Saturday, June 11, 2011

Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde

genre: middle grade

In the not too distant future, Giannine plans to spend an afternoon playing a virtual-reality video game. She puts on the special hat that immerses her into a medieval world, where she knows she needs to be crowned king in order to win. Except, soon after her game begins there's a...glitch. A glitch that makes the stakes of this game higher than she can imagine. If she wants to have the real world back, Giannine has to make all the right choices and get that crown on her head.

The set-up of this book makes it an interesting blend of fantasy/reality, where Giannine's thoughts are modern day but she has to make some pretty intense medieval fantasy type decisions - and death in this game isn't the end. It just starts you over from the beginning - so figuring out how to NOT get yourself killed is only one of the most important decisions she has to make in order to have her brain back. Dragons, barbarians, magicians - Giannine has to make alliances and figure out if she needs to go with her heart or her head. I liked watching her play a "choose your own adventure" game where you constantly can learn from your mistakes and start over.

Intriguing premise. Snarky and sarcastic narrator that keeps things light. A good middle-grade read.

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