Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Heir Apparent

by Vivian Vande Velde
Start Date: 4 September 2011
End Date: 4 September 2011
Paperback, 315 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Magic Carpet Books

Summary (from Goodreads):
Lose the game, lose your life. 

In the virtual reality game Heir Apparent, there are way too many ways to get killed - and Giannine seems to be finding them all. Unless she can
   - get the magic ring,
   - find the stolen treasure,
   - answer the dwarf's dumb riddles,
   - impress the head-chopping statue,
   - charm the army of ghosts,
   - fend off the barbarians,
   -and defeat the man-eating dragon,
she'll never win. And if she doesn't win, she will die - for real this time.

I am so glad I reread this book. For years it has been, still is, and will be for a very long time, one of my absolute favorite books. Heir Apparent was the first book I ever reviewed on this blog (click for my old review). Wow, have I come far since then.

Since I've read it so many times, rather than worrying along with Giannine about the chances of "fatal overload"(minor spoiler, highlight to view), I can enjoy the twists and turns she goes through as she tries to find her way through the game, and laugh at all the crazy situations she gets herself into.

This is by far my favorite of Vande Velde's works. She is consistently funny from the first sentence to the last chapter. From the ridiculous positions Giannine finds herself in ("Cluck, cluck cluck,' I said: You stupid idiot, you have lousy timing") to her nearly continuous and constantly amusing side-commentary ("Luckily, I found that all I needed to contribute to the situation was a rapt expression and an occasional 'Impressive!' or 'My! That's interesting.'")

The characters are all extremely memorable (as one meets them over and over every time Giannine mus restart the game). Whether Queen Andreanna with her "This girl smells like a goat" or Xenos's father with his riddles, they're all lots of fun to read about. A personal favorite of mine is Sister Mary Ursala. Every time I read Heir Apparent, I'll be giggling whenever someone says the word "One" for days afterward.

Overall Thoughts: This is definitely on my "short list" of favorites. It's harder than one would think to write a review for an absolute favorite, but I did my best (and hopefully didn't overwhelm you with quotes). Heir Apparent is recommended for Middle Schoolers.

I read this book for my Fortnight of Old Favorites Challenge.

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