An unlikeable protagonist, a complete lack of stakes, and barely a trace of plot – The Heir sets a new low for series continuations. There’s been a trend lately of authors continuing series after a several year gap (Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, literally any series that Cassandra Clare has written). Sometimes, revisiting an existing series can be a fun way to expand a universe and allow the author to skip over some of the world building and dive straight into a story. The Heir turned out to be a poster child for the importance of knowing when to leave well enough alone.
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.
Normally, I spend part of my review talking about the plot highs and lows. Honestly, I’m not sure how to do that for this book. I finished reading it yesterday, and looking back there was really no plot to speak of. It’s mostly Eadlyn (the main character) rambling about how she hates her parents for forcing her to do a Selection, about how she hates the people around her, and how she’s superior to everyone else. One of my complaints about the original trilogy was the lack of style in the writing – this book is even worse than the originals. There is a lack of style, the writing is poor and it altogether feels very rushed – almost like they were rushing to cash in on the success of the earlier books (especially after the short story collection’s sales comparatively flopped).
Eadlyn is a wholly unlikeable character – she’s stuck up, whiney, and very, very entitled. She has never worked for anything in her life and was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she still relentlessly complains about every facet of her life. Her main defining attribute was that she didn’t want to have a Selection – but she never worked to come up with any alternative solutions to solve her family’s image problems. She was cruel to the men vying for her heart, and the people around her in the castle. It would have been one thing if she had just started as this entitled character, but she never grew or learned from her asshole-ish ways. I wish there had been more of America and Maxon in this book – it would have been a nice way to callback and a way to build the characters further. Instead, they were absent for most of the book outside of appearing and uncharacteristically forcing their daughter into a process that nearly killed them in The One.
I expected many of the suitors to remain faceless – there are 35 of them and it’s pretty unreasonable to expect all of them to be developed and be present in the book for long. What I didn’t expect, was for all of them to basically be used as props. None of the boys really had personalities – even Kile, who had lived with Eadlyn his entire life. The lack of character definition made the suitor’s romantic gestures feel cheap and contrived, and made it impossible to believe that Eadlyn would actually end up with someone. There was also no chemistry between any of the characters – romantically or in a friendly way. The weirdest part of the book was the lack of a villain – there was no one to push the main character to grow or to make them overcome a challenge.
This continuation of The Selection series leaves everything to be desired and is pretty clearly a desperate cash grab. It adds nothing to the series and even goes as far as to ruin existing characters. The original Selection trilogy didn’t even end on a particularly high note – but this book just goes to show the importance of leaving well enough alone. Even if you’re a fan of the original trilogy, I would give this book a hard pass. It’ll just ruin your fond memories of the originals. 1/5