The Selection by 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.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is one of those books that has received a heck of a lot of hype; and I couldn’t help but be curious about whether it deserved the hype or not. My Consensus: No, it doesn’t. Not even by a long shot.
The United States has turned into the glorious country of Iléa. Whenever the Prince turns of age, 35 girls from across the country are asked to come to the castle and compete for the Prince’s hand in marriage.
When 17-year-old America Singer receives a notice that she’s been chosen as a contestant, she’s not very happy. Being a contestant means giving up her secret relationship with Aspen. It means competing for a crown she doesn’t want in a castle threatened by increasingly violent rebellions. But everything changes when America meets the Prince, and America begins to realize that maybe she wants the Crown more than she wants herself to believe.
America was a frustrating protagonist to read about. Cass undoubtedly tried to make her a relatable protagonist by making her appear “feisty” and “loyal,” but she completely and utterly failed. Unless she was trying to make an annoying, vain, self-centered protagonist…then in that regard she definitely succeeded.
“And of course he would love America! She’s so beautiful,” Mom swooned.
“Please, Mom. If anything, I’m average.”
“Please don’t call me gorgeous.”
“America, you must know you’re a very lovely girl.”
“If I’m so lovely, how come no one ever comes by to ask me out?”
“Oh, they come by, but I shoo them away(…)”
“I can’t help it.” I sighed. “One can never help being born into perfection.”
And, of course, since America’s so perfect, she manages to have two boys fall in love with her. I don’t mind love triangles. I really don’t. As long as they’re done well and flow well with the plot and don’t overpower the story, they’re fine with me. Mind you, I don’t particularly love them, but I guess I can handle them if done in moderation.
The love triangle in The Selection felt so completely and utterly forced, ingenue, and just overall so cliche. The motivations between the character’s actions that lead to this love triangle were not only inconsistent but they made absolutely no logical sense at all.
Not only is the romance poorly written, but so was the world-building. Apparently Russia decides to attack China, who is allies with the US, and everything becomes a huge World War 4. Fortunately for the US, we have this amazing military leader named Gregory Iléa, who guides the US into the war…and wins! He then he decides to set up a new country with a new government, which he names Iléa.
Okay…so we have a new government and a new country here, but how does it turn into a dystopian society? And the Caste system? We’re told that each member of society is labeled with a ranking – 1 to 8 – 8 being desperately poor and 1 being royalty. But we never learn about how these rankings are determined. Is there a test? Or is it based on simply your family history?
And what about The Selection process? Do we ever learn how that came to be? Nope…
All in all, The Selection was a complete disappointment. With it’s unoriginal plot, poor characterization, non-present world-building, poor, awkward dialogue and writing, and horribly forced romance, I don’t think I’m going to continue on to the sequel.