Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Review: The Selection, The Elite and The One (The Selection Series)
Two things right off the bat should alert my gentle readers that something's amiss here. One, I'm reviewing an entire trilogy at once. (Phew!) But the truth is, I read them all within three days so I might as well just get the opinions on to Internet paper while I'm at it.
The second thing that's a little off is that this series by Kiera Cass is NOT indie. In fact, I almost died when I saw the price (ebook!) for The One ($8.99...for an EBOOK!). But I found the first two on Oyster and really, reeeeally had to know what happened. So, spend the cash I did.
Let's get down to it.
The premise is a little Hunger Games (castes versus districts) meets Bachelor (35 young women selected to vie for a Prince on television in front of the nation).
This is a sort of dystopian America called Illea. From what I gathered, the Chinese invaded America some time in the future because of our inability to pay the debts back. After a few years under the boot heels, America fought back and became Illea where a caste system was put into place.
It's also important to know, there are some Northern rebels who hate the caste system. And some Southern rebels who really just hate everything and everyone. They blow the castle up as much as they can.
Oh, a king and a queen, too. And queens were selected via a reality show. Stay with me...
America Singer is a member of caste Five. Poor musicians, mostly. Eight is the homeless, One is nobility. Do the math...Fives aren't high on the food chain. In her quiet life, she's in love with and prepared to marry a boy/man named Aspen Leger, who happens to be a dirt poor Six.
Somehow, in the course of the first few chapters of The Selection, Aspen dumps America in hopes she'll go on the match-making show and get herself a better life.
Boy breaks girls heart.
Girl meets new boy, who happens to be a sheltered Prince who has really big muscles and really no moves when it comes to ladies. He's also got himself a case of some stilted language, but I eventually forgave him for all the my dears and darlings.
There's your typical mean girl. Your shy girl. Your dark horse rival who you didn't really see coming until she's all up and engaged with your man. (Oh, hai Kriss.)
By the end of The Selection, America's made it to the Elite six and into Prince Maxon's heart. Aspen's also made it into the castle as a guard. (What what?!)
The Elite picks up with the competition heating up. Things never go well in book two, and it holds true here, as well. Her best friend up and gets involved with a castle guard and they both get caned (seriously).
America's angry at Maxon. She's confused about Aspen. That's kind of how most of book two continues on. Sometimes Maxon loves America, sometimes he loves the comfort of boring girl Kriss. And some other times, he likes the nasty attention of the bad girl. (barf).
Cass did a great job trying to get us in the head of what it must be like for a Bachelor contestant. I know for a fact I'd flip my stuff if I was falling for a man and he was continuously swapping slobber with another girl.
Anyway. Things get close for Maxon and American at the end of the The Elite and then they get blown all to hell.
That's where we pick up in The One. She's in it for real now, as Aspen has fallen for one of her maids (which, I guess, America is totally cool with) and the gloves have come off when it comes to Kriss, who Maxon very nearly marries. A scene which very nearly made me throw my Nook through a door.
I'll do my best to wrap it up and hope you'll read it for yourself. A selection is made. A king and queen are crowned and life is different for the kingdom.
I'm terrible, right?
The next installment, The Heir, is due out in the Spring. We can expect a cover reveal soon.
WHAT I LOVED:
What I thought was going to be a struggle (the "Hunger Games" feel to the caste system), was actually very interesting and added a layer to the story. I also loved Maxon...eventually. But his dialect and manner of speaking really did drive me banaynays.
I grew to love America, honestly. I was rooting for her and wanted her to win by the time we got rolling toward the end of The Elite.
WHAT WAS DIFFICULT:
Ugh. America. She was trying in the beginning, for sure. She seemed a little cookie-cutter perfect when it came to her standoffishness when she first arrived at The Selection. I mean, I know she was bitter about Aspen, but it felt like a stretch when she was so sure of mouth and sass right off the bat. We all wish we could be so unaffected by something like being at the palace, but she just seemed like too cool of a cucumber for me at the beginning. But, like I said earlier, I grew to love her.
I feel like it all wrapped up a little too quickly for me, but maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe I'll get all the extra time with the characters I'll need with The Heir.
Title: The Selection, The Elite and The One
Series: The Selection Series
Author: Kiera Cass
Author Website: kieracass.com
Author Twitter: @kieracass
Price: The Selection (2.99/9.99) The Elite (5.99/9.99) The One (8.99/17.99)
Book Source: Oyster.com