Week 6 Review: The Selection

The Selection Title: The Selection

 Author: Kiera Cass

 Release Date: April 24, 2012

 Publisher: HarperTeen

 Description: 327 pages, Young Adult Fiction

 

synopsis

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.

my thoughts

The Chance of a Lifetime

The premise of The Selection is admittedly foreign to me. I honestly didn’t care much for the story at first, and would have put the books back right on the shelf where I got them, if not for the eye-catching ball gowns and the fact that America Singer looked stunning on the covers. Publishers Weekly expressed what is arguably the most accurate statement regarding this book, in saying that it’s “a cross between The Hunger Games (minus the blood sport) and The Bachelor (minus the blood sport)”. I wasn’t buying that, because I like action in my books, and having next to none of that didn’t exactly suit my fancies. I’m a fan of The Hunger Games because of the blood sport, and though I don’t give a fork when it comes to The Bachelor, I was head over heels in love with the bachelor, Prince Maxon. He was more than half the reason why I grew to appreciate this book, the other less-half because it was reminiscent of America’s Next Top Model (photoshoots, fancy dresses, fancy palace, fancy food, fancy pretty much everything), and that show by the way has been my guilty pleasure since childhood. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Selection, and didn’t find it as petty as was expected. It wasn’t great, and I’m not exactly recommending it, and though I share a somewhat ‘love it hate it’ relationship with this book, I’m happy to tell you that I’m currently leaning towards the loving, as I look forward to the release of The One.

 

Design A

The American Dream

My main beef in this book was hands down, America. That wasn’t good, because she was the protagonist, and insofar as I have read through the minds of various others, she was by far the most excruciatingly annoying pain in the ass. She judged people too easily and begrudged Aspen his decisions, despite the rationale behind them, and the fact that he did them only to avoid hurting her feelings in the long run. Coupled with the fact that most of the first few chapters were declarations of her love for him and vice versa, the criticality with which she handled Aspen didn’t sit well with me at all. I also thought that she lacked character development in aspects not necessarily relating to Maxon—she, for example, transitioned way too easily and conveniently from hating The Selection to embracing it. I didn’t get why she singled herself out as the girl to beat right from the very beginning, which she, by the way, based on compliments she received from the general public, the same templated praise for practically everyone else. Before she (thankfully) adjusted to the palace and to the entire selection process, America was such an impudent weakling that it was hard for me to take her seriously. She needed constant saving from Maxon, which only served to enhance his swoon factor, as well as deplete her credibility by the same ratio. However, she grew progressively stronger from one chapter to the next, and by the end of it I realized that all her mistakes and imperfections only led me to genuinely appreciate her metamorphosis into a more independent and open-minded America. The annoying version of her was probably a strategic move on Kiera Cass’s part, and for once I was glad to know that someone else in that book was even more irritating and misogynistic.

 

Design A

Maxon Schreave, Prince Of Illea

Prince Maxon was more than America’s redemption. The entire idea of The Selection was sickening to me at first, but it started to make sense as the book went on. I didn’t think I’d love Maxon’s character as much as I did, mainly because he was entertaining thirty-five beautiful women all harrowing for his attention. However, Maxon made up for everything America lacked severely—and then some. I actually started liking the origin of Illea because of how he balanced his duties out with the selection process. I don’t usually favor characters given everything on a silver platter, but Maxon was a gentleman, thoughtful, smart, understanding, swoon-worthy, just downright amazing. I didn’t find myself bothered in the least by his relationship with the rest of the girls, because he tried to keep his distance instead of schedule them all for visits to his royal bed chambers.  He sometimes had to play the player card, though that wasn’t his fault and I blamed none of that stupidity on him. He was by far my favorite character, though Aspen didn’t do too bad in the nice guy department either.

