Book: The Selection Author: Keira 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.
Warning – My review may be slightly biased due to my general dislike of romance-centred books.
The selection is prefect for those who want a quick and easy read, especially those who are into reality TV, because the storyline is essentially the bachelor meets the hunger games. And just like those trashy reality shows you somehow end up emotionally invested in the outcome and will inevitably binge watch – I mean binge read – the entire thing and almost certainly regret it. The Bachelor aspect is clearly shown through the competition in which the girls compete to be Maxon’s bride, and once you start to analyse the books, the similarities between the hunger games and the selection are uncanny because:
Writing a good love triangle is something that only a few authors succeed in and Cass is not one of those authors. America is defined by this love triangle, her entire story revolving around the two romantic interests and which one she should be with, consequently making her less interesting and one dimensional. In fact, most of the characters lack any real depth and are extremely superficial. I understand that the competition is focused on Maxon, but the book’s protagonist is America and yet he unfortunately holds the centre of this novel due to the shallow development of America’s character.
Further lack of development is found within Cass’s world building, besides a map and a rough explanation of the caste system, the reader is left with no insight to the culture or background of the country of Illea. Additionally, the political situation is highly unrealistic, most notably because of how laughably vulnerable the palace is to the rebels. You would think that a palace filled with the royals that govern the country would be less penetrable, especially when the monarch know that there are people out there trying to overthrow or kill them.
Despite my criticism, the initial book in a series is almost never fully developed to its maximum potential and Cass does eventually explore and evolve the characters and the political themes later on in the later books. Although sadly the ending of the entire series is extremely predictable, even from just reading the first book.