Emma (Miss Print)'s Reviews > Heir Apparent

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde
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May 18, 07

Recommended for: fans of fantasy and/or the movie "Groundhog Day"
Read in February, 2007

Vivan Vande Velde is one of the best fantasy writers out there. Her stories are believable and populated with characters you'll remember long after the book is closed. Her stories are also surprisingly believable given that they are fantasies. Such is the case with this novel, which takes place in some undisclosed future time. The story gets into gear when the narrator, Giannine, enters a full-immersion virtual reality game (by the same name as the title of the book) to compete to rule a kingdom. The problem? If Giannine loses she might not be able to leave the game environment.

As you might have guessed by that little summary, most of this story revolves around Giannine playing the game over and over as she tries to win. This creates a lot of repetition--as we watch Giannine go through the same scenarios repeatedly with varying levels of success (If this sounds similar to the premise of "Groundhog Day" that's because it is.). Happily, instead of seeming redundant, the story/plot remains interesting. Vande Velde artfully describes the gameplay so that readers won't get bored. This makes the book go by really fast.

The characters are extremely interesting and the premise--while not totally new--is unique, as is the author's handling of it. The story features Vande Velde's usual humor throughout. What it doesn't feature is her usual ambiguous ending. The story is still open-ended but it has more closure than are found in A Well-Timed Enchantment or Companions of the Night (both also by Vande Velde and also highly recommended), which makes for a nice change.
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