Series: The Selection, #1
Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 327 (Hardcover)
Release Date: April 24, 2012
I reviewed an ARC.
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.
I know there was a lot of drama surrounding this book, but I wanted to read it, so I read it. I was intrigued by the "The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor" comparisons, although the only similarity to The Hunger Games was that the people are defined by a number. Instead of that number representing their district, it was their caste level. America's number is 5, so she's closer to poverty than to royalty.
I'd say that The Selection is more of Dystopia-lite. There's too much glitz and glamor, and it's quite fluffy and fun. The cattiness of the girls in the competition is entertaining, and I had a great time reading it. I did find myself questioning the world that this is set in though, but it didn't bother me too much. By the end there was more excitement and danger, so I'm looking forward to the next one.
America is a bit of an inconsistent character, constantly contradicting herself. One page she'll say that she's plain, then two pages later she "feels pretty" in her pajamas! One moment she's perfectly sweet, and the next she's kneeing the Prince in the crotch! She was just every back and forth with everything. She did grow on me a bit as the book moved on, but I would rather her have been either sickeningly sweet, or super feisty, not a flip-flopper.
I know a lot of people hate love triangles, but I'll admit that I mostly love them. Sure, the one in The Selection is the definition of forced, it was at least unique. America has a boyfriend at the start of the novel, Aspen, who she hopes to marry despite him being a caste below her. Unfortunately, like most men, he has a hero complex and can't stand the idea of her providing for him rather than the other way around. Then of course, she's selected for the Selection and is in the running to marry Prince Maxon. She may claim to hate him in the beginning, but it's obvious she'll grow to care for him. Their interactions were very sweet.
Prince Maxon is very stiff. Everything he says feels very scripted and rehearsed, even when he's off camera and in private. It was hard to get a sense of who he was, other than just the Prince and the token of 35 girls affections. I did like his vulnerable side that came out with America though. It was kind of cute.
Basically, I loved this book despite its flaws. It was fun, highly entertaining, and had just the right amount of Dystopia-ness to not be overly fluffy. I flew through it in one day and now I'm eager to get my hands on The Elite!
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