One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. So put up your feet, grab a good paperback and let’s get reading!
The Selection series by Kiera Cass which includes ‘The Selection,” “The Elite,” “The One,” and “The Heir” was for me, The Hunger Games meets ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’. The entire series is a feel-good read with an underlying current of YA drama and political and social strife. The novels were predictable and fluffy, but still interesting enough to hold your attention the entire time.
*Fair warning: spoilers ensue!!
Book 1, The Selection: In a caste-based future, Illéa’s Prince Maxon has come of age and needs to marry. Thirty five girls are chosen by lottery to travel to the Capital and live in the palace for a competition in which the prince makes his choice of who to marry. America, a Five in the caste system, doesn’t want to join the Selection because she is in love with Aspen, a Six. (They are not far from the bottom of the caste system). Pressure from both her family and Aspen causes her to relent, and the rest is predictable but entertaining. She’s chosen, goes to the palace, and makes both friends and enemies with the other girls. Prince Maxon is much more than she expected, but she will remain loyal to Aspen. Maybe. She has a (kind of weird) understanding with Maxon to stick around for awhile- he’s intrigued with her, and by her staying her family gets food and money.
Book 2, The Elite: The competition has dwindled to six girls, and it is more real than ever. The stakes are higher- and America’s heart is now pulled between Prince Maxon and the boy she left at home, Aspen. But now Aspen is at the palace serving as a guard. America is falling for Maxon, but is overcome with memories of the life she and Aspen had planned to share whenever she sees him. Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. While she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent (but rather bumbling) rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
Book 3, The One: “America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” So this book is predictable as well- (one should be able to tell from the titles alone what the plot line is). The characters annoy and surprise me as in the first two books, convenient plot lines just happen, and there is no epilogue, grrr. But the ending is SO SWEET. Just know that these books are pure fluff and will not challenge you intellectually. That’s ok though, sometimes that’s just exactly what you need.
Book 4, The Heir: I checked out the first three novels from the library and read them back to back- not even realizing there would be two more. When I saw this novel, ‘The Heir’ on the new shelves at my local Barnes and Noble I was maybe too excited. Since I hadn’t purchased the first three I immediately put this book on hold at my library too. And waited… and waited… then finally! I got it. This book is funny- but it annoyed me more and less than the first three. I appreciated what it tried to accomplish, but the cliff hanger!! Arggg…
This novel (and the unwritten final book 5) are set twenty years after the first three. They follow the story of America and Maxon’s first born daughter, Eadlyn- the heir to the throne. For much of the book I thought she was a spoiled brat-which was disappointing because of how likable (although indecisive) her mother America’s character was in the first three novels. I’m pretty sure Cass did this on purpose though because in the end she learns and grows. The plot line of the novel is based on Eadlyn (grudgingly) holding her own selection with a selection of boys from the kingdom. Toward the end she actually finds she is starting to like some of the boys, and she starts to see a bigger picture than herself. It’s pure fluff as well, but still. What do you expect?
I cannot wait for the final book in the series to come out next year!!
Click here to see my goals for 2015