Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication Date: 2015
Two Sentence Synopsis: Twenty years after America and Maxon marry and dissolve the castes, old prejudices still plague the country and cause unrest. In order to distract the citizens, Princess Eadlyn, fiercely independent and first-ever female heir to the throne, faces her own Selection, much to her annoyance.
Review: I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book nearly as much as I did the first three. The idea of a book set 20 years after the events of The One and featuring a completely different cast of main characters, only seeing America and Maxon as secondary characters, frightened me a little bit. However, I really did enjoy The Heir.
Princess Eadlyn perhaps isn’t as immediately likeable as America, but she definitely grew on me. Eadlyn’s incredibly independent and was raised knowing that she was the first female heir to her country’s throne. Used to a life of luxury and long hours learning how to run a country, she has few companions her own age and only really gets along with her siblings, especially her twin brother Ahren, and a few of the palace staff. This makes her less than popular with the country’s citizens. Furthermore, when she grudgingly agrees to hold have her own Selection to help quiet some unrest, Eadlyn acts cold and aloof and tries to scare away as many of the young men that she possibly can. However, as the Selection progresses and Eadlyn learns some hard truths about herself, she becomes more open to the prospect of finding a husband. Her character develops immensely as she learns to open up to others and that public opinion really does matter when it comes to her and her future role as queen.
The world is already familiar from reading the previous three books, but now that the castes have been eliminated, it has changed slightly. Where people were once limited in their options due to their caste number, they theoretically can do anything or live anywhere they want to. But, of course, things don’t always pan out in reality like they do on paper, and old prejudices remain. It’s fascinating to see this happening in Eadlyn’s world.
The one thing I do see as a downside, and I did comment on this in a review about one of the other books in the series, is the lack of visibly diverse characters when it comes to race and sexuality. Of course, there might be some non-white characters or non-hetero characters, but they’re not visible to the reader.
I definitely think that this book is worth the read, especially if you enjoyed the others in the series.