"Heir Apparent" is "Groundhog Day" in a computer-generated fantasy world. Giannine gets trapped in a fantasy game of duelling heirs, and must find a solution to the game in order to escape.Unlike "Groundhog Day", there's no convenient jump-montage from working out the repetition to the "been there hundreds of days and now can play the piano" final solution stage. While Vande Velde fortunately does abbreviate some of the repetition, there was a little too much "learning stages" and I came very close to flipping to the end of the book.Overall, my main impression of this story was that if I was a virtual reality gamer, I would _hate_ this game. It didn't seem like a fun one to play and at the beginning was almost as unforgiving as playing Zork without a lantern. Still, I think this is a book which would appeal to readers closer to the main character's age (14), but it was a not-quite-mesh for me.It does leave me keen to get on with the space opera virtual reality game novel that I have on my long-range list of books to write.