Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

This book came onto my radar ages ago because of the cover and of course, The Hunger Games comparisons. But then it got optioned for TV and I was like, lol yeah right. Not reading it. But the show has a really good chance of making it on the air and eventually my curiosity won out. By the way, I somehow missed the drama surrounding this author and a review so that did not impact my reading at all.

This series has potential but this book itself was kind of trying to read. The names are horrible. The main character is America Singer. And she's a singer. Anyway, it's set in a future world, the United States of America no longer exists and there's a "history lesson" info dump in the middle of the book that explains how everything came to be, but they live in castes and America is in caste 5 which is artists. This doesn't really feel like a dystopian in the sense that America actually loves her country and thinks it's benevolent. There are a lot of really strict laws though, such as no sex before marriage, curfews, etc. And marrying outside of your caste is frowned upon. But America is in love with a boy in caste 6 and hopes her family will let her marry him, even though it will mean a downgrade in caste for her.

The country always selects the prince's wife via a Bachelor style show called The Selection. It is supposedly a random lottery of 35 girls in all castes, but whether or not it's truly random gets called into question. America signs up to assure Aspen, the boy she loves, that she did so she won't regret it or something and also because her family really wants her to and give her incentive. Of course she gets picked and heads off to the castle. Due to a series of events she ends up becoming quite good friends with the prince and etc. etc.

One of the things that I kind of liked was that the girls struggled with how to feel towards each other...should they feel competitive? But they genuinely liked each other! etc., so it wasn't all about girls being catty to one another though there was some of that. The book is mostly a lot about this, and the clothes, and the various elements of the competition and how America feels about all of it and of course how she feels about Maxon, the prince.

But..I feel like there's this bigger story that's waiting to break out in the books (at least I hope so!) about the rebels that attack the castle and the country. In this, the first book, America loves her country even though she has some problems with it, like the fact that there are hungry people. She even expresses some thoughts early in the book that feel like the kind of patriotic lines most people think about their country (or at least my country). In other words, she hasn't really thought about it much, she accepts the propaganda so to say. But there are these rebels attacking the castle and in this first book, it's just like BAD REBELS but I think/hope that in future books, as America learns more about her country and how things work she may come to sympathize with them. She's already expressed a bit of a rebellious spirit so there's hope. Also, it could just be such a great story...learning that the country you love actually has a lot of problems and learning how to be part of the process to make that better...the potential conflict if she falls in love with Maxon but doesn't support the monarchy, etc. So I feel like these books could get really good, but I don't know if that's her ultimate goal. I guess I'll wait and see! This book itself was just mediocre to me, I didn't rush to pick it up and even though it's quite short it took me about a week to read. Oh and just in case it needs to be said...100% Team Maxon.

Rating: 3.75/5
Source of Book: bought it
Publisher: HarperTeen


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