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Heir Apparent Hardcover – October 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 1, 2002
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Heroes of Black History
Collection of Five "Who Was" Biographies
In this box set, discover the life and times of five icons of black history and celebrate the difference they made in the world. Hardcover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152045600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152045609
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,663,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
User Unfriendly is the one Vivian Vande Velde book I come close to actively disliking, so I was disappointed when I discovered that Heir Apparent would be a sort of companion book, also dealing with fantasy role playing games. Happily, it isn't at all necessary to have read User Unfriendly to enjoy Heir Apparent, which is by far the best of Vivian Vande Velde's more recent books.
Heir Apparent is an entertaining twist on the been-there-done-that fantasy cliche of Lost Heirs. (See Diana Wynne Jones's entry in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.) Giannine, the protagonist and narrator, plays one of those ubiquitous misplaced heirs in what at first appears to be a standard fantasy setting in a virtual reality game, full of courtly intrigue, wizards, magic rings/boots/crowns, dragons, etc. The only problem: the virtual reality equipment has been damaged, and Giannine must finish the game within a certain amount of time before suffering very real brain damage in actual life. Every poor decision resulting in death means starting over at the beginning of the game, and Heir Apparent is lacking that most essential option of all computer games-- the ability to save a game.
Because Giannine dies so many times, particularly at first, the beginning sequences can become a little repetitive. But she learns very quickly, and every mistake makes her warier, wiser, more diplomatic, and better prepared to make good judgments. In the end, navigating through a maze of people and events, equipped with newly gained assurance and leadership, Giannine is seriously kicking... Unfortunately, it isn't just a matter of winning the game; it's winning the game within a set period of time, and she's running seriously short on time...
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By A Customer on February 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Okay, so the real reason I snatched this book off the library shelf was because I liked the colorful spine. And because I knew that this book was wedged between two other Vande Velde novels; why not? I liked the author, and it sounded like my kind of book.
But once I started reading, I couldn't tear myself away from the pages. It was not cliche as so many library finds proved to be; it was original, witty, and dead-on funny.
Giannine Bellisario is a fourteen year old girl who lives (apparently) many years in the future, in a time of smart computers and talking buses. Arcades that will hook you up to a computer and let you be "in" the game. Which is exactly what Giannine is planning to do with the certificate her father gave (suprisingly on-time)to her for her birthday.
Giannine selects the game she wants to be in; Heir Apparent, a semi-difficult role-play game in which she is to claim the throne to her country, left to her by her father the King. The unknowing Heir Apparent must work around their scheming siblings and play the game just right to get out. Easy, and if you fail, no big deal, it was fun playing. Right? Well, maybe not for Giannine.
Everything wouyld have been fine if the people from CPOC (citizens to protect our children), attempting to "save the children from their imaginations", hadn't messed up the system while she was still hooked up to the machine. Now Giannine has only a limited time left to complete the game correctly--or they won't be able to get her out alive.
Fun, furturistic, and true to the life of a fourteen year old girl (from one), this novel was a good read. I would reccomend it to anyone who has an open mind and who likes an original story.
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Format: Paperback
ok, i admit-when i first read about heir apparent in a scholastic book order, i thought it would be pretty lame. but i went ahead and ordered it anyway, because i wanted to get something and it looked the most interesting out of all the books (and besides, scholastic's descriptions in their bookorders are always lame even for a really good book)

it was worth it. as soon as i opened the book, i was hooked. vivian vande velde is a really talented writer, and despite the seriousness in some parts she skillfully winds humor throughout, including the ridulus parents against fantasy or something like that, and of course the wizard's dwarf father.

the plot itself is actually alot more interesting than i thought it would be. ill probably make it sound lame here, but its about Giannine, a girl in a world clearly a few years ahead of us, but it isnt just one of those oh-look-how-bad-the-future-is-but-its-ok-cuz-look-at-all-these-new-inventions. its much better. you learn a little about giannine's past, including divorced parents(or they may have never married, i dont remember), neither of whom seem overly interested in her (she lives with her grandmother).

she begins playing a 'real life' game, heir apparent. in these real life games, a computer genereates signals to your mind, so in the course of an hour, you can spend three days actually playing the game. giannine plays the heir to a throne in a medival setting, complete with battles, fencing, wizards, and all. she keeps dying and returning to the beginning, but learns a little more each time.
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