Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: The Selection - Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: Selection Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, futuristic, romance
Published on April 24, 2012
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Read From: 9.13.12 - 9.15.12

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the change 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.


Cover Blurb: I put this book on my to-reads list because of the cover. It’s pretty, it’s blue, it’s got fancy letters, and it reminds me of a fairytale retelling (too bad that isn’t what it turned out to be). In short, I love the cover. Too bad cover art doesn’t factor into how many stars a book gets.

What I Liked: There was a large variety of characters among the contestants, and I did enjoy that.

What I Disliked: No protagonist should be called America, let alone “America Singer.” That has to take first prize as the silliest name ever. And no, Maxon is not much better, and at least Aspen wasn't named after the larch. America has extremely flimsy reasons for initially disliking Maxon. He’s very formal and stiff on TV, ergo he must be a horribly dull person. Uh, ever heard of a public face? And didn’t it ever cross America’s mind that maybe Maxon has no choice about selecting a wife through the Selection? The title of prince doesn’t always equal “I can do whatever I want.” It also seemed like the only reason America wanted to marry Aspen is so she could sleep with him; I sensed no true affection between them. Maxon calling the girls “my dears” just made him seem creepy, and America’s offer of friendship to Maxon felt completely false - it totally screamed “I have an ulterior motive!” And Maxon asks America to be his eyes and ears among the other contestants, but then he doesn’t listen to her when she tells him about Celeste. How does that make sense?

Believability: The Author tries to bring her story into the dystopian category by creating an unrealistic caste system, having rebels that apparently follow a predictable raiding schedule attack the palace every once in a while because they are “unhappy” and searching for a “mysterious” something that no one knows about, and periodically mentioning that there are people starving and stealing is punished very harshly. My complaints: no one treats lower-caste people as horribly as they would in reality, we Readers never “see” any of these cruel punishments or starving people, and the rebels, in all honesty, were just plain not threatening. They ransacked the palace a couple of times. Wow. You know, when you have rebels in a story, they need to do some real damage that the Reader gets to “see,” rather than have the characters do a “remember that one time”-type conversations. And while the Author does a fairly good job in relating Illea’s history, she never explains the how and why behind the creation of the caste system. Was Illea always like that? Or did it come about with a new monarchy? And why wouldn’t there be more than just two rebel groups? People aren’t generally happy in caste systems, last time I checked. I never once got a sense of discontent.

Writing Style: Nothing remarkable, and the whole storyline felt like a season of The Bachelor, and that is not a compliment. I realize that it probably is supposed to remind the Reader of that lamentable TV show, and that is where the story first goes wrong.

Content: It’s implied that the maid Lucy was almost raped, but there are no details. There’s also lots of make-out sessions between America and Aspen, often involving groping and almost having sex.

Conclusion: I thought this book was going to be good; I really did. Therefore, this is an excellent lesson in don’t judge a book by its cover. Most of the time, people assume that that saying applies to a person thinking a good book is in fact bad, based on its dust jacket. But that isn’t true; a person can assume a bad book is good, based on the pretty cover art. But I find myself extremely disappointed with this book. It was unconvincing, rather dull, and I don’t have high hopes for its sequel.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, older audience.

Others in This Trilogy:
1)The Selection
2)The Elite
3)The One


  1. You have it bang on with this review. This book was hyped up so much that I was so excited to read it and then I was just like...WHAT? The superficiality of it all just killed me. America and all the other contestants were painful, Anden was portrayed as such a nice guy when in fact he is completely shallow and pathetic. The only character I remotely liked was Aspen. The rebel attacks were so random and not explained at all, the story was definitely lacking in the area of world-building.

    Great review :)

    1. Did you suffer through Book #2 at all? It only gets worse. Oh, I know - Maxon was so shallow. And the rebel attacks are still not explained. About all they do is some more ransacking and leaving "scary" messages on the walls (message = WE"RE COMING, which seems redundant, since, well, they've obviously already come!). ;)


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