Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Publication: October 1st, 2002
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Description: In Heir Apparent there are as many ways to win as there are to get killed. Giannine can testify to how many ways there are to die--it's about all she's been able to do since she started playing. Now all she has to do is get the magic ring, find the stolen treasure, answer the dwarf's dumb riddles, come up with a poem for the head-chopping statue, cope with the army of ghosts, outmaneuver her half brothers, and defeat the man-eating dragon. If she can do all of that, why, she just might save her own life!
My Review:I read another of Velde's books, Dragon's Bait, and quite liked it, so after my sister highly reccommended Heir Apparent to me, I decided to give it a go. Heir Apparent tells the story of 14 year old Giannine's quest to complete the virtual reality game, Heir Apparent. Besides the numerous difficulties that the game itself poses, she is on a deadline - literally. Soon after entering the game world, the equipment she was hooked up to is damaged by protesters and the workers don't know how long she'll last. There's only one way to disconnect her from the equipment and save her: she has to finish the game.
With fantasy and adventure all wrapped up in a sci-fi package, Heir Apparent had an interesting and unique storyline that I very much enjoyed. The main character, Giannine, was witty, strong, and determined and I liked hearing the story from her perspective. Besides the well written story, I liked that it was funny. Between Giannine and the other virtual characters of the game, I often found myself cracking up. I've grown very tired of the fluffy jokes and attempted humor that plauges some lesser YA novels, but there was none of that here. When I wasn't laughing, I was groaning along with Giannine as she tries (often unsuccessfully) to overcome the troublesome game. The game throws everything from puzzles to ghosts at Giannine, and she must overcome it or start the game completely over, cutting into her time to finish the game or die.
The only reason Heir Apparent didn't get a 5 heart rating from me was because of its lack of romance. After reading that the main character was only 14 years old, I knew then that my taste for romance would not be sated. It doesn't have to be anything major.. just one tiny kiss, please? There are major possibilites on the romance field for Heir Apparent though. Three gorgeous brothers next in line behind Giannine for the throne? Yum. And sure they're virtual, but that doesn't mean a girl can't have some fun. Heir Apparent was definitely a YA book, but probably more of a middle school type of YA than the older kind that I am accustomed to.
Full of dragons, magic, and future-tech, Heir Apparent was a fun read that I quite enjoyed. It is a stand-alone novel and is perfect for any who are looking for a good story with a few laughs.