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Book review: 'The Heir' takes readers into another Selection


June 29, 2015

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"THE HEIR: The Selection, Vol. 4," by Kiera Cass, HarperTeen, $18.99, 342 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Eadlyn Schreave is the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America of Illea, a couple matched in the Selection 20 years ago in spite of America's resistance to a marriage arranged by royal decree.

In "The Heir," the fourth book in Kiera Cass' Selection series, Eadlyn's parents now want her to host another Selection — a kind of "Bachelorette"-style event — with 35 suitors vying for her hand.

Princess Eadlyn wants nothing to do with the process and only agrees because her father persuades her it would help distract unhappy subjects in the kingdom.

She’s determined to give the contest a bare-minimum effort and to toss out any contestant who annoys her in any way. She promises to give it three months and intends to keep herself detached, but she soon finds herself in an unpopular position of power.

She can’t just dip her toe into the water; she has to make a serious attempt to get to know some of the lads who want to win her over.

Her suitors — who have male egos to consider — battle over her, frustrating Eadlyn. She wants to remain aloof, yet she wants to be liked — and she wants it all to be over.

Unfortunately, she has been raised as a princess with expectations on every side. She cannot ignore the cameras, the weekly television report on her dates or the consequences of the simplest action.

Fans of the first three Selection books, which tell Maxon and America’s story, will enjoy this ride down memory lane as well as the opportunity to see how the child of Maxon and America turns out. Eadlyn has a strong personality but isn’t nearly as willing to break with tradition as her mother was.

She doesn't understand herself very well, so she's surprised when others find her somewhat cold and harsh. She's shocked when they throw rotten fruit at her. She's surprised when her behavior makes headlines.

It makes for interesting introspection.

There is an element of fairy tale to the story and not a lot of plot development beyond the various dates that are arranged. It’s also a little hard to separate the suitors from one another (except for the one who can’t speak English and the bully).

There are, of course, the boy next door; the confident, handsome guy who is candid about wanting to marry Eadlyn for the fame and title rather than for love; the kindhearted one; and the one who needs the money from participating in the Selection for his sick father. Beyond that, they pretty much all look alike.

And it’s really hard to tell for sure whom Eadlyn is going to choose. Maybe that’s because another book is coming our way.

“The Heir” doesn’t have foul language, sexual content or described violence beyond some minor fighting.

There is an element of fairy tale to the story and not a lot of plot development beyond the various dates that are arranged. It’s also a little hard to separate the suitors from one another (except for the one who can’t speak English and the bully).

There are, of course, the boy next door; the confident, handsome guy who is candid about wanting to marry Eadlyn for the fame and title rather than for love; the kindhearted one; and the one who needs the money from participating in the Selection for his sick father. Beyond that, they pretty much all look alike.

And it’s really hard to tell for sure whom Eadlyn is going to choose. Maybe that’s because another book is coming our way.

“The Heir” doesn’t have foul language, sexual content or described violence beyond some minor fighting.

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