I have a backlog of reviews that I need to start getting on top of, I have read a crazy amount over the last few weeks and definitely haven’t been doing a whole lot of reviewing. So I decided to start with a few of them today.
The first up is The Selection by Kiera Cass, a dystopian fantasy set in a court where girls from the country can apply for a competition, where they compete against other girls to win the hand of the Prince- think Bachelorette style competition. Now genre wise this isn’t my usual choice, there’s the key plot line of romance (the Prince is looking for love after all) which generally doesn’t interest me as much as butt-kicking fantasy.
In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels, the selection is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s heart. But for America Singer it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Maxon and all her plans start to crumble. Can the life she’s always dreamed of compare to a future she has never imagined?
This book has earned itself a following in the BookTube community, with every booktubers raving about this series. Honestly, that was one of the reasons I even bought this book. Although many argue that the cover is beautiful and they really love it, I know that I would never have imagined myself liking a book like this if it wasn’t for the undying love of all the readers on YouTube.
I will however, say that the dress does reflect some elements of the storyline really well and I can understand how this was a logical choice for the cover. It was designed wonderfully by Sarah Hoy (with the art itself being from Gustavo Marx) and although it wasn’t what drew me to the book I can understand how it would attract those who prefer contemporary novels trying to stretch into fantasy.
Another thing I must admit to, is that not reading them as they are released does spoil you. No, I wasn’t spoilt for endings or decisions by other readers, but from the remaining titles you understand the path the main character is going to take through these books. The only questions that really goes unanswered is how many heartbreaks, fights, and obstacles can be thrown between America and the end of her story. Of course, this is the same for any story that isn’t read as released, and I cant criticise for it.
So it is clear that there will be two main characters, America, who in the dystopian society is a level 5 (just above poverty and servitude) and is a singer, who has quite a few musical abilities. At sixteen she is earning money for the family, alongside her mother and father, she also has a younger sister who also earns and a younger brother who doesn’t want to do anything but play football all day.
America is a little moany, from the start you get the sense that she really isn’t happy; she has a secret love who her mother would never allow because he is a six and that is below a five, her mother believes she should aim to work up the social ladder and not down it. On top of all of that, America is told she can enter the selection (even though she doesn’t want to) and well it wouldn’t really be called the selection if she didn’t end up entering now would it?
I lost quite a bit of respect for both America, her mother and her secret love for the way they coerced her into going. It think it didn’t quite fit into how her character had been portrayed before that point, but once there you do learn more about her.
Now, we can all guess the second main character… Prince Maxon. I do like Maxon as a character, I think he is complex and there is definitely a lot to learn about the Prince. I did notice one minor flaw, in Royalty, title is everything. However, from the get-go, America often blatantly ignores his title, even referring to him as Maxon in front of others. Aside from the other acts of disrespect, I think Maxon’s responses to these did not fit his character at all.
I am intrigued to find out more about Maxon, and the other contestants; some of which you get to know a little bit throughout the first book. You learn a bit about the secret love but I feel that he will definitely play a larger role in the next few books. Speaking of, I do plan on getting the next books in the series when funding allows me to.
When considering the cast of characters for the first book, how they were portrayed and the level of understanding you get about the main characters especially, I would definitely give characters 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Now, the plot I believe was a simple one; America gets selected for the selection and has to win the hand the of the Prince. There were a few little twists and turns, there are attacks and fighting, but the plot is predictable.
Now, I definitely enjoyed reading this plot line, I read it in one sitting. Little action happened I feel, but I think this series will definitely be character focused rather than plot focused, even so, I would have enjoyed more things to actually happen. More conflict, more angst, the pages seemed to fly by and I wasn’t sure what was happening that moved the story forward.
Overall, I would have to give the plot 3 out of 5 stars.
I am not going to lie, this will definitely be a guilty pleasure read, because even though I felt that not a lot actually happened in the first book; the way it was written and the pace of the book was amazing. As I have said, I will definitely be picking up the next two in the series at least. Some have said that the last two books of the series follow America’s daughter and doesn’t match the hype of the original trilogy. However I will decide whether to read them when I have completed the final book of the original trilogy first.
I loved the writing, I loved the pace, I loved the characters, I liked the plot; so I will have to give The Selection by Kiera Cass 4 out of 5 stars!
So, I hope that if you decide to pick up The Selection by Kiera Cass, that you will enjoy it as much as I have. I think that it is an easy read for readers who have struggled with fantasy or dystopian reads before, as it is a dystopian however it does have a rather contemporary feel to the book as a whole.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book.
Until next time my friends,