Friday, 11 November 2016

A Series Review - The Selection (Kiera Cass)


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.


Series Review 

So since I magically actually finished a series for once (one of my many bad habits is half finishing a series) I’m going to take the liberty of reviewing the entire series as a whole. One of the reasons I was particularly drawn to these books (besides their incredibly beautiful covers), was the idea of a ‘The Bachelor’ type setting and atmosphere. I mean 35 girls in a roomful together all fighting over the same man, there is bound to be endless entertainment value in that.

23502345The Original Trilogy

My rating: 4/5

So the story begins with Prince Maxon, ultimately needing to find a partner. Which is done in the traditional way of ‘The Selection’ a competition for his heart, with 35 random girls from all over. While on the other side of the country America Singer, is being forced by her own mother to enter into the selection, something she rebels against, until her heart is broken and she gives into the idea… though be it very begrudgingly.

The first 3 books focus around Maxon and America’s budding friendship and ultimately their developing romance. Although it’s not all happiness and roses. A love from America’s past ends up stationed at the castle, bringing back her romantic feelings and confusing her emotions for Maxon. Overall, typical love triangle silliness and uncertainty ensues. While I wasn’t overly bothered by the love triangle, I also didn’t have a particular team I was on. Maxon and Aspen both seemed like good choices to me, and even in the later books where the focus is on a younger generation, I still like both the boys equally as much.

Romance, while the main focus of the story, wasn’t the only tale to be told. Politics played an interesting role in all 5 of the books, bringing into the series the dystopian element. The Caste system that was employed under the current regiment was fascinating in a way, and its effect on the characters’ lives and interactions with others were prompted by their class number. Essentially the higher the number the more upperclass you are, with One’s being the Royal family and Eight’s living in poverty.  

“Our caste was just three away from the bottom. We were artists. And artists and classical musicians were only three steps up from dirt. Literally. Our money was stretched as tight as a high wire, and our income was highly dependent on the changing seasons.” 

- Kiera Cass (The Selection

America being a Five was lower class and had greatly different ideas to many of the other candidates in her selection around politics, stemming from her background and upbringing. While America is often noted as being an annoying protagonist (and she is to a degree) I do respect her views on politics, her stubbornness and the way she stood up for what she believed in, even with a tyrannical King out to get her at every turn. 

“I should have known that if any girl was going to disobey an order, it would be you"
- Kiera Cass (The Selection)

Final Two Books

My rating: 3/5

Eadyln, our Princess in the final two books is almost, if not more annoying than America. However, their vastly different upbringings contribute to this. With America I became frustrated at her flip-flopping between boys, but she possessed admirable qualities in her fight against the class system. Eadyln, being brought up as a princess, living in a castle with people waiting on her hand and foot was infuriating because of her privileged outlook on life and tendency to only deem things important if and when they affected her. Lucky for the reader, she does grow up and shows some insightfulness into her countries hardships, aiming to make changes for the better of her people and not just herself. 

To be upfront, the final 2 books seemed somewhat unnecessary to me. While it was interesting to see the Selection from the other side with a Princess choosing from a handful of male suitors. Some of the charm was lost on me and I felt forced to read them out of necessity rather than enjoyment (not that they were completely terrible, just not as good as the original 3). I must say while they did not live up to their predecessors, I enjoyed immensely seeing the original cast back in action. All my favourites were still there, and made appearances throughout, Maxon, Marlee, Aspen, Lucy, Carter and of course America. 

Overall Feelings

All in all, ‘The Selection’ was an enjoyable series as a whole. They were a nice treat to come home and zone out to after work. I must say as someone who is pretty slack at finishing series, I sure zipped through this one. If you want fluffy romance out the wazoo, pick this series up. 

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