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 has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.
Having gotten sucked into The Selection series, I was eager to see how things evolved in the 20 year gap and how things went for America and Maxon, and I loved the twist that the leader of the country is going to be Eadlyn- after Maxon’s dad’s problems with America, now the country will be run eventually by his granddaughter. And Eadlyn has flaws from the get-go; she’s one of those characters that you really love to dislike. HOW America and Maxon, with their intentions to solve the problems of the caste system, had this daughter and her completely opposite twin, I have no clue. Eadlyn is spoiled and unworldly, yet buried underneath the weight of rule, and you can’t help but feel sympathetic for her and worried for the outcome as the book progresses.
I liked the tension within the family, and the battle between wanting Eadlyn to be happy and the duty to the country, and the obvious love between Eadlyn and her siblings. I also liked the continuing connections with characters from the previous books, including Aspen (America’s former love), and Carter (former guard) and Marlee (former Selected). It’s one of those touches that those who are dedicated to the series would recognize, and completely squee over.
I really liked the growing story of the selected gentlemen as well- you could tell how Eadlyn moves from viewing them as competition to seeing them as actual people, and how her friendships form- Maxon had to have experienced a similar change during his Selection. Seeing it from the other side makes a reader want to go back to the beginning of the series to re-read and see how he goes through things, what moves he makes, and how Cass writes the passages to reflect Maxon’s feelings.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AND A TRIGGER WARNING
I really felt that the tension between Eadlyn and Ahren, her twin, wasn’t built up enough. The conflict and then sudden climax seemed a little far-fetched, and needed more substance for it to be believable. Yes, he got exasperated with her, and yes he came to her defense, and yes it was pointed out in other situations how ridiculous she was, but really?
I also felt that the relationship between Eadlyn and Kile was similarly way too convenient. It was like, oh yea, we need some hidden romance for the public, then oh, wait, maybe?
And THEN. The scene with Jack Ranger. No one in their right mind thinks that inviting 35 guys to have dates with the Princess alone would lead to one of them trying something (and thank goodness it was only so far), when in the previous books the female selection candidates were lectured about their virtue? I’m not sure that it was necessary for the tension in the book, or necessary for development in Eadlyn’s character.
Normally, the ahh moment would be in the last part of the book when everything falls apart, and that definitely happens here. However, the part that hooks me back into The Heir would be right before the destruction. The royal family holds a party for Camille, the French princess, and Ahden’s finace, and it’s during that party that the reader, if not Eadyn, starts to realize that she’s actually falling in love with someone.
The publisher and other reviews put The Heir as Young Adult, suitable for ages 13-17 years. I think it fits right in with that age range, with the qualification that there is one highly violent sexual scene (no rape) that could be too intense for younger readers. I’d give The Selection series and The Heir to readers who love Ally Condie’s Matched series for the romance and dystopia.
There’s so much that happened at the end of the book, and it happened so suddenly, I’m not sure HOW I feel about it, even after re-reading it. I’m still confused about how the United States got merged into a country, and how Eadlyn could be so spoiled with Maxon and America being so normal and her twin actually understanding politics. I’ll definitely finish out the series (there’s one more book coming), but as of right now I’m not sure who I’m hoping wins, or whether I hope Eadlyn keeps the crown.