“What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?” - Maxon
I know that technically The Selection series are not a trilogy anymore but I feel like the next books will be completely different, like a spin-off, and it is easier to talk about these three books as an individual trilogy. This review, unlike my other Series Summaries posts, does NOT contain spoilers. Or rather you have to highlight them to be able to view them.
My main reason for writing this review is that I wanted to share with you what I liked in this series, and the few things I didn't. Also, I wanted to summarize the books before The Heir comes out on the 5th of May (TOMORROW). Hope you'll enjoy my post.
I color coded the quotes like this:
The Elite review
The One review
Even though The Selection is a dystopian series everyone who's read it knows that it mainly concentrates on the romance and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you read the blurb you can see what it is about and most likely won't think that this is an action-packed, kick-ass novel so stop complaining about it not being a "real" dystopian story.
“You get confused by crying women, I get confused by walks with princes.”
The world building was extremely well-made. There weren't as many details as in other dystopian books because, as I said the romance is in the centre of the novels, but that didn't disappoint me. To my surprise Kiera Cass didn't forget that there are other countries in the world besides the US, like most dystopia authors do. You know how much I love The Hunger Games but what the hell is the whole world doing while American teens are competing in a deadly reality show? We'll never know.
The castes were described clearly, and to be honest I'd much rather imagine a world like this than a Divergent style one. I had no problem imagining the castle or America's house or anything else for that matter. And let's not forget about how well Kiera Cass described the dresses, I could particularly feel myself wearing them as America put them on. Cass is an extremely good story teller who was able to make me feel for America in every situation she had to go through, even though sometimes I couldn't agree with her choices. Her writing-style might not be poetic or whatever but her novels are enjoyable and fun to read.
While the romance pretty much lead the novel the rebel attacks and what was behind them was interesting enough to give us something else besides the love story. There are still tons of things we don't know about the rebels but I'm hoping we'll get more information upon this in The Heir.
Maxon: “To be clear, no one agrees with you.”
America: “To be clear, I don’t care.
The romance was slow developed and so damn cute. Honestly if you haven't found any moments between America and Maxon swoon worthy you clearly read another trilogy. I loved how they slowly started to trust in each other and how Maxon started to see the world through America's eyes, thus realising that he still didn't know many things about Illéa.
“Have you”—he cleared his throat—“have you ever been like that? Starving?”
I ducked my head, which was a giveaway. I really didn’t want to tell him about that.
“Maxon, it will only upset you more.”
“Probably,” he said with a grave nod. “But I’m only starting to realize how much I don’t know about my own country. Please.”
I loathe love triangles, to the point where I give up on beloved series because of them but somehow the love triangle of this trilogy didn't bother me all that much. I was team Maxon all the way but unlike Gale from The Hunger Games trilogy, Aspen didn't make me cringe every time he appeared. Alright, maybe that can be thanked to the fact that I couldn't take him seriously but whatever. *shrugs*
“No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.”
At first sight I really didn't like most of the other girls, there were so many of them that I didn't even have the chance to get to know more than their names. I think Cass made an amazing job of slowly letting us see more of them. By the end I got to understand all the remaining girls, from Kriss who I really didn't like, to Celeste who proved to be completely different from what I thought. America's friendship with the girls came through perfectly. Marlee was the sweetest thing ever. What I liked in her the most was that even when she wanted Maxon she wasn't mad at or jealous of America for getting most of his attention. She was nothing but happy for her.
One of my favorite things in this trilogy was America's family. The mother pretty much annoyed me to hell with her meddlesome nature but the father is officially my favorite fictional father ever. He was caring, and listened to his children and didn't try to tell them what was good for them or tried to make them do things that he would have benefited from. By the way, America's little sister, May was the sweetest thing ever.
I sighed. “Actually, Mom, we argue pretty regularly.”
“What?” She gaped at me. “Well, stop it!”
“Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once.”
There was a split second of silence before May barked a laugh. She covered her mouth and tried to stop, but it kept coming out in awkward, squeaky sounds. Dad’s lips were pressed together, but I could tell he was on the verge of losing it himself.
Mom was paler than snow.
“America, tell me you’re joking. Tell me you didn’t assault the prince.”
I didn’t know why, but the word assault pushed us all over the edge; and May, Dad, and I bent over laughing as Mom stared at us.
Maxon's father, the King was a horrible person, I'd say the worst from the trilogy. He abused his son, not only verbally but physically too. Meanwhile the Queen was way too sweet, to be honest there were times when I was really angry with her. I can't understand how a mother would not see that her husband beats up their son from time to time. Some things about her were just unbelievable and reading her strange as hell novella didn't help me understand her better either.
“Yes, Mom,” I joked.
She (the Queen) looked back at me, her face like stone.
“I mean, ma’am. Ma’am.”
Her eyes started glistening, and she blinked a few times, turning forward again. “If it ends as I suspect it will, Mom will be just fine.”
The character development was impressive, and as I mentioned upon Celeste, not only the main characters developed. In the beginning Maxon was like a little boy, he had no idea about how to act around people or about what Illéa was really going through under the burden of the castes. By the end he was totally grown up, he learnt what love is and seemed to be confident in what he wanted to accomplish in the future. Last but not least, by the end he was the perfect amount of cute and swoon-worthy together.
America was really hotheaded, she didn't think twice about doing something and didn't really care about the consequences her actions could cause. She was confused and felt alone, and Aspen moving in to the palace didn't help her case. By the end though she learnt that she should try to talk to people *cough cough Maxon* before she made hasty decisions, she was more balanced and learnt to trust in Maxon. About the Aspen thing, I can understand why she couldn't let him go. He was her first love, and for a long time America was sure that they'll grow old together. Plus I'm sure Kiera Cass put the Aspen-America reunion in the book to make the Maxon-is-dating-with-other-girls look fair.
My favorite part of the books was when America realised that the King is abusive with Maxon and they talked about how they felt with complete honesty. I think this was a huge milestone in their relationship.
My least favorite part would be when America thought that Maxon is dead because it was really forced. I mean the guard she asked probably would have known that she was asking if Maxon was alright, even though she asked if Maxon was there. Also, like every Aspen scene haha.
Favorite characters: Maxon, America, Marlee, Celeste, America's dad, May, Kendra, America's maids
Least favorite characters: the King, Aspen, Kriss, Kota
The Queen: 3/5
The Prince: 5/5
The Selection: 5/5
The Elite: 4/5
The Guard: 2/5
The One: 5/5
Remembrance to those I loved but died Celeste, Anne, America's dad, Queen Amberly *Sobbing*
What was your favorite scene? Least favorite? And you favorite/least favorite characters?
Share with me your answers in the comments and everything else you have to say about this lovely trilogy!