The end is in sight: only one more set of chapters after this. WE CAN DO IT! When we last saw Eadlyn, she had presumably decided who was going to be the grand winner. But we all know a lot can happen in 60 pages, which is approximately what’s left. It’s like watching a medical TV drama – you know the diagnosis is only going to be right when there’s about  10 minutes left. Missed some chapters? Not a problem: previous installments are here, ready and waiting for you!

Chapter 26

Eadlyn is attempting to reconcile herself to marrying Kile instead of True Love Erik.

“I figured at some point, once Kile knew I was choosing him, I’d come clean to him about some of this. And I knew Kile well enough to know that he’d understand if I confessed to feeling confused about the process and that kissing Eikko wasn’t something I planned, both of which were true. I didn’t want it hanging over us. Any of us.”

Hold it right there! Nothing is hanging over Kile at this point – he’s completely oblivious – and it’s not very fair of Eadlyn to hang her self-inflicted thundercloud over him just so she doesn’t have to be alone in the rain. While honesty is a policy I would highly recommend in marriage, she’s setting herself up to choose between dishonesty on her part and wrenching disappointment on Kile’s. Not because she kissed Erik, because she’s smooched a few Boys by this point, but because if he gets wind of the fact that she is truly more in love with someone else, that will deal possibly-irreparable damage to the relationship. Screw the politics, marrying anyone other than Erik is a terrible idea as far as the health of the relationship is concerned. So since this is the Selection, I’m sure by now we’re all operating under the assumption that things will work out between Queenie and Ocean Eyes in the end.

The office door opens, and cue a surprise reappearance by Josie, who has done a complete 180 in the last 24 hours. Gone is the whiny, bratty teen of…yesterday, and in her place is a newly subdued, humbly ready to help…helper. I’m not complaining about this transition, because Josie was annoying as all get-out, but the notion that she has been so completely transformed in such a short period of time leaves me feeling like we missed her journey and skipped straight to the end. One or two days (let’s get crazy, maybe three!) of seeing even a little snippet of Josie coming to terms with her newly-expanded worldview would’ve be nice.

Date time with Fox, if you think walking around the palace halls qualifies as a date. Personally, I do not. It’s boring boring boring, and she subtly tries to hint that he is on the way out, but he isn’t picking up the trail of breadcrumbs. He does, however, insist on laying his feelings out there in a profession of love that is more awkward than endearing to read since we know he’s totally not going to win. Sorry Fox, but you’ve gotten about as much screen time as Captain Phasma did in The Force Awakens, i.e. 5 minutes to everyone else’s 2+ hours. It ain’t gonna happen.

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She is also way cooler than Fox, even in 5 minutes.

Chapter 27

Neena and Eadlyn puzzle over Fox’s declarations, coming to the conclusion that “‘He’s in love with someone he thinks you are, not who you really are,'” Based on the fact that he’s only had a single meaningful interaction with Eadlyn, which was after the kitchen fight in The Heir, I’d say that’s a distinct possibility, but the fault for that lies squarely on Eadlyn. If she’d paid perhaps a tiny bit more attention to The Boys, instead of ignoring them for her mysterious “work,” she might have given him the chance to actually know her. But this is how it stands, and we need a reason to say goodbye to Fox, flimsy though it is.

BREAKING DRAMA LLAMAS! MARID WAS SEEN SHOPPING FOR ENGAGEMENT RINGS! Of course, it isn’t confirmed that he’s planning to propose to Eadlyn, but this country is fueled by gossip and it is running rampant. The best part of this is the cameras interviewing one of the jewelers:

“He seemed a little bashful at first, as if he wasn’t ready to admit why he was here. But after about fifteen minutes of him lingering along the case, it was pretty obvious what he was looking for.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! If you’ve never shopped for engagement rings, allow me to shed some light on the process. No jeweler – I repeat – NO JEWELER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER will allow you “linger at a case” for so much as a heartbeat without immediately accosting you, let alone fifteen whole minutes. It is extremely unnerving, and they will almost certainly try to upsell you into something with more bling than Eadlyn’s crown, except it’s condensed onto a single finger. The only way to get around this is to go to a local place where they actually care about what you want rather than just seeing how much money they can squeeze out of you in terms of diamonds per square inch. #ShopLocal

Anywho, the palace is in an uproar. General Leger suggests whacking him off, but unfortunately nobody goes for that. Everyone is yelling, but the one person that really made my blood boil was the adviser named Andrews:

“‘[Eadlyn] has never been just a person!’ Andrews reminded [Lady Brice]. ‘From the second she was born, she’s been a commodity, and we need to-‘
General Leger was moving toward Andrews. ‘Say that again. I’m not afraid to make death my go-to move.'”

