Book Review || The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

America Singer lives in Illéa, where the society is divided into eight castes— the royal family which rules the land are Ones. The homeless and poorest are Eights. America’s family are Fives, meaning that their roles in society are being artists and musicians. America is happy; she even (secretly) loves a boy. ❤ However, he is a Six and outside of her caste, and America is not sure whether her mother would approve if she found out. Meanwhile, the Illéan prince, Maxon, is coming of age and the Selection will soon commence. Many girls from all over the nation will apply, but only thirty-five will be picked. These elite girls will then go to the palace to live there for the next few months as the prince one by one eliminates them until only one girl is left— the one who will be his wife. America’s mother wants her to apply; so she does. Never in her wildest dreams (or nightmares) did she expect to be selected. So she must turn her back on Aspen, her love, and compete for her family. Along the way, she gathers sponsors, makes friends, and even gains rivals. Life at the palace is luxurious, except for when the rebels attack, and she and Prince Maxon, after a few mishaps, befriend each other. Just when she decides that maybe, just maybe a life with Maxon wouldn’t be so terrible, Aspen reappears— this time as a palace guard. What should she do?…

First things first— although this is not the worst book, it is not the best either. Yes, it is about a competition. No, it is not like The Hunger Games. A note about the organization of the book: 1) it has a dystopic, futuristic feel to it, 2) it has a fantasy, princess-tale feel to it, 3) it has an oppressive, monarchy government feel to it. Now that’s all fine and well, but combining those three is perhaps not the best of choices. The book is literally going in three different directions. 😐 Also, the caste system has been used for hundred of hundreds of years in places like India, and it is not a very futuristic idea. The writing is fine, though I would have appreciated a little more elaboration and description. I just thought that the plot was a little bit cliché. It was rather obvious from the beginning that America would be Selected, and that love triangle at the end… well, it was slightly predictable. I also would have liked for Maxon to be than an average prince, and when he mentioned that he didn’t know the lower castes were starving, homeless, and poor, I was incredulous— do I remember this story from somewhere? (Oh, yeah, it’s from Buddha’s life: he was a prince, carefree and happy, when he walks out into his land for the first time and witnesses the suffering of his people. He then gives up his decadent lifestyle to live with the people and devotes himself to helping others.) Is he really that uninformed about his future kingdom? That said, there are some sweet and funny moments in The Selection, and if you are looking for a fun, frothy read, then this is the book for you. 😉