doesn’t expect her own story to end in romance – she has no interest in repeating the fairy tale. But a princess’s life is never entirely her own – and Eadlyn cannot escape her very own Selection, and one particular entry who may just capture her heart…
The Selection series is one of my favourite guilty pleasure series’ so I was rather chuffed to hear that there’d be a book four and five, starring the next generation of the Illéa royal family. The Heir was a solid follow-up to American and Maxon’s story.
With Maxon and America’s oldest, Eadlyn, at the helm, The Heir feels like a very different story to the original trilogy. For one, it no longer even hints at a dystopia for me. If I hadn’t read the earlier and went in with this one (which you totally could, I think) I would have just assumed they live in a palace with some strange customs and the regular people are just rioting about how unfair life is. Even with the changes in Illéa since Maxon took the throne, it didn’t have that distinctive dystopian feel. The caste system has slowly been dissolved and the people are free from restrictions; they are able to take whatever career they wish and marry without restriction. But it’s not as perfect as it should be – the prejudice of the caste system is still widely seen. This world has so much potential and I never feel like Cass properly exploits that.
As a teenager princess, Eadlyn can’t really do much about this yet, other than watch her dad get more and more tired and stressed and so she agrees to have a Selection to boost morale while Maxon and America try to find a solution. It was really interesting to see the Selection from the other side. The balancing of her royal duties with the weekly Report and making a genuine effort to date and get to know 35 different boys, all while dealing with her feelings about the Selection itself, the people of Illéa and trying to keep a hold on her heart. I did actually find Eadlyn to be a little annoying in the beginning, but she really grew over the course of the novel. Her motivations and what lay under her cold, sometimes rude and selfish persona became more apparent and it was a lot easier to be on her side.
Eadlyn has a grit about her, a depth that has so many possibilities and she’ll undoubtedly do some awesome things for Illéa when her turn comes, but she’s still a teenage girl. I loved the balance between the princess and the girl and the way her brothers and parents brought that out in her. There’s a real sense of a strong, loving and supportive family in The Heir and it just made me so proud of America and Maxon! They did it. The reverence for the King and Queen, from both those in the palace and the public was clear. Their story is a fairytale and the things they achieved together are wonderful; and they’re so obviously still head over heels in love. I also have to say that I love middle-aged, Queen America a whole lot more than I did teenage, Selection America; the difference is huge.
I don’t want to say too much about Eadlyn’s experience of her Selection and the boys in it, but I will say that it’s a lot more dramatic and a lot stronger, actually, than Maxon’s. Everything feels heightened and way more intense, but there’s also some real humour in it. In The Selection I was only ever rooting for America, but I actually like quite a few of the boys vying for Eadlyn’s hand. I am, however, Team Erik. I want it to happen, and I really think it might. That’s the kind of choice that would totally suit Eadlyn and one that Maxon and America would secretly approve of, I reckon – they’re all about the fairytale and soul mates.
Kiera Cass delivered a thoroughly good fun companion in The Heir and I’m really looking forward to book five and all the drama that’s bound to come with it!