harper collins children’s books

Book Review: The Heir

The Heir

The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass – Paperback, 342 pages – Published May 6th 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published May 5th 2015)

This is the fourth novel in The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Twenty years after the Selection which led to the marriage of America and Prince Maxon, this book follows their eldest daughter, Eadlyn. As the older twin, she is destined to inherit the throne instead of her brother. She’s been preparing herself for the role since birth, and had every intention of doing so alone. But when the removal of the caste system fails to satisfy the public, it’s clear that a distraction is required. Reluctantly, Eadlyn agrees to take part in a Selection herself – but she’s certain she will not end up with a husband.

Much like her mother, Eadlyn’s attempt to avoid affection towards the candidates is futile; she actually finds herself feeling friendship (or more) to several of the boys she meets. Still, she tries to remain distant – romance was always her brother Ahren’s thing.

The twins are as close as is possible, but Eadlyn finds herself fearing the loss of him. He’s been deeply in love with the French heir for a while, and Eadlyn’s attempt to separate them backfires drastically. And then, on top of everything, their mother falls ill suddenly. Finally, Eadlyn begins to realise the importance of this Selection.

The reluctance to actually engage in the Selection was very similar to America in the first book. Too similar, maybe. And the change of heart followed the same pattern, too. But maybe it won’t end in love this time. (I’ll have to read the next book and find out!)

Eadlyn’s quite a “typical” feminist sort of figure – believing she will be the best queen without any husband around. But Ahren makes a fantastic point, saying she’s able to fall in love and have a beautiful wedding and love fashion and flowers while still being the strong, brave queen she is inside. To me, that’s what feminism is truly about. It was nice to see this view – from a boy, nonetheless – challenging the original view of Eadlyn.

Also, Eadlyn is a very strong, blunt girl most of the time – her way of being strong is, often, being rather rude. And eventually, she actually sees that in herself and realises that maybe she doesn’t have to be that way to be powerful and successful. Her admiration (and jealousy) of Ahren’s girlfriend also confirms this; she’s a petite, gentle girl, but is taken seriously by everyone around her. She is not harsh like Eadlyn, yet she is not taken for granted by anyone. A girl can be beautiful and feminine, yet still be a powerful authoritative figure.

Although it was pretty similar to the first book, I still did enjoy it. And Eadlyn’s attraction to so many suitors means that this could go any way, so I do look forward to finding out who she will end up with – if anyone. This series has always been really enjoyable and easy to read. 4 stars for The Heir.

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Book Review: The One

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The One by Kiera Cass (Selection #3) – Paperback, 323 pages – Published June 5th 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The One is the third book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass, following The Selection and The Elite.

Again, it tells the story of America Singer, an Elite, and Maxon Schreave, the heir to the throne.

On top of the Selection, the inhabitants of the palace also have to face the Northern and Southern rebels. One group is harmless, but the other… wants the royal family gone.

America isn’t the king’s favourite girl in the Selection, but once the people of Illéa catch a glimpse of her fighting spirit, they soon fall in love with her. Little do they know, she’s joining forces with the rebels, and little does she know that it runs in the family.

Although I’m not much into romance novels, I really do enjoy this series. I find each book so easy to read, and I love all the different aspects thrown in. The only thing about The One is that there are so many deaths, and they seem almost rushed. The first few tragedies are really touching, but then the crisis at the end – and the loss of such massive members of the royal family – just didn’t have as much detail and emotion as I would have expected.

I’m not going to lie, I also got a bit tired of Maxon and America’s constant fall-outs and arguments. Yes, it added another dimension to the story, but it was essentially just the same thing over and over.

America also has a moment of total desperation in this book, where she just goes way too over the top trying to win Maxon over. I just didn’t like it. But the relationship that developed amongst the Elite was nice, though I doubt it would happen quite so smoothly in real life. If a bunch of girls were fighting over a guy, let alone a prince, I’m pretty sure it would involve a little more bickering, even at the end.

Anyway, I did like this book, and it might actually be my favourite out of this series. I flew through it with no trouble, and can forgive the faults I found. Like the rest of this series, I’m giving The One 4 stars. I hope to read the next book, The Heir, soon!

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Book Review: The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection #1) - Paperback, 336 pages - Published June 7th 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection #1) – Paperback, 336 pages – Published June 7th 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

I remember reading an extract of this on my Kindle a few years ago, but never got round to purchasing it. Finally, I now have all three books checked out from my local library.

When the prince of Illéa, Maxon Schreaves, comes of age, an eligible woman from each province is entered into the Selection: a reality-show-type competition where the prince’s wife is to be found.

America Singer is against everything about the Selection from the very start. She doesn’t want to be a princess, she just wants to marry Aspen. But things get a bit complicated, and America finds herself inside the palace along with dozens of other girls.

At first, she doesn’t want anything to do with Prince Maxon. In her eyes, he was nothing more than a stiff, stuck up rich-kid. But their friendship soon blossoms, and America finds herself wondering where her heart truly belongs.

Things seem to be coming together at last. But America doesn’t have the chance to become too comfortable; an unexpected guest sends her world tumbling again.

The love triangle in The Selection is a rather common one, but I know how rare it is to find a truly unique love story. I find it rather obvious that America isn’t going to despise the prince half as much as she expects to, however the individual events throughout the book and the situations with Officer Leger were all nicely original.

America herself is a strong, defiant character, as female protagonists often are. She refuses to conform to the normalities of the society, and tries her hardest to keep her individuality intact. Her relationship with the maids is an admirable one, and her actions and emotions aren’t too far-fetched as to be unbelievable.

As for the love interests of Miss Singer, they are each rather unique. Maxon is, in my opinion, an accurately represented royal figure. He comes across as a boring, stiff guy, but once America gets to know him she discovers that he has a wonderful personality of his own. And Aspen is what I’d imagine a boy in his situation to be. He is selfless and does everything he can to protect the ones he loves. Due to his protective nature, he has to make some difficult decisions and hope that is choice is the correct one. He is also a fighter, which could make America’s own choices just that bit harder.

I found it a bit predictable in places, and sometimes I wasn’t sure about America as a character. But overall I did enjoy it, and think it deserves somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars.

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