Cover image for Heir apparent
Heir apparent
Vande Velde, Vivian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, 2002.
Physical Description:
315 pages ; 22 cm
While playing a total immersion virtual reality game of kings and intrigue, fourteen-year-old Giannine learns that demonstrators have damaged the equipment to which she is connected, and she must win the game quickly or be damaged herself.
Reading Level:
820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.6 11.0 62559.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.5 18 Quiz: 31861 Guided reading level: W.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



In Heir Apparent there are as many ways to win as there are to get killed.
Giannine can testify to how many ways there are to die--it's about all she's been able to do since she started playing. Now all she has to do is get the magic ring, find the stolen treasure, answer the dwarf's dumb riddles, come up with a poem for the head-chopping statue, cope with the army of ghosts, outmaneuver her half brothers, and defeat the man-eating dragon.
If she can do all of that , why, she just might save her own life!

Author Notes

Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at children and young adults. She currently resides in Rochester, New York. Her novels and short story collections usually contain elements of horror, fantasy, and humor. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. The terrifying implications of virtual reality gone awry get a lighthearted spin in Velde's latest novel, which is set in a technologically advanced future. Smart, alienated Giannine decides to celebrate her fourteenth birthday at a computer gaming center, where she chooses an elaborate, virtual-reality role-playing game. Set in medieval times, the game turns Giannine into an exiled princess who must stay alive until she can return to court and assume the throne. As Giannine plays, a group of censorship advocates break into the computer system, and Giannine suddenly discovers that she must complete the game in the allotted time or die. The evocative details, plausible technology, and Giannine's sharp-witted narration will completely immerse readers in Giannine's world as she makes life-threatening decisions and evades danger. The thrilling sf drama and intricate game details will capture the Dungeons and Dragons set, and the slapstick humor, tough girl protagonist, and fairy-tale plot will widen the audience. This also raises interesting questions about censorship. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

When Giannine arrives at a virtual arcade, she is greeted by protestors but decides to play in Heir Apparent anyway. But then the arcade's CEO appears in her game and tells her the only way out is to successfully complete it-and quickly, or risk "fatal overload." PW called this a "consistently entertaining fantasy... ingeniously developed." Ages 10-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Vivian Vande Velde's novel (Harcourt, 2002) combines fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction into one seamless tale. Giannine has turned 14 and her dead-beat dad sends her a gift certificate to a virtual reality gaming center. She decides to play "Heir Apparent," a game in which she is the illegitimate daughter of a dead king, and must win the throne in order to win the game. Giannine's brain is hooked up to electrodes so that she may experience all the feelings, sights, and smells of medieval life. When a radical group determined to close down the gaming center damages the main frame computer, Giannine must win the game or die trying. What follows is a delightful romp as the heroine attempts to subdue her murderous step-family, win over the citizens she encounters, and complete a quest in order to seize the throne. Narrator Carine Montbertrand strikes just the right acerbic tone for Giannine and nicely interprets all the weird, wonderful characters encountered along the way. This fantasy will even appeal to young adults who don't like fantasy and will charm young and older teens alike.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter oneHappy Birthday to MeIt was my fourteenth birthday, and I was arguing with a bus. How pathetic is that?Even before the bus had started in on me, my mood wasn't exactly the best it's ever been. Birthdays do that to me. This year I didn't even have a good excuse: I had actually received my birthday gift from my father on time, which might have been a sign he was making an effort to be a more considerate and involved dad. Of course, if he was really considerate and involved, he wouldn't have had his secretary call to ask me what kind of gift certificate I wanted for my birthday.Whatever. Birthday = don't-mess-with-me mood.So there I was, on my way to cash in my gift certificate, riding on a bus powered by artificial intelligence-emphasis on the artificial.I saw the picketers just as the bus paged me: "Passenger Giannine Bellisario, you asked to disembark at the Rasmussem Gaming Center, but there is a civil disturbance at your stop. Do you wish to continue to another destination, or would you prefer to be returned to the location at which you boarded?" The voice was kind and polite and only slightly metallic.I was not polite. I sighed. Loudly. "Are they on strike?" I asked into the speaker embedded in the armrest.There was a brief pause while the bus's computer brain accessed Central Information. "Rasmussem employees are not on strike," the bus reassured me, at just about the same time that I could make out the picketers' signs. "The demonstration is by members of CPOC."I sighed even louder. They pronounce it, C pock. It stands for Citizens to Protect Our Children. As a fourteen-year-old, I qualify-by society's definition-as a child. I am willing to accept protection from stray meteors, ecoterrorists, and my seven-year-old cousin, Todd. But I don't feel in need of protecting by CPOC, which strongly believes that only G-rated movies should be made and that libraries should stock only nice, uplifting books that promote solid family values-nice being defined as nothing supernatural, nothing violent, nothing scary. That about kills my entire reading list. I think there are a couple alphabet books they approve of. Still, as far as I knew, this was the first time they'd ever come after Rasmussem.I have excellent timing like that.As the bus passed by the patch of sidewalk the picketers had claimed, I could read their signs: MAGIC = SATANISM and VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE and INAPPROPRIATE FOR OUR CHILDREN."Why can't you drop me off?" I asked. "Legally, they aren't allowed to obstruct anyone from going in." I'd learned that in Participation in Government class."Rochester Transit Authority is prohibited from letting a minor disembark into a situation that might be hazardous," the bus told me.A little bit of artificial intelligence can be an annoying thing. "What are they going to do: smack me on the head with a pamphlet?" I asked.The bus didn't answer and kept on moving. I was not going to win an argument, I could tell."Well, then," I Excerpted from Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Happy Birthday to Mep. 3
2 Off to a Fantastic Start (Not!)p. 12
3 Fun and Games with the Familyp. 22
4 A Heavenly Visitorp. 32
--Rasmussem interoffice e-mailp. 41
5 Simple Mathp. 43
6 "Do Not Pass Go; Do Not Collect $200"p. 47
7 Shuffle and Deal Againp. 52
8 Hey, Loser, Start Over Again (Again)p. 58
9 Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Beforep. 68
10 Family Historyp. 70
11 A Poem Can Be a Home to Those Who Roam (Or, Like, Whatever)p. 80
--Rasmussem interoffice e-mailp. 87
12 Onep. 88
13 Disarming the Troopsp. 98
14 Are We Having Fun Yet?p. 106
--Rasmussem interoffice e-mailp. 120
15 Bright Sword, Dim Brotherp. 121
16 Lunchp. 136
17 Treasure Huntp. 150
18 Calling in the Reinforcementsp. 164
19 Magic Realism (without the Realism)p. 177
--Rasmussem interoffice e-mailp. 192
20 Siegep. 193
21 Back to the Battlementsp. 207
22 Did Someone Say Deja Vu?p. 217
--Rasmussem interoffice e-mailp. 219
23 Will the Guilty Party Please Step Forward?p. 220
24 Fast Forwardp. 231
25 Morning Comes Early When There's No Snooze Buttonp. 240
26 Keeping Everybody (But Me) Happyp. 247
27 Preparations for a Journeyp. 258
28 Xenos's Dadp. 267
29 A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step (and Other Trite Nonsense)p. 278
30 Dead Oxen and Goldp. 284
31 Home Sweet Home (Or Not)p. 292
32 The Endp. 302
33 Satisfaction Guaranteed, Or Your Money Cheerfully Refundedp. 309