Thursday, 4 April 2013

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass


Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret — one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

Before going into this novel, I had heard equal good and bad things about this book. I watch an online weekly book chat called "Tea Time With Epic Reads". On the show they talk about this book a lot, also they mentioned they'd be having a special show for the release of The Elite so I knew it was the perfect time to finally pick this one up. I bought this book back in summer and finally decided to read it. I'm so glad I did, is it me or does that seem to be the theme surrounding my reading this month?

So lets talk about our main character, America Singer. At first I was a little thrown by the name...America...and can you guess her occupation? That's right- she's a singer! Aside from the weird name, she was a great protagonist. 

She was very realistic and came across as a real teenager. I had real sympathy for her in the novel. I liked how she was very anti-conformist . She hardly ever did as was expected of her and addressed the Prince Maxon so casually. She stood up for herself the best she could, and didn't care about how anyone else saw her.

 I really liked her friendship with Marlee, yet I really am curious to find out more about Marlee's back story from before she was Selected.  Overall America was a great character.

Maxon, a.k.a Prince Maxon, was also an amazing character. When you begin the novel, you immediately think Prince Maxon is going to be this stiff, stuffy, snobby and pompous character that will look down his nose at everything and follow his mother and father, King & Queen's, every command. Maxon is not like this at all, as I was pleasantly surprised to find out. 

He is attractive, arty- he loves photography, compassionate, thoughtful and funny. I loved how his character really brought some humour into the story with his witty dialogue.I also thought it was really cute the way he didn't know how to act around the girls and he said the only woman he'd ever hugged was his mother. He was just adorable! I loved his relationship with America. They bring out the best in each other. I think America is at her best around Maxon and I hope she realises this too, well she would if she didn't have Aspen clinging to her for dear life.

That brings me to my next point- Aspen. About 40 pages into the book, and I already disliked Aspen, 70 pages in and I loathed him. America is a Five and Aspen is a Six. Because of this, she occasionally fed him so he would not starve. If they were caught together they could have been in huge trouble. Then Aspen just totally freaks out for no reason and leaves her heartbroken! He leaves America broken as she enters the castle and she's alone. Then later, he appears back at the castle, and honestly- I think he is just back because he wants her money and new found fame. 

I think Aspen is not where America's heart lies. I think she just keeps going to him because he is her familiar. She's known him forever, and they may have had something real once, but that's gone. That was then and this is her life now. I think Aspen should really accept that and let her be happy. I don't even see the purpose of him or this love triangle.

Other aspects of the novel I found Interesting was the political side to the novel. We see that society is divided into different groups called "Castes". There are 8 Castes- If you're a One, you are top of the social ladder and are royalty, where if you are an Eight, you're homeless and without food  or shelter. I thought it was really interesting to read about the different castes and their role in society, for example Five's are artists or musicians and Sixes mostly clean houses. 

I also enjoyed the way I wasn't hit in the face with the history of Illea or how the country came to be within the first few pages. I really liked that the story was able to progress and then we learn through a history lesson in the castle of how it all came to be. 

I really liked America's family in this novel. They actually reminded me a little of Elizabeth Bennets family in Pride & Prejudice- crazy mom, poor family, laid-back dad, hyper sister etc., I really enjoyed the close-ness of the family and her little sister May was adorable!

The writing style of the novel was spot on. The novel was not too girly but just right for me. I loved Cass' spin on the dystopian trend. She really brought something new and refreshing to the table. She created a perfectly dystopian, but elegant novel. I liked that the country was ruled by a monarchy. It was touches like this that really made the writing and story of the novel stand out for me. 

Overall, wonderfully enjoyable. I would wholly recommend it.  The sequel, The Elite, comes out on the 23rd of April.

Also, want to see how they made the beautiful cover of this novel? Click Here. 
To see the book trailer, click here.

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