I want to start out this review with a bit of a warning, and a note of self encouragement to think for yourselves. I received this book about a month ago, and like most of the books I receive; I get them, I drop them in a pile and I move on. The only time I look at Amazon or Goodreads (regarding the book) after that is to copy the synopsis and to get the link. That said, yesterday…when I FINALLY (I know, I’ve been a horrible blogger lately) got around to grabbing it’s info I noticed something….astounding. A crazy number of people are really pissed off about this book! Come to find out (and if you want to see what I’m talking about feel free to look it up here) Ms. Cass had an “authors behaving badly” moment on Twitter and as result readers are burning her at the stake without even having read the book. Do I think this is right? No…on BOTH accounts. While I think it is in very bad taste for an author to spout off about bad reviews (etc.) I also think it is in bad taste to discount a book based on a persons moment of weakness. They are after-all, people too. (And we aren’t perfect!) That said…I want all of you (that had planned to read this book) to look very closely at ALL of the reviews and make a educated decision whether or not to read it based on the merits of the BOOK not the person that wrote it.
That is all (of the preachy stuff anyways) want to know what it’s about? (of course you do!)
“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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.”
The first thing to understand about “The Selection” by Kiera Cass is that it is not the Dystopian fiction it has been presented to be, or at least not entirely.
If you find yourself captivated by the hardships and trials (hunger, power or otherwise) often found in Dystopian literature, I’m going to go out of a limb and declare an automatic dislike for this book. Why? Because it is much more “cute rich guy seeks a bride” than “let’s overthrow our evil government!” I’m not insinuating that this is a bad thing, as a matter of fact it’s quite cute in a “reality TV The Bachelor” sort of way, but it’s important to grasp the reality of this book going into it, so you don’t find yourself disappointed coming out of it. In two words…it’s romance.
Now, before I hop upon my high-horse and tell you what I didn’t care for, let’s start with what I found incredibly interesting. THE CASTE SYSTEM! (of which the lovely Lady America’s arse is so elegantly strapped to.)
Unfortunately we (aka the residents of the “current” USA) had a spending problem, and because we don’t know how to keep our Visa cards in our wallets, our Nation’s pot ran dry. In other words we became destitute. So much in fact that our tech friendly (not broke) frenemies in the Chinese government decided to purchase the good ‘ol US of A. (Going once…going twice…sold!) In an effort to regain control of our beloved country we started WWIII (no big surprise there) But by the time we finally accomplished this VERY COSTLY feat (which included a new name, go figure) we were a hot mess! (Think Snookie pregnant, oh wait…that’s actually a reality. Yikes!) In the interest of saving time, I’ll just tell you that a rich dude finally said “enough is enough!” 1 + 1, 2+2, all that BS and tada a new country was born! Caste system and monarchy non-negotiable. (Yes, as in God save the Queen!)
The reason this was so interesting (though it was sloppily explained and slightly clouded over in the book) is the effect it had on the rhythm and actions of the characters. Though the book is set in the future it reads more like a historical romance. (People are discouraged from marrying outside their class, maids are broke and the streets are dirty!) More importantly the customs of acceptable behavior have taken a kidney shot back to the days of Austen (minus the language for those of you that just freaked out.)
So what was the problem? In layman’s terms…Cass dropped the ball when it came to the characters and the action scenes. (boo!) While I didn’t hate the leads, I found myself annoyed with them on more than one occasion. America, who is a 5 (that’s pretty freaking low mind you) was witty and honest (mostly) to those around her (in person) but was wildly erratic, and a bit of a ninny, when it came to her internal dialogue. “I should….oh, I shouldn’t…” (*insert gag noise*) The boys weren’t much better, (as far as development is concerned) but at least there was only one of them I wanted to see shot down in a horrific blaze of non-glory. (I’ll let you figure out which is which.)
As for the action (aka the rebel attacks) they were almost non-existent (which is why I’m removing this from the Dystopian list) and when they did appear they added very little (if anything at all) plot wise.
So what did I think overall? Meh. It wasn’t one I’d stay up all night reading, but it wasn’t bad either. I’ll go with average, or better yet… a nice fluffy beach read. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t exactly have a ending, just a set up for book 2. (*groan*)
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Less is more, no one wants to marry a whore!
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The book is scheduled for release between April 24th and May 12th (apparently they can’t make up their minds.)
A Chat with Keira