The Heir by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 5, 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Dystopia
20 years ago, her mother won the crown.
Now Princess Eadlyn is ready to find true love.
*spoilers will be in this review*
That quote is what is plastered on the back of the cover. I hate it. It makes it sound like Eadlyn wants to find love, like she wants to have a selection, like she wants anything she has been given in life. She doesn’t. And we hear her complain about it for 342 pages.
Kiera Cass really, really, really should have stopped at The One. The Heir wasn’t that great. It felt like Eadlyn complaining about having to choose from 35 eligible men and being a princess and becoming a queen. She protested about it for a long time. Nearly half the book. She hated people at the start but then quicker than a flip of the switch she was like “oooh they’re so great.” There was no development of affection. Everything felt forced.
I had absolutely no connection to the characters. America and Maxon didn’t feel like the same people (maybe because she called them Mom and Dad). The characters felt so 2D. There was no depth. It was such a reiteration of the first three but without any sort of evil that brought any danger to anyone until the very end. And believe me. I will get to that later.
Some people who read the books went on about how good they are. Best books they’ve ever read, they said. Do not get me wrong, The Selection was good but it was definitely not the best I’ve ever read. It may make my top 10 but definitely in the lower end of the spectrum.
So let me get to our main character: Eadlyn Schreave.
Eadlyn is this whiny, bratty, selfish princess who is a total bitch at some points in the story. Her parents approach her and tell her in order to quell the riots over the caste system dissolving they should have a selection to distract them. Okay what? Is this a fairytale? Okay, Illéa behaves like one very much. (They partied in the streets for days when they announced they were having a child? That is something like the ending of Tangled.) After her parents tell her she is like no way. You can’t tell me who to love. She’s very independent and has a slight femenistic nature about her which I like. She finally gives in and when the boys finally come she is determined on “protecting her heart” being completely closed off and ice cold. When pictures show up the next day and she’s scowling, she goes oh no they hate me how can they hate me? Part of the reason is how distant she is from everyone.
Throughout the book Eadlyn makes the conscious decisions to be cold and then when bad things happen she wonders how it would happen to her. Many of her efforts are to scare off the boys so she can call the selection off early but she neglects to think of the implications of the people that this is for: the citizens. While the men may be enchanted by her and determined to come above it, the people have very little of an attachment to her so it’s easy for them to see her as cold and closed off.
So many of the events in this book are fast, forced, and obvious. Whether it’s a first kiss, a date, or an introduction to a character, heck even a glance across the room, it feels like it’s being shoved down the readers throat like LOVE HIM BECAUSE SHE WILL. There are some characters who I can fall in love with but Eadlyn’s perspective keeps me from it.
I can give you so many instances where Eadlyn is completely selfish and completely ignorant of other people’s feelings, but instead I’ll just point out a few of the more irritating ones.
“Mark is a chemist. He’s studying biochemistry, specifically.”
My eyes widened. “Really such a range in your professions.”
She frowned. “There’s no caste system anymore, Your Highness. People can date and marry anyone they want to.”
I turned away from the mirror to look at her directly. “That’s not what I mean. It’s simply intriguing to me the dynamic you must have. You have my laundry in your arms, and he might cure a disease. Those are two incredibly different roles in the world.”
Eadlyn was so mean to her maid, Neena. Anytime that she was mean to Neena and was insulting to her way of making money until she could go do something bigger, she spun to be like “oh poor me. I need my maid.” So many times she put her down because she was a maid and although the caste system is dissolved, Eadlyn sure as heck acted like one was still in place.
“My father used to be a Two.”
“Is that all?”
Undeterred, he went on. “I think it’s pretty impressive.”
“Not as impressive as having a father who used to be a One.”
I think one of the most selfish things that Eadlyn did was try to convince her brother to break up with the girl he’s madly in love with so he can stay back and be with her as she becomes queen. Basically be another shoulder to cry on about the hard work that we never see her really do throughout the story.
On top of everything, she is most horrid to Josie. Josie is Kile’s younger sister. Their family grew up in the palace and Josie idolizes Eadlyn. She likes to wear her tiaras and prance around the castle like she were a princess, too. But no matter how many times Eadlyn says she doesn’t want to be queen and wants to be normal, she complains about how disrespectful Josie is so her. Or rather her friends. She whines about how Josie broke her favorite tiara, and the runner ups, so she’s stuck with her third favorite. She complains about how Josie runs around with the tiara on and says “it’s not appropriate.” Then Josie finally says it: “I told you she was horrible.” And that line got me thinking. It turned the light bulb on. Maybe it is Eadlyn.
So many times Cass tries to make the reader sympathize with her but instead it just makes me want to smack her into next week! I knew better when I picked the book up to not read it, but I did anyway. You would think I’d have learned with City of Fallen Angels. God, that book was pointless.
I will say that I liked how Eadlyn was so independent. Not all the time, but sometimes. There were times where her want to be independent was so annoying but there were times where she did make good points. She was up for women equality but America had such bigger strides in the last series. Another point was that matter of marriage. She should be able to be queen without a man by her side but that doesn’t mean she has to turn her nose up at any man that walks by. Unless it’s Kile, of course.
Eadlyn used Kile so much. She loathed him at the beginning and then his name was pulled for the selection and she was like oh, maybe he does have a personality. It was so easy for her to go from loath to love (or at least love the make out sessions they had) that it gave me whiplash. It was forced. If it had been a story where they saw who the other person really was and grew to like, and possibly, love each other then it would have been a better story. I may not be ranting for as long as I am now. But it wasn’t and I am. All romances seemed forced and empty except with Henri but by the times I started to really like him, the book was over.
Now here’s the big spoiler. So if you haven’t finished, don’t read on…
Cass used the same technique she used in The One. She pulled the same dang plot twist. When America needed the push to be with Maxon and really fight to dissolve the castes, her father died. She went home and read all about him and what he really had been doing all his life. That gave her the push she needed to go back with her head held high and ready to fight for Maxon’s heart. Even though she already had it.
Now Cass thought that was a great way to do that, let’s do it again. So she did the same thing, differently, but it gave Eadlyn the push she needs to be a better person, doubtful, and actually give a crap about the selection. Unfortunately we won’t get to find out what happens with that since the next book comes out in 2016. So I’m easily waiting here on my seat for the FINAL book, because although I didn’t enjoy this one like I did the first three, I’m dumb enough to continue on.
I really wished I loved The Heir. I wish that it was better than it turned out to be, but instead I’ll just reread The Selection and pretend that we ended at Happily Ever After and never looked back. Someday, authors will realize that they need to leave well enough ALONE.