Back in early 2018 I visited my local library and purchased a book called The One by Kiera Cass. I thought I had checked it thoroughly, however, when I got home I realized The One was not the first book in the Selection series but the third book. It took me a few more months to collect the first and second books and then it took me another few months before I began reading the series. The turning point that convinced me to pick up the book was when my sister and niece came to town for a visit and shared with me how much they liked The Selection. After hearing their positive reviews, I decided to begin my own Selection journey.
This blog post is a very simple overview of the first two books: The Selection and The Elite. I am currently reading the third book, but I thought it would be best to write my feelings down in a general post instead of doing two separate book reviews. I think I may do this with all the series I read – one collaborative review instead of individual book reviews (unless a book stands out to me and needs its own glowing review).
The Selection series is pretty much like The Bachelor in book form…which I’ve never really watched, although I’ve seen a few episodes and so I am aware the show exists and how it works. And even though I’m not much for reality TV, this book series has really drawn me into the competition! The story is about a young girl named America who is selected to partake in a competition for the honor of marrying the Prince and becoming the next Queen. The obstacle of course, is that she’s competing against 34 other girls!
Like I said if you watch The Bachelor then you have a general idea of what this book is about. Prince Maxon has to narrow down the number of girls until only one remains (and I think I have a good idea of who that girl will be *wink*). The competition is also televised across the land, again like The Bachelor, and the kingdom gets to see the selected girls on the weekly Friday broadcasts where the viewers get to know them better and cheer for the one or ones they think should win. The twist to the story is that not everyone is supportive of this race to the throne and there are factions who are trying to take down the caste (as it’s called) and the King.
Now I’ve compared this book series to The Bachelor, but it’s also reminiscent of The Hunger Games too because the kingdom is also separated by classes, numbers assigned to what class you are born into. America is a 5 which means she is at poverty level, but she isn’t as desolate as a lower number. The numbers range from the coveted 1 (the Royal Family) to the lowly 8 and since you are born into a class, there isn’t really any way to work up to a higher number unless you bribe your way up or marry up – both are very rare and hard to do. Due to the classes and the rarity of becoming a higher number, there are some prejudices between the classes which cause tension amongst the people. Plus the job you are assigned is by the number you’re born into, so that’s another strain if you are a lower number.
Since America is a 5, she is not the favorite of the King or of the people. She’s considered uneducated and too simple to be the next Queen, however, Prince Maxon has feelings for her and so she is a major contender in the caste.
The books are written in a simple manner which makes them easy to read. I’ve been able to get through each book quickly and on to the next – a good thing since the books tend to end on a cliff hanger! Even though the writing is simple, the story still draws you in. I’m pretty invested in the journey of Prince Maxon and the choice he’ll make and while you know who will win the competition, the circumstances surrounding this choice keeps you reading page after page. Then there are the attacks against the throne by the two factions who want to overthrow the King, terminate the class system, and put an end to the tradition of choosing a bride by competition. These side stories help keep the story going since all you have outside these events is the Price and the girls dating drama.
I think the only drawback for me is America’s struggle to decide who she really loves and wants to be with. I’m all for a good love triangle, which this book has, but when it’s this drawn out it gets a bit tiresome. It makes me sigh when America is trying to justify her feelings for both men (the Prince and Aspen) because you just want her to choose one! I know, feelings of the heart can’t easily be conquered but I think the love triangle in this series is just way too long. Come on America, make a decision and stick by it! I’m already in the third book and America is still stringing poor Aspen along.
Other than the love triangle, I am invested in the story. I like most all of the characters and think they are well written. I like the world the author created and I am looking forward to reading more and finding out what the conclusion to the series will be. Even though Prince Maxon’s choice seems predictable, I like the tension this decision causes between the King and his son which is another interesting aspect to the series.
Since this is a competition for the heart of the Prince, I would suggest the reader be 13 or older although there haven’t been any sexual scenes depicted in the first two books, there have been a few heated scenes with the Prince and the girls (kissing, groping, and such) that makes me suggest this age range. I would also recommend this book to those readers who liked The Hunger Games or those who are a fan of The Bachelor.