Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Synopsis/Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. -Taken from GoodReads
From the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository
In this dystopia world, people were divided into eight castes. The Ones being royals and the Eights being the lowest. America Singer was a Five, which meant that her family was poor, and when the chance of the Selection came, her mother urged to join so they could at least have the chance to finally step out of poverty. The Selection was actually a competition of sorts held for the purpose of finding the prince, Maxon, a wife. Since America had a secret lover in home, she refused to join, but after some persuasion from both her boyfriend and her family, she relented and joined, thinking she wouldn't even have a chance to be chosen within thousands of girls to be the one of the 35 competitors. She was wrong, obviously, and she was picked, so within weeks America was flew off to the palace and began the competition with 34 girls to win the prince's heart.
The premise sounded quite different from the usual dystopia novel, right? That's 'cause it is! To be honest, it was a little too similar to The Hunger Games at first but this one was more of a romance novel, with a sub-plot that featured, you guessed, revolutionaries that revolted against the royals that ruled the country. I wasn't a big romance fan but I must say the fast pace of the book really kept me reading, and I had an interest to learn more about the revolutionaries.
However, though many events happened throughout the book, if you looked at it in a big picture, nothing much actually happened. We had the start of the Selection, and I thought at least by the end of this book the Selection would be over, but it was clear that it would be stretched to the next book, with only 6 girls left as The Elite. We had a couple intrusion from the revolutionaries, but they actually never had any direct contact with our protagonist, so there were really no excitement from the sub-plot. We also had a love triangle but needless to say that was not resolved. And a little mystery from a friend America made during the Selection, which wasn't revealed in this book either. Actually, I just recalled all the big events that happened in the book, yup, that little, and there were not much progress on the plot lines except The Selection part, so you could actually guess how slow the plot development was for this book. I know I did just say it was fast-paced, but I meant that in a sense that events followed very closely, but most of these events had little significance to the plot :P
One more complaint, the plot twists, or may I say, the climax was seriously lacking. Actually, there were no climax at all. I think the intrusion from the revolutionaries were supposed to be the climax, but let me tell, they were hiding during that particular part. Yes, so no excitements or any action more than a few ladies running around in their dresses or robes. Let me tell you, a book that has no climax is not okay with me.
Though I seemed to have some pretty big stuff to pick at, The Selection actually was a good read. It was entertaining when reading, but when I tried to review the events happened in the book, I found how little plot development there was. No worries, if you are not especially picky, this book will be a good light read. But the next HG or Twilight? No way. (And Harry Potter can never be compared or replaced by another series :P)
Dystopia novels rely heavy on their world-building, and the world building for this book was average. The whole caste idea actually wasn't new, I am sure you would have seen it in almost all dystopia books, but the whole monarchy thing was new, it brought a slightly historic sense to the story even though it was set in the future. There were also a little history on how Illea came to be. But honestly? I couldn't figure out why it had to be monarchy. There was no reason to start the royal system at all from what I gathered from the little history we had on Illea, and that part wasn't all that explained and developed, so I was a little disappointed at this.
Well, I didn't take a particular liking to any of the characters in the book at all. But America was an admirable protagonist.
America was a strong woman, not the fighting kind, like Tris from the Divergent Trilogy, but in the way that she stood her ground on things that didn't make sense and unfair. And she was kind. She was kind to almost everyone, and I think that's a really good quality, a likable one too, though I didn't particularly like her.
Maxon is the prince, the one that America resented at the start but loved towards the end. He was a really charming (pun intended) character, and there really was no bad qualities about him. To be honest, I think he and Aspen, the other love interest, needs more distinct characterization. If you remove the whole Aspen-being-a-Six-and-Maxon-a-royal thing, there was actually nothing special about the two guys at all, they both love America, and they are willing to fight for her, and that's it. Aspen is smart, but Maxon is smart too. Aspen is strong, and America did say she could feel Maxon' muscles underneath his suit. Maxon is kind, and I am sure Aspen is kind too. Now you could see how similar these love interests are, and with the overdone love triangle, I think Cass had to step up her game in writing one with two more extreme guys.
I know The Selection was a well-received book, and I couldn't deny it had its attraction, but overall, I think this book kind of fell flat to me. So I would give it 2.5 stars. The book needed more plot developments as well as more sub-plots beside The Selection and the revolutions that are not happening. The world-building needed to be more flushed out and the characters need more distinct traits. Despite all these flaws, I did have a good time reading it as it was a very fast and light read with only 327 pages. The ending was kind of abrupt but I would be looking forward to the next book, just because I want to know what will happen. I recommend this book to all YA dystopia fans, this is one unique dystopia with the lack of a kick-ass heroine, but was special and interesting in its own way. Hope you will enjoy it!
|Rating: 2.5 stars!|
Although I have many critics, I think this is a good start for a debut author, so, keep up the good work, Cass! What do you think of the book? (I wanted to think of more directive questions but couldn't think of any. I couldn't ask you which caste you would want to be in 'cause that was pretty obvious, and not which guy to choose because many of you might not even have read the book. It's kind of hard for me to come up with questions:P) Anyway, anything that you want to note, just comment below! ;)