Can One Girl Have It All? The Selection Series Book Review

For this week's post I'm going to share with you a series that captured my attention from the very first page. I hope you will enjoy Kiera Cass's The Selection series as much as I did. She also has some pretty fantastic quotes that I made into some prints that you can find at the bottom of this post. Happy Reading! 

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Book 1 The Selection

Out of a war-torn dystopian world, the kingdom of Illéa emerged. Society is broken into castes, and each caste has a role to play.  The royal family is in the highest caste, and the poorest people make up the lowest level of the system.

America Singer, marked as a Five, is picked to be one of the thirty-five girls in the upcoming Selection where Prince Maxon will choose his bride. Any girl would see this as a chance of a lifetime, a rare opportunity to escape the caste life laid out for her since birth. But for America, being Selected is an utter nightmare.  It means leaving her family to enter a fierce competition for a crown that she doesn’t even want. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen Leger, a Six.  

Then America meets Prince Maxon, a One. As she spends more time with the Prince, she starts to question all the plans she has for herself. She gradually realizes the life she always dreamed of does not compare with the future she never imagined.

***

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Often referred to as the Hunger Games without the bloodshed, mixed with a young adult version of The Bachelor, this book does a nice job at following a love triangle without all the drama. I enjoyed the storyline of this futuristic depiction of America—the country, that is. There really isn’t a good point to stop reading this novel. It’s a read-in-one-sitting type of book.

My one critique is I wanted more details about the rebel attacks. I found it hard to believe that one minute there is complete peace in the palace and then the next there are rebels breaking in. The attack only last for a brief period and then it is back to game-show style life for America. The attacks aren't that convincing. Luckily, it is a minor detail that does not impact the story in a negative way.

If you enjoy books about dystopian futures or prince and princesses, this might just be the perfect book for you to read right now.  I highly suggest you get yourself a copy of it before it comes to the Big Screen. You can read more about the film news on Kiera Cass’s blog.  


Book 2 The Elite

Aspen still has a hold on America’s heart. Maxon still has six girls left in the competition. Circumstances cause America to pull away from Maxon. Now he is forced to look around to see who might be the best match for him. The Selection is still wide open.

The Northern and Southern rebels continue to attack the palace with greater frequency as the demands for the end of the Selection continue to pour in.

America and the other Elite are put to the test on many occasions to see if they have what it takes to be the next princess. Fear will betray more than one among them.  

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Unlike the previous novel, this book has more tension, more intimate moments, and more heartbreak. Readers get more of a glimpse at the harsh nature of the King and the kindness inside of Prince Maxon. 

I love that America continues to march to the beat of her own drum and fights for what she believes is right.

I appreciated the short glimpses into the world pre- Gregory Illéa. His diary is sure to hold many more secrets that I hope get unlocked in later books.

Just as I begin to fall in love with the idea of America and Maxon living happily ever after together, some outside force prevents it. Internal and external conflicts seem to be never ending with these two.  

The best part of the book, however, happens in the last few chapters. Rebels find their way into the castle again, forcing Maxon and America to hide in a safe room. Maxon is left with no choice but to reveal his deepest secrets to America.  It’s at this point when you’ll want to go back in time and tell America to open her eyes and see that she could be truly happy if she only lets Maxon into her whole heart. 


Book 3 The One

The One opens with bricks flying through the window of the Great Room as the four remaining girls hurry down the corridor that leads to the safe room in the basement. Regardless of how many attacks occur on the palace, the King is determined not to end the Selection.

New alliances are formed, friendships are strengthened, and the King's dislike towards America increases. America must now fight to protect her family and her heart.

America’s made her choice. Now it’s up to Maxon to make his. Before the Selection is over, blood will be shed.  Will it all prove too much for America? Can one girl have it all?

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This book, like the first, was read in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down.  A great deal of information about the Northern and Southern rebels is revealed; although I wish more details would have been shared in The Elite

America really matures in this book, and I enjoyed seeing her progress from an indecisive, rash-acting teenager to being secure in her ambitions and actions.

The love triangle doesn’t get resolved till the last few pages of the book. Cass really knows how to keep her readers captivated to the bitter end.

The ending is so much more than a happily ever after. I would have been quite content with The Selection series ending here since it provides a perfect resolution.


Book 4 The Heir

Twenty years after the last Selection where Maxon chose his princess, Illea is still faced with civil unrest. The backstory final comes to light in the fourth installment of The Selection series. The tension between the monarch and the people rises. Many are unhappy with the dismantled caste system, and people dislike the stubborn and spoiled future heir to the kingdom.

In an effort to quiet the distress, Maxon and his wife decide to hold another Selection to distract the citizens until he is able to find a permanent solution to their concerns. Like many things since Maxon’s reign, the Selection will be different than its predecessors. The heir to the throne is not a prince, but a princess.

Princess Eadlyn sees no need for this pageantry of men; she is comfortable in her own skin, believing she does not need a man by her side to complete her job as a queen.  Willing to help her father settle the issues with the kingdom she agrees to participate, but, of course, by her own set of rules.

Princess Eadlyn doesn’t expect to find her parents’ true love fairy-tale romance with her Selection. As she starts to let people into the most intimate places of her heart, she soon realizes that true love might be a possibility. 

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I miss America’s voice, her perspective, and her boldness. Eadlyn comes off as a selfish, entitled snob. No wonder the citizens aren’t eager for her to take the throne! Hopefully we can see growth from Eadlyn like we saw with America in the three previous books.

I appreciated that more attention was focused on the struggle with the monarch reign over the citizens, something I felt it was lacking in the pervious books; however, I still felt unsatisfied with the lack of depth of the situations. I am hoping the fifth book will provide more details. The untitled fifth and final book of the series is scheduled to release some time in 2016.

A companion to the Selection Series entitled Happily Ever After is in the works to be released in October 2105. The Contents of Happily Ever After are as follows

  • The Prince, Maxon's novella
  • The Guard, Aspen's novella
  • The Queen, Amberly's novella
  • The Favorite, Marlee's novella
  • Three scenes from Celeste's POV
  • Lucy's scenes (bonus scene from The One)
  • The bonus epilogue
  • Where are they now?
  • A map
  • Various illustrations

Final Thoughts

If you look through reviews on Amazon or GoodReads, you will come across the numerous reviews that point on the flaws in the plot line and development of these books. Consider for a moment why you read books though. If your answer is for enjoyment or for pleasure, then you should consider this series as a form of enjoyment. I enjoyed traveling to the futuristic world of Illéa. This is a great princess tale told in a different light. And for a story about finding true love, I was presently surprised by its lack of sexual content that seems to accompany many young adult romance novels.

 I highly recommend this series for the fact that you will enjoy the story of America Singer and her journey to understanding her place in the world.


I’d love to hear you thoughts about the books as well as how you think the series will end.

Who do you think will win Eadlyn heart? Do you think Erik has a chance to be the one to put a ring on her finger? What about Ahren shocking announcement at the end of the book?

Personally, I’m rooting for Kile!