Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Selection and The Elite by Kiera Cass (Young Adult, Dystopian, 7-8/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Book #1

Book #2
 June 2012 & April 2013, HarperCollins Children's, 272 pages & 336 pages, Ebook, Review copy from NetGalley

Content: teen romance, occasional violence & death, political intrigue, tissue needed, some humour

Summary from HarperCollins for 
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.

In America Singer’s world, a bride is chosen for the prince through an elaborate televised competition. In the second book of the Selection series, America is one of only six girls left in the running. But is it Prince Maxon—and life as the queen—she wants? Or is it Aspen, her first love?
Nayu's thoughts
There's a good reason why I can't settle on a grade for these books. First I'll explain what I love about them. I know they are dystopian, but they are a light dystopian. I was worried that there would be a lot more external fighting (a group of girls rarely ever get on 100% of the time, and America witnesses that at first hand), but thankfully there wasn't. Well, the drama from the rebels was thrilling and scary, with clever plot twists that took me by surprise. I adored America's little sister who is a sweetie, and her maids are sweethearts in the way they genuinely care for her, and she for them. They aren't perfect, as they fell out with each other at one point, but they are a great trio who helped when America annoyed me, which was a lot.

I'm having to think carefully how to phrase this without giving away any spoilers. There are 2 main issues which I had with the novel, the first I can safely say. I do not like when real life characters are used in books, because it feels wrong to me when they actually say and do things. That wasn't exactly the case in these books, more that certain countries were used. I nearly stopped reading when I learnt Illea's history. I did not like the negative way China is painted in, I feel it's wrong to brand them for starting more world wars and taking over the world and enslaving America. That's almost like trying to predict what will happen, and I know it's not real but I feel sorry for China and all it's people in the alternate future history that's used here.

The second issue I had was with America. I thought that was that when she got ditched before the selection by Aspen. I intensely dislike (hate) how stupid she acts towards and for him at the end of the first book – she's an utter moron! How she can forgive how he treats her and is oblivious to just how wrong their friendship is I don't simply don't know. Don't get me started on his role in book two. America is so stupid, she doesn't think her actions through – not only in respect to Aspen but to everything else. I was glad when she was punished, and was saddened when someone else was punished instead of her. She is naive, I know she is a five but she seems intelligent, and well read yet is inclined to let her emotions get the better of her. That's why the grade ranges from 7/10E-8/10E. I suspect I'll read the books again because there is something about them which makes them appealing, despite my issues with them. There's 2 more books in the series, I can't say what the 4th is without spoiling the 3rd – I haven't read either but I've read summaries – and they do sound fun. 

Find out more on Keira's website

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