The Heir's Choice picked up where The Vanished Knight left off. Callan has been handed over to the Elves and her grandfather has plans for her to marry the heir of Icaimerith in order to ease tensions between the two lands. Meanwhile Darrion and Gawain are on a mission to rescue the Knight. James and Ward are also still on the other side with Phipps, having been recruited for training, because they've got work to do before they can return home.
Sometimes I think second books can be tricky because they've already established the world of the story and all the action is getting underway, but they still need to hook you in and keep you reading. Look at The Two Towers, you don't even see Frodo and Sam for half the book, and they're kind of the main characters. I liked that The Heir's Choice got right back into the action, especially as I'd read the first one so recently so it was all fresh in my mind.
I did find it a little harder to keep track of what was going on in this book, compared to the previous one, that's mainly because there's a lot more going on in The Heir's Choice. Callan ends up virtually separated from her friends, while James and Ward have got their own thing going on now as well. Things have gotten a lot more political in the story line, which is why I think future editions might benefit from having some maps or a list of characters (a la A Song of Ice and Fire) to help keep everything straight.
We didn't see much of the Elves in The Vanished Knight but we get to see plenty of them in The Heir's Choice. They are really not likeable at all, though despite that, I'd quite like to know more about them and their culture. I'm so used to Elves in the Tolkien sense of the race, so these Elves who are kind of stuck up were definitely something different. They've obviously got quite a complicated social structure and I'm curious to see if they are revisited again in the future books.
I actually found myself wanting to know more about James and Ward in this book, something that as kind of ironic considering how much James annoyed me in the first book. I would have liked to have seen more of what he was up to in this book. I couldn't help but reminded of my feelings towards Sansa in A Song of Ice and Fire as I went from despising him in the first book to looking forward to seeing him in the second.
I'm glad that we did get some answers raised in the first book, particularly regarding the entity in Callan's soul. I'm glad that it was explained and resolved as I think I might have found it frustrating to keep reading without understanding exactly what that was about.
The book ends in such a way that if you didn't want to read the rest of the books in the series (when they are published) you're not really being left on a cliffhanger; there is a resolution to the storyline. It has raised more questions for me though. I'm curious about the interaction between the real world and the other, how the doors in the castle work and the purpose of the school. I hope that these questions will be answered in the future.