Andrews comes out of the encounter alive, without even a swift slap across the face, which he richly deserves as far as I’m concerned. This whole Selection is dissolving into madness, and Eadlyn knows it. So in a bold move, she’s moving her final choice up to tomorrow night instead of the originally planned two weeks. After all, it’s not like she’s waiting for love at this point. It’s all turned into a giant chess game, and she might as well go in for the finishing move. Light speed achieved!

Chapter 28

Josie and Eadlyn have a heart-to-heart. She apologizes profusely for being an insufferable brat, and gracious understanding abounds. Also, information drop! Eadlyn confirms what she has long suspected, which is that Josie was responsible for submitting Kile’s name into the Selection drawing. In pursuit of her lifelong dream of being a princess, Josie thought the chance to be sister-in-law to one would be the next best thing.

We see Eadlyn offer Josie a paid job at the palace so she can start saving money toward pursuing her own dreams. She also writes to her scientist brother to see if Neena’s boyfriend can get some sciencey job closer to home. Not super important details, in my opinion, but they’re dropped in to show us that Eadlyn truly has everyone’s best interests at heart and is a loving person…for those that live in the palace. I’m still not convinced she knows diddly squat about what goes on outside the palace.

Chapter 29

Fox skips out without saying goodbye when he learns he’s out of the running. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t want to have to face the girl I’d poured my heart out to less than 24 hours ago, knowing that all I’d get is rejection. Hale’s leaving too, but in a flurry of excitement and warm fuzzies since Eadlyn asked him to design her wedding dress. Will he have more than the week’s worth of notice that the coronation dress designer had? Who knows. We’re nearing the end of the book, so The Boys are dropping like flies.

Who’s next? Kile – except he’s supposed to be the one she’s going to pick. But wait a minute, STOP THE PRESSES! She’s not picking Kile.

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Unable to bear the thought of taking him away from his lifelong dream of architecture and binding him to a life at the palace, she’s pushes the proverbial baby bird out of the next by – get this – banishing him from the palace for a year. LOL! It sounds ridiculous, but is actually a decent solution, considering: a) his mom is crazy bananas possessive about keeping him at home, so b) Eadlyn is getting him an apartment across the country, to c) fully finance the homeless housing project he’s been dreaming about putting into action. Nice work, Eady.

Although I’m curious to know why being a prince consort would mean he had to give up his dream career. Surely there are homeless people in Angeles that could benefit from housing, and wouldn’t it be nice to see a prince consort who does something other than sit on his butt all day? Not getting out to be with the people is what got the monarchy into all this hot water in the first place.

So now the plan is to marry Henri, which we all know is never going to happen in 1000 years. If it wasn’t obvious that it’s going to be Erik, it’s unmistakeable now. Kile would’ve actually been pretty good, but no amount of Henri’s puppy-like affection will make this marriage happen. It’s going to be Erik, it’s just a question of when and how.

Chapter 30

In a futile attempt to make us believe she will not follow her heart’s desire, this whole chapter is her giving Erik the lowdown on the latest herd of drama llamas and saying goodbye. Proposal to Henri – happening tonight. Erik makes himself scarce for forever – tomorrow. Professions of love and gross crying kisses.

It all would be quite touching and sentimental if Eadlyn didn’t make the stupidest, most eye-rolling move of the century immediately after their kiss. Since she’s got Erik’s heirloom ring (which no one has noticed, apparently), she decides he needs a token of her love, which obviously has to be her signet ring. As in…the signet ring that the reigning royal wears, passed to her from Maxon when she became Regent. Because no one will notice it’s gone, or who has it. As far as dumb moves go, this one really takes the cake.

We leave her as she’s heading to propose to Henri, following a wrenching bout of vomiting and sobbing over Erik’s impending departure. Hope she rinsed out her mouth in case Henri wants to kiss his fiancée.

Stay tuned for the final installment, Chapters 31-Epilogue!

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