The Heir – Kiera Cass

The HeirOn The Cover: 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.

Published: May 2015

Format: OverDrive E-Book

Why I Chose It: After reading The Selection trilogy I was definitely curious about this fourth and unexpected installment!

Other Books In This Series:

The Selection
The Elite
The One

The Review:

Before reading this book I saw a lot of negativity on Goodreads, mostly centered on the main character, Eadlyn. Once I started the book it was easy to see why. Eadlyn is self-centered and horribly spoiled. Yet despite that, I actually really enjoyed the way in which Eadlyn’s character is presented. Eadlyn grew up in the heart of luxury, and she has come to expect such luxury because she has never known anything else. She also has an over-the-top self-importance – but for a very good reason. She has been training her entire life to become the next ruler of Illéa.  She is the first female ruler, and the first to inherit a caste-less kingdom. Her entire life has been consumed by proving herself to be a strong and competent leader. Yes, she is spoiled, but she is also incredibly naive about life beyond her own gates. This story is largely about Eadlyn discovering who she is outside of her titles and roles, and exactly what power she holds. Luckily, there are some essential moments throughout the book where Eadlyn recognizes that others view her as spoiled and self-centered, and in those moments learns about herself. Though there was not a lot of character development throughout this installment, I am very curious to see where Cass takes the character and the journey that Eadlyn will travel.

Throughout this book I found that there were some very smart decisions made by Cass. The story is told from Princess Eadlyn’s viewpoint rather than the men competing for her hand. When I had read the first three novels, I was definitely curious about Maxon’s experiences from the other side of the Selection process. Now, Cass could have easily written the entire Selection story from Maxon’s perspective and re-published her story that way. I am eternally grateful that she did not. This is also not an outright copy of the first Selection – there are marked differences, largely due to Eadlyn’s character and changes to the Selection process. I thought Eadlyn’s story was a creative way to move forward the story of Illéa yet still tell the story from the other side.

The Heir Polish Cover

I also seriously enjoyed the transparency of the political motivations behind the Selection, and Eadlyn’s direct role in making these motivations a reality. This book does a fantastic job at covering both the romance story and the political situations outside of the palace, something I found lacking in the first three books. Eadlyn is constantly on top of her game, making the Selection a successful political tool while keeping up the appearance of frivolity. I enjoyed Eadlyn’s thought processes, how she constantly tries to balance her work with the events of the Selection, and the difficulties that presents for her.

I’m not trying to convince you that this is the best book out there. Cass’ writing has some serious flaws, and the criticisms of the book are not unfounded. But outside of that, this novel accomplishes one very important goal: it entertains. As a quick, light read with a sweet little romance story, this book works. If you were not a fan of the first three books, you should probably skip this one, as you won’t find any drastic improvements or stylistic changes. But if you did like the first three, I think you should check this one out: to meet Eadlyn; to see more of Maxon’s and America’s love story; and to continue the tale of Illéa.

Rating: 4 / 5

Quotations:

“Mom reached across the table and put her hand on mine. ‘No one would be doing anything to you. You would be doing something for your people. You’d be giving them a gift.’
‘You mean faking a smile when I’d rather cry?’
She gave me a fleeting frown. ‘That has always been part of our job.’
I stared at her, silently demanding a better answer.” (OverDrive 2015)

“It was one thing to be expected to rule, to hold the weight of millions of people in my hands. That was a job, a task. I could check things off lists, delegate. But this was much more personal, one more piece of my life that ought to be mine but wasn’t.” (OverDrive 2015)

“‘Would you suggest that I fall in love with thirty-five young men at once?’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘Well, when you put it that way…’
‘Exactly. I only have one heart, and I’m saving it.’
I heard sighs around the room, and I felt I’d gotten away with something. How many more lines could I dream up over the following months to keep everyone entertained and at bay? Then I realized, I hadn’t planned those words. I really felt them, and they escaped under pressure.” (OverDrive 2015)

Divergent (2014)

DivergentFrom imdb.com: In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.

Why I Chose It: I was mildly curious about this movie since it had come out. Although I must admit: I have not read the books.

The Review:

Although I was curious about this movie, I was really hesitant on seeing it. There haven’t been a lot of young adult book-based movies that I’ve been thrilled with lately, and I was worried this would be more of the same. While this movie is similar in many ways, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

World Building

I really enjoyed the introduction to this movie. It explained how their society is split into factions based on different skills and virtues, and how people are divided into each faction. It was very quick and concise, and I found it very easy to understand. The one aspect I loved about this introduction was that it didn’t assume the audience had read the books. I get really frustrated when a movie doesn’t explain details on the assumption that everyone knows exactly what’s going on. But I found Divergent avoided that nicely, and yet it was still quick enough as to not bore the people who had read the books.

For the factions, I really enjoyed the way they were represented in the movie. There were so many different visual cues that played very nicely on the screen; for example, each faction wears clothes of different colours. It showed the separation of the factions, and yet the society was brought together for ceremonies where they blended together. Even though this is a dystopian world, I found the way it was presented made it believable.

Factions

Tris

I absolutely fell in love with Tris. The one thing I loved so much about her was she wasn’t perfect at everything right away. Yes, she was a very strong female lead, but I would argue she was more mentally strong than anything else. She wasn’t a good fighter right away and had to learn those skills. She’s petite, and has to learn to use that when fighting hand to hand. Tris isn’t a good shot at first, and again has to learn how to shoot. For me this was a perfect character. Being a “strong female” doesn’t mean you have to be naturally good at everything, and Tris proves this by showing how someone who is strong in personality, emotion, and morality still has to learn to be physically strong as well.

TrisTrain

Shailene Woodley

This was my first opportunity to see Woodley’s acting and I really enjoyed her performance. I thought she did a really nice job with all the fighting scenes, and she seemed to fit in to the physical aspect of the role. The one thing I really enjoyed throughout the movie was how she was able to convey a lot of emotion through very subtle facial expressions. She would give a very minor reaction and I felt like I knew exactly was the character was feeling. Woodley is an actress that I would definitely be willing to go see again.

The Love Story

Because no movie can exist without a love story.

To be fair, this is one of the better love stories I have seen in a long time. There’s a lot of stuff to deal with in the beginning of the movie, such as Tris joining a new faction, and the training that comes with being a Dauntless. So it was really nice to see that the love story isn’t added on top of that; it isn’t until much later in the movie that it really surfaces. I also loved the fact that Tris and Four really get to know each other before they show any emotions toward one another. They train together and learn each others deepest fears before someone makes a move. I can’t say how much this pleases me, and as a result it’s a love story that I really enjoyed watching.

The Summary

I wasn’t prepared to like this movie as much as I did. All around it was full of pleasant surprises and kept me intrigued and happy. I am now definitely curious about the books and will be making the time to read them. Although the movie over all was good, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t like Tris so much, or really if anyone else had played her. She is was really made this movie for me. I will not be so hesitant to see the next installment, Insurgent, when it comes out this year.

Rating: 4 / 5

Tris