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.
Seeing as this is my first review using my new system, I’m going to figure out the best way to do this, I’m going to start off with an overall review, very basic, with just my general vague thoughts, and then I’m going to go into things with more detail, from the very beginning and end. So you can choose whether you want to read, one or both. So here we go!
Reading this book was hard work, I found the whole plotline to be MEH, and that really is the only word that I can think of to describe it. The plot went nowhere and only had the beginnings of a climax, which then fizzled out, I do understand that this is a three part series, however I do think that there should have been a developed conflict and resolution throughout. One thing that did really annoy me was the fact that I had guessed everything that was going to happen within the first fifty pages, I thought that the writing betrayed the plot, you have a girl so dead set on not entering The Selection, but finally does because there’s no chance that she’ll win right?
I couldn’t bear America, for a start her name is ridiculous, America Singer, I mean I know her family are a bunch of artist and surprisingly singers, but does it have to be so obvious and so cheesily done? I thought that as a character, everyone of her actions had an ulterior motives, and she was such a judgemental character that it made me feel increasing angered with every move that she made and all the inner dialogue that was she was going through.
Now onto my in-depth thoughts… From the very beginning to the very end, so there will be spoilers.
I went into this book hoping for the best, and I was thoroughly disappointed, I was amazed at how cliche and stereotypical the characters were. I found myself more and more irritated with how she was acting and how selfish her thoughts were. I may be alone in this thought process, but I thought that if she was truly starving that The Selection would be a saving grace. I don’t know if the power of love would be enough for me to ignore the suffering of my family, just so I could marry who I wanted. Especially if it was only a chance that I could be chosen.
This leads onto my next point, now it was already obvious that America was going to be picked, because it’s stated on the back in the blurb. However, I wasn’t ready for the onslaught of foreshadowing, and foreshadowing done badly. An over zealous use of ‘I wouldn’t win‘ and ‘the chances of me winning are extremely low’ grinded on my nerves, we already knew that she was going to have a prominent part in the book, so why did it need to be shoved in our faces every couple of pages.
When she did finally get chosen, what bothered me was the lack of reaction to the fact that she could have to use sex to get further on in the competition, she said ‘I was disgusted, revolted’ and then jumps straight into a massive explanation about the fact that she had to wait. I thought that there wasn’t enough off a reaction to this, and even at the end of this rant she ignored the information to mention the fact that her and her boyfriend had waited, as though that was way more poignant than the fact she might be asked to sell herself to move forward.
I know this is all negative, but I did have a major amount of problems with this book, however saying that, when we finally got some interaction between the family, it was a refreshing break, I thought that this was one of the better part of the books. I really enjoyed this, it seemed the least annoying part of the book, and kind of snapped America out of the robotic stereotypical movements that she had been in. One thing I will say about the family interaction that exaggerated my hate for America was the fact that she allowed her mother to bribe her with money that the family needed for her to do something that she was already going to do. For me this was one act really set into stone that I wouldn’t like her, not because it was wrong as such, but because America had been painted as the pure, fight for freedom type, but she was the one who was cheating her own mother out of money.
I think that the worst was yet to come, and it was really was. America, once meeting the girls becomes an insufferable stupid girl, who is so vapid and unbelievable it made my brain hurt. I think what becomes apparent is the fact that she has a pretty big superiority complex seen through lines like ‘And I was about to surround myself with girls like this. Great.’ I just think that this is really annoying trait, that just because she doesn’t believe in the whole thing doesn’t mean that she is above the people who do.
Then we move onto the thought process that led both her and Maxon becoming ‘friends’, one moment they’re screaming in the halls, and the next they’re bosom buddies. I don’t know how to feel about this, and I still don’t, it seemed like a very underhanded move on both of their parts. I especially had trouble with the whole tugging at the ear thing, I mean she had already told him that there was no chance of her falling in love with him, so why does she insist that he spend time with and not the other girls, who actually do want to be his wife.
I think that throughout the book, America is making judgements about things that she has no idea about, the other girls motivations and, whether or not she was better morally than they were and especially what kind of king Maxon will make. There were some redeeming factors, such as helping during the first rebel attack and saving her maids in the second, but I thought that the whole development was weak, and stereotypical and the characters lacked depth, it made it hard to read.
One of the characters that should have had a lot more depth than he did was Maxon, throughout this book, we see him struggle with his responsibilities and the one thing that really irritated me was the fact that his country is his job and he has no idea what is going on outside of his walls. I think that this was the final blow for this book, I can not understand how a future ruler could not be wise to the needs of the others, especially those who he will be ruling over. It seemed superficial and although he is in meetings determining the country’s future he still doesn’t know anything about the people.
As we move through the competition, we get another look into the family dynamic through letters, I have to say that these were some of my favourite parts. I thought that the writing of the brother and sister was really well done, the way that they engage with her and ask her was realistic and I could imagine my little sister talking to me like that.
I know this review is SO long, but I have to mention the fact that, her maids spend a hell of a lot of time creating this beautiful dress, and all she can think about is getting out of it and making excuses, it was irritating and deepened my hate for her. This was the part where it became obvious that she wasn’t going to get any better, and that she didn’t have any redeeming qualities, well at least not ones that I was interested in.
However one thing that I really loved was the Queen’s backstory, the way that she looks at the girls as being a perspective second child. This part of the book, the whole two pages was my absolute favourite part of the book.
The ending was something that got a little better than what I was expecting, but not by much. Enter the ex and his lame excuse about the other girl ‘falling into his arms’ which America accepts without questioning? But she stops the whole confusing love triangle, to give her and Maxon who she has decided she could love a chance. Which by the way is where the best part comes in, she actually asks Maxon not to kiss her until he is certain, which I thought was a risky move, but a good one.
But of course this book couldn’t end on a good note, we had to have Aspen’s contempt for someone he’s never met, meaning the stupidity is back, and that is how we end it.
[I hope you like this more detailed review, please leave a comment on what you think, and what could be improved!]