  “True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”

Design A

A Different Dystopia

I found that the preparation scenes in this book were girly enough to isolate part of an audience and alienate the rest, though this was, fortunately enough, just right up my alley (which brings me back to the ANTM problem. Forgive me). However, it wasn’t as dramatic or suspenseful as what I’m used to, and there were awkward dialogues in between attacks (which they never should have had the time or peace of mind for). I was mentally preparing myself for a less than mediocre action scene, and that was a mistake because there was essentially none of that. There were maybe some skirmishes and a few scratches to otherwise flawless skin here and there, but there was just nothing else that could have spurred my emotions into feeling afraid for any of them. I felt none of the urgency they did in terms of neutralizing rebel attacks. The Maxon-America scenes, which I guess replaced the missing action in some way, were thankfully things I learned to appreciate. They were sweet and understood what the other went through, and they tried to give each other time and space to sort out their feelings. I loved the delicious, creeping deliberation with which their relationship blossomed, and though Aspen was still in the picture, I was happy that America had someone to hold onto under duress.

In conclusion, I think this book is a worthy enough read, though is probably not the best choice for readers who like their books fast paced and straight to the point. In terms of amusement however, I think this book packs in a lot of that, so if you’re in to anything just for the kicks, I urge you to consider.

 

 “A month ago, I had looked at the TV and seen a stiff, distant, boring person-someone I couldn’t imagine anyone loving. And while he wasn’t anything close to the person I did love, he was worthy of having someone to love in his life.”

Design A

my rating

C

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Week 6 Review: The Selection

  1. I enjoyed The Selection more than I thought I would as well, and agree with most of your review on the reasons as to why! Maxon certainly was quite the gentleman!

    • Yep. This book was also my guilty pleasure. I didn’t know why I enjoyed it as much as I did, but I did, and I ain’t complaining 😀 I just wish there was a little more depth to it, though 😦 And yeah! Maxon was definitely one of my all time favorite characters. He made mistakes, yeah, but that made him feel more human. I never begrudged him anything. Or maybe I’m just into the gentleman types, haha!

  2. I kind of loved this one, just because it was so much fun. I never really got the Hunger Games comparison, really, except with the different classes of people and citizens spread out across the country with the central ruling power. There’s so much about these books that is insane, but I mean that in the best way. They’re so compulsively readable.

    • Yes, fun is the right word for it! I wasn’t into the story itself, like I said, but I found it quite amusing so I guess there was worth to it 🙂 I’m still really excited for The One though! I guess we’re pertaining more to the elimination process of The Selection, in the same way that the Hunger Games’ contenders got eliminated after they got killed. And yeah, it’s probably because it’s chic lit but it isn’t, and I’m kind of an in-betweener when it comes to that 😀

  3. Hm. The only reason this book interests me is Maxon. I want to know why everyone is so crazy about this guy… but from reading reviews on Goodreads I’m 99.9% sure I’m not going to be a fan of America. I’m just not into the girly, I-always-need-saving-because-I’m-so-delicate type. I’m more of a Katniss type. But maybe in the future I’ll give this one a shot.

    Great review, Jasmine. And I love the quote you put at the end!

    • Oh yes, Maxon 🙂 I think he’s the universal type, though. And it’s really hard to find fault in him, because he’s such a gentleman! And not the softie type too- he’s really strong, and he struggles, but that only makes him all the more believable 😀 America is his polar opposite I guess, in terms of appeal (but opposites attract HAHA). She was bearable by the end though! Up to you to try it out. Like I said, I’m kinda scared to recommend it because it’s certainly not for everyone. But I’d love to see your review if you ever you get to do so! And thank you Eve, and I love that quote too!

  4. I don’t know why I even consider reading this series. I don’t like girly stuff and every review I read says that America is annoying and makes decisions that make you want to smack her.

    But…the cover….

    • Haha! That cover is eye-catching isn’t it? America’s quite the annoyance, yes. I’ve felt like slapping her silly on more than one occasion, but I guess this one’s pretty enjoyable. I’m not sure it’s for you though, since like you said, you’re not into the girly stuff (and there’s a helluva lot of that) but I guess if you give this a try, I’m hoping Maxon can make it count!

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