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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Heir Apparent - Vivian Vande Velde

Giannine received a gift certificate for her birthday to the local virtual reality video game center. When she got there, there were protesters outside – something about exposing minors to too much violence. She ran through the crowd anyway, and picked the game Heir Apparent.

And just when the game was starting to get somewhere, a strange lightning storm appeared out of nowhere, and a man (wearing jeans and t-shirt) appeared out of the skies to warn her that the protesters had tried to destroy the machines, and she was stuck inside, until she could win the game. And now she has to win the game, or she’ll die.

So, Giannine’s now stuck in a medieval world with three potentially evil princes for half-brothers, a queen who clearly doesn’t like her, three questionable allies for royal advisers, and barbarians and dragons at the gate. She can only win if she finds all the clues that’ll show her how to win over the people and secure her throne.

This is a clever, fun read. If you game (or hang out with gamers like I do), and/or read fantasy, you’ll love this book. Giannine’s frustrations with the rules, and her various navigations of the game (it starts over if you die, but not infinitely) are a hoot. It’s also a great commentary on our video game culture today.

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