Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass

The Heir Kiera Cass The Selection
The Heir Kiera Cass cover The Selection

Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass 
Series: The Selection #4 
Genre: Romance, Dystopia, YA 
Publication date: May 5, 2015 
Rating: ★★★ 

Synopsis: Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

This book was better than I expected. I mostly liked it, which is something I couldn’t say from The Elite and The One. So yes, this book ‘only’ got a three star rating, because there was still a lot that bothered me, but it was definitely better than the last two. It’s a fast, mostly enjoyable and compelling read. It’s a good thing America Singer’s storyline ended when it did. There was nothing left to tell and even Kiera Cass finally realized that the love triangle was just over and had been for a looooong time. I don’t think I could have handled another Maxon-Aspen dilemma, no matter the outcome. 

Thus comes a new selection. This time for Eadlyn, the crown princess of Illéa, daughter of Maxon and America. A boy selection. Thirty-five young men competing for the hand of the beautiful and intelligent future queen. How could I not be excited about this book? I couldn’t wait for all of them to be introduced and for the selection to start. A selection is still a very compelling idea with a lot of potential. It’s the main reason I like this book and the first one, but the second and third not so much. 

Eadlyn is a strong-minded young woman. I like her, even though lots of people don’t. She’s demanding, challenging, manipulative, reserved, distant and yes a whiny brat, but I suppose that’s normal when you were raised to become queen. All her life, everything has just been given to her, so of course she doesn’t exactly know what the real world is like. Of course she’s spoiled and sometimes inconsiderate without meaning to. It’d be strange if she weren’t. Maxon was like that, perfect beyond recognition, and it has always bothered me.

I liked Eadlyn, I loved her twin brother Ahren. He was probably my favorite character in the book. Somehow he seemed to be on a higher level. He was intelligent, caring, thoughtful and an excellent judge of his sister’s character. He dared to make bold choices, even if it meant going against his family, and he was never trying to be anyone but himself. I’m afraid I have to say this is where the good part ends.

Everyone else was just very superficial. The entire selection is a joke. More than thirty contesters and I don’t think I can remember ten of their names. They didn’t have any depth. None. There’s was a music player, a fashion designer, a ‘poor’ guy, a baker… They all had ‘something’ that made them stand out and special but they also had no personality at all. And that something they had was seemingly random, but in fact really wasn’t. Kiera Cass wants you to believe they have been chosen by luck from all kinds of environments, but conveniently they all have that one ability to sweep Eadlyn of her feet. The baker guy smells like a delicious desert, the designer shares her love of fashion, the musician can play for her etc. Why not an economist? A bus driver? A good writer could write a heart wrenching romance about the most common of guys. That’s what’s profoundly wrong with this book. There are only three guys in the selection that felt the slightest bit real. Kile, Henri and Erik

I liked Kile Woodwork best. He grew up in the palace as the son of Marlee, one of America’s best friends. Eadlyn has known him all her life, but she’s always hated him. The feeling was mutual. Somehow he ended up in the selection against his will. Because of his background he at least felt a little bit real. And he’s sort of interesting. He’s forced to start liking Eadlyn and he’s slowly realizing that maybe he actually does like her. I’m rooting for him to be honest.

Henri and Erik also stood out, both different portraits of imperfect perfection and I found them terribly boring. So much for the thirty-five guys of the selection. I like one of them. Joy.

What also bothered me was the lame attempt at another rebellion. Kiera Cass can’t pull it off. She’s just not a good enough writer. I’m sorry. Nothing about that rebellion felt threatening to me. It was just a tool for her to justify a new selection after Maxon so heroically proclaimed no one would ever again be forced to have one. A ridiculous justification. He wants to save the monarchy by hoping the people will be distracted enough by the selection? Honestly? This wouldn’t even work in an episode of The Royals. If I was one of those rebels who wanted the monarchy gone, a reality TV show about a princess choosing a husband would only inflame my anger. I’m not saying the idea of a selection isn’t compelling, I love it, but using it to control a group of rebels is just hilarious. Oh no, they put another building on fire. Quick! Let’s do another photo-shoot of a date, that will help! I’m not even kidding, that’s exactly how it was. Also, we’re told that Maxon and America and Eadlyn and everyone else are doing everything in their power to come up with a solution, but we never get to know anything. Yes, we read that Maxon is in his study, ‘working’. What is he working on? What does Eadlyn do all those times she’s unavailable because she has to help her father rule the country? If Kiera Cass wants there to be a bigger picture, she needs to actually create one. Hinting at it is not nearly enough. 

Minor spoiler:
There’s just one last thing I need to get off my chest. The drama level is almost insufferable. At some point Eadlyn gets harassed by one of the young men in her selection. She has never in her life felt more terrified and powerless. Her world has turned upside down and she’s not sure she will ever be able to trust a man again. When Ahren hears about it, he punches the guy in the face and kicks him out of the palace, unconsious. Maxon goes mad and doesn’t let her near any of the other selected before they’ve been through a security check (even though it was mentioned in the beginning that there had been one already). Now you have to know that there’s nothing I hate more than men abusing their power to get to women. Nothing. But here is what actually happened. 

The guy is apparently turned on by her ‘attitude’. He deliberately challenges her in the hope she’ll get mad at him. He knowingly misinterprets what she says, gives her a funny look and at some point he grabs her hand. She yanks it away. He makes another attempt at taking her hand and also lightly touches her cheek, at which point she leaves him. That’s it. I mean, the guy is a jerk and a total creep and he deserves to be kicked out. Definitely deserves the punch in the face. But if you just read the part after the unfortunate event, you’d think Eadlyn was seriously attacked. I’m glad she wasn’t, honestly, but that’s not the point. I think Kiera Cass realizes she has a pretty young audience and didn’t want to shock anyone. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t make that big of a deal out of someone grabbing your hand against your will. Either she has to let it pass and leave Eadlyn rattled, but otherwise okay or she has to make sure something happened. It’s a choice authors have to make. Some have it in them to do what needs to be done, others clearly don’t. 

Btw, the same happens when two guys get into a fight and she accidently gets pushed onto the ground. You’d think she had almost died, when in fact she didn’t get a scratch. Luckily Erik was there to ‘save her life’. She’ll be forever in his debt.

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