The Heir is written by Kiera Cass. It was published in 2015 by HarperTeen. It is the sequel to The One.
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.
Cass is starting to feel like a one-trick pony. At least, that’s how I felt when I found out she was writing a fourth Selection book. At least she sort of changed things around and made her protagonist completely different from America.
I do think Cass’s writing has improved marginally from the first three books; she still can’t worldbuild and there’s this odd moment where a character talks about rebellion and uprising as if they’re completely different things, but I never had the problem I had in the first three books where I felt like I couldn’t continue reading because of the bad quality.
But the book is still not great, and there’s a whole list of reasons why, but I’ll just mention three:
By trying to make Eadlyn a “strong” female protagonist, Cass makes her selfish, shallow, and cruel. Eadlyn is not just an unreliable narrator. She’s an unreliable narrator who you will want to strangle by the end of the book because of her actions and thoughts. Towards the end, she does start to at least realize how people perceive her, but it’s difficult to get through. She manipulates and pits the boys against each other and tries to make her brother choose between her and his girlfriend. That’s not a strong protagonist, Cass. That’s an unlikeable one.
The beginning and end of the book completely contradict each other. At the beginning, Eadlyn says firmly that she doesn’t need a man in order for her to be a good ruler (or something along those lines). Yet the end of the book has people constantly telling her (and Eadlyn realizing herself) that she needs romantic love in order to be The Best Ruler She Can Be and that she should go through with the Selection. Because romantic love makes you a complete person and you’re incomplete and not at your best if you’re single. Or something. Yeah, sure. Ever hear of Queen Elizabeth I?
Besides the obvious love interest (whose relationship with Eadlyn is centered on lust), there’s the obvious rapist and the obvious violent fighter. Because of course if you stick 35 men together, at least one of them will try and assault the girl, right? And at least one will try and slap her around, right? Because men are despicable, terrible beings, right? Please. The only author I’ve read so far who has handled the issue of rape/attempted rape in a way that doesn’t seem contrived or as a way to “get rid” of that character is Melina Marchetta. Cass throws it in as an excuse to get rid of a character, which is not the way that particular issue should be treated at all.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: Some sensual scenes, attempted rape (not graphic), violence.
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
“Your Highness,” he said with a comical bow. “I’ve come to sweep you off your feet.”
“Hardy har. Get in here.”
Kile walked in and surveyed my shelves. “Last time I was in your room, you had a collection of wooden ponies.”
“But not being a bossy tyrant?”
“Nope. Just like you didn’t outgrow being an insufferable bookworm.”
“Is this how you win over all your dates?”