Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Romance, ‘Dystopian’
Type: Series, #1 The Selection
Point of view: First Person & Single
Publishing Date: April 24, 2012
“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.”
When I give a book a 2-star rating it means it wasn’t for me. I rate my books based on how much they met my expectations, not how ‘good’ they are. I do this because I think good/bad ratings highly depend on what you want from a book and are therefore subjective. In my reviews, I explain why a book did or didn’t meet my expectations and try to specify which people might like or dislike it. You can find more information about my rating scale here.
Expectations & wishes
First off I need to remind you: I’m not a fan of romance in books, in general. The love interest is almost always my least favorite part of the book. So maybe reading this wasn’t the best decision. I knew it probably wasn’t for me. But I kept hearing people talk about it on Booktube and other blogs, how this book was such a ‘guilty pleasure read’. I just wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting much. I was hoping for a fast read with a cute romance and likable characters. Because it’s advertised as a dystopian, so I was also hoping to get some information about the world and government system. Lastly, I was excited to see how the author would use the group of girls to form some interesting relations.
What I didn’t like
The first thing that annoyed me was presenting something like a surprise when it really wasn’t. Going into this book you know America will be selected, it’s in the synopsis. Still, in the first chapters America keeps going on about how impossible it would be to be selected, “I don’t want to go, but why not sign up, I’d never be selected anyways”. Again and again… we get it … it was very unlikely… it still happened… what a surprise…
My main problem with this book were the characters. I just could not connect to them. It’s so important to relate and feel for the main character, but I just never did. I couldn’t stand America, she seemed so naïve. When somebody reacts a certain way, she was always wondering why that person would be that way, even when it’s freaking obvious (we just had a fight, now he is angry, but why?!?). She went from at least staying herself and being a little rebellious to being a really confused and indecisive person making impulsive decisions. She started to get on my nerves. A lot of people have been talking about not liking America, but a lot of people also do. I guess she’s a hit or miss. The other characters which didn’t click with me were Aspen and Maxon. I’m not a fan of love triangles, ever, but this one was just horrible for me. I thought Aspen was just a complete ass, his actions were dumb. I feel like he never really owned up to the mistakes he made. Maxon could have been something good, I didn’t hate him. I just feel like we never really got to know him. Not feeling connected to any of the main characters made it pretty hard to care about who she would end up with. Which of course is a bad thing.
The ‘dystopian world’ building was pretty half-assed in my opinion. The different ranks in society were explained very briefly but were a little random. Later in the book, there is a discussion about some kind of threat, how that all works is a little confusing as well. And that was about it. I feel like the world could have been explained so much better and in much more detail. Because of this, it didn’t even feel like a dystopian to me.
My last point of critique is the other girls in the competition. There was so much potential in showing us a really interesting diverse group of girls. I feel like we only got to actually meet a handful of these girls. And we didn’t really get to the bottom of their personality or background story. Maybe this happens in the later books, but a lot of girls are already eliminated. Some of the girls were mentioned for the first time as they were sent home. How am I supposed to feel sorry or be happy she’s gone if I never got to know her?
What I liked
To end on a lighter note, why did I finish this book? Because it was fast paced, it really was. The writing style was pretty simple and the plot was moving fast. So it was easy to get through (besides being annoyed). I was also kind of still interested to see where the plot was going.
It’s safe to say I was disappointed. As I said before, I wasn’t even expecting much. My hopes of seeing an interesting dystopian government, cute couples, likable characters and an interesting group of side characters weren’t met. The only upside was that it was a fast read. So yeah… That’s about it. Don’t hate me now, please.
I would recommend it to people who are looking for a fast-paced romance with a little bit of a different spin than others. I’m sure you would enjoy it if you’re a fan of romance in general (if you aren’t bothered by the characters). However, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a well-developed dystopian.