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Heir apparent

by Vivian Vande Velde


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Vande Velde (Never Trust a Dead Man) establishes a clever premise for this consistently entertaining fantasy novel. When Giannine arrives at the virtual reality arcade, the organization Citizens to Protect Our Children is protesting out front (their signs bear such messages as inappropriate for children and magic = satanism). Giannine goes in anyway, choosing to play Heir Apparent. In it, she assumes the role of shepherd Janine de St. Jehan, illegitimate daughter of the late king, and she will become the new king if she can survive constant threats, including potential warfare and perhaps even a dragon. For Giannine, the stakes are raised when a man claiming to be the arcade's CEO appears in her game, telling her that the CPOC protestors have vandalized the equipment: Her only way out of the game is to successfully complete it-and quickly, or she risks "fatal overload." The story line is ingeniously developed; each time Giannine's character "dies," Giannine must start back at the beginning, making more informed choices and using her developing diplomacy to prevent a war with barbarians, or win over the royal troops. It can be a little hard to keep track of all the people and the plotting, but hilarious characters (like a sweet-talking barbarian king and a centipede-eating wizard) plus fantastical elements (e.g., a hat that "lets you avoid the time stream [so you can] keep moving when all about you is still") will spur readers on toward the satisfying conclusion. Ages 8-12.-- keep moving when all about you is still") will spur readers on toward the satisfying conclusion. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-9-All of the elements of a good fantasy are present in this adventure. Giannine Bellisario is about to celebrate her 14th birthday. This year, she actually receives a present from her father on time. It is a gift certificate to any Rasmussem Gaming Center Virtual Reality Arcade. Crossing a picket line formed by CPOC (Citizens to Protect Our Children) to enter, she decides to use her certificate for a total-immersion game called Heir Apparent. The object is to be crowned king. When the demonstrators damage the center, the protagonist is on her own and must complete the game successfully in order to escape permanent brain damage. Ghosts, witches, wizards, and magical tools help her as she races against time and faces many setbacks. Challenges range from barbarian attacks and peasant uprisings to a giant dragon. In addition, the half brothers and the hostile queen have treacherous plans to keep the crown for themselves. This adventure includes a cast of intriguing characters and personalities. The feisty heroine has a funny, sarcastic sense of humor and succeeds because of her ingenuity and determination. This unique combination of futuristic and medieval themes will appeal to fans of fantasy and science fiction.-Lana Miles, Duchesne Academy, Houston, TX

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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