A new Selection has arrived

By Katie Zhao, ’19

It’s the sequel to one of the most beloved dystopian romance novels. It’s the predecessor to a new love story. It’s “The Heir,” the long-awaited fourth book in the Selection series. The book came out on May 5 and was written by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Kiera Cass. Published by HarperCollins, teens eagerly anticipated the book’s release.

“The Heir” is set in the fictional country of Illéa, 20 years after characters America Singer and Maxon Schreave achieve their happily ever after in “The One”, the third book in the installment. 20 years ago, America and Maxon became Queen and King of Illéa. And they have a daughter.

Image courtesy of kieracass.com

Image courtesy kieracass.com

Enter Princess Eadlyn Schreave, heir to the throne of Illéa. She wields power, but has no control over her life. So when her parents decide to hold a Selection to divert the people’s attention, an astronomical 18-year old tantrum detonates.

For Princess Eadlyn’s Selection, 35 randomly selected boys compete for the girl and the crown. What could possibly go wrong with 35 boys, one princess and a bucketful of drama?

A lot.

Devoted fans can rest easy, for the old cast of characters such as Maxon and America continue to play a central role in the novel. They offer Princess Eadlyn advice and a good shoulder to cry on. Readers can continue to sigh when parents America and Maxon look at each other fondly.

Kiera Cass’s fourth Selection novel doesn’t suffer from a dull main character. Princess Eadlyn Schreave projects as a headstrong, confident and rebellious royal, similar to the former protagonist America Singer. Readers can sympathize with Eadlyn’s sense of powerlessness in all her moods, from selfish to kind and brash to considerate. Her personality grows as the book progresses and she begins to leave her childishness behind as she matures, opening her heart to people.

What readers can worry about are the awkward romantic scenes. Make out sessions consist of the usual smooching and love declarations, but no actual chemistry. Sure, the characters have similar interests, but “The Selection”, the first novel in the series, did it better. Why?

Maxon vs. America. Conflicts make up believable love stories, furthering the relationship and helping the lovers acquire mutual trust. No major conflicts arise between Eadlyn and her suitors, turning the otherwise touching, crying-out-loud scenes into sappy and empty awkwardness. When two characters who never knew each other a few pages back start kissing, there has to be a good reason.

Overall, “The Heir” can compare to the rest of the Selection series, one of the book’s strengths being in its unusual prickly protagonist. The novel does suffer from a case of unconvincing romance, even as 35 boys try to captivate Eadlyn’s heart. For fans of the last three books, the sheer joy of seeing favorite characters again should outweigh the mushy love woes of Princess Eadlyn.