Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2
Date: April 2013
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Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
When I read and reviewed the first book in the series The Selection, I likened my enjoyment of it to reality TV—cheesy, easy entertainment. However, in The Elite most of what made me enjoy the first book (even though I didn’t really care for the writing or the characters) had gone. The story had essentially turned into a soap opera, and if we stick to the analogy, there is really nothing I dislike more on television.
The Selection has now whittled down to the top 6 girls, the Elite. America has decided to stay and decide whether she really wants to be with Maxon, while the palace still suffers sporadic attacks (from an invisible force). The summary is exceptionally short because while there were some exciting things that happened, unfortunately it was the drama that left the biggest impression on me, not the plot.
The book started off with Maxon admitting that America was the one for him, so then it became America’s choice whether she wanted to win, instead of Maxon choosing. However, throughout the book, there are attempts from America to prolong the inevitable, mainly her disbelief in herself, witnessing the monarchy’s true colours and of course her former boyfriend, Aspen.
America, my goodness, make up your mind girl! She says she loves Maxon but every time she sees him look at another girl, she suddenly decides she doesn’t and goes running to Aspen. Aspen naturally encourages this by playing on their past together and giving her little gifts to remind her of that, even though they know that being caught is an act of treason. Then Maxon doesn’t really make it any better for the girl he supposedly really loves by flirting and making out with the other Elite. All in all, it was like an airport—flight central. It felt like an attempt by the author to please all teams, but the whole love triangle came off as being incredibly insincere from all the flighty characters involved.
Even the attacks on the kingdom are lame. I never felt any sense of danger, because you don’t see the attacks actually happening. All the important characters get hidden away in safe rooms, then afterward you are told that there are broken windows, blood stains on the wall and nameless guards have died. I honestly thought after book 2, I would’ve learned more about the war and what’s going on in the big bad world. This is a huge problem with Cass’ writing overall—too much telling. Even through the emotional parts of the book, I was being told someone loved someone else, but I never really felt it.
There are a few glimpses of hope, especially when you are finally privy to the King’s real personality, but any attempts at going deeper into the dystopian aspect of the book are quickly glossed over by another party or mistakenly witnessed kiss. All in all, the book was too shallow for my liking, but God help me, I still want to see what happens in book 3.