THESE BOOKS WERE PROVIDED TO ME IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
The Selection (book one), The Elite (book two), The One (book 3)
AUTHOR: Kiera Cass
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
MY RATING: 3/5
PLEASE NOTE: this review is of the original trilogy and does not include my thoughts on 'the heir'. It also doesn't include any spoilers for any of the books!
SYNOPSIS (BOOK 1):
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.
I read the entire of The Selection trilogy in under 48 hours. I'm not sure what that means about me, or about the series, but it sure was a fun few days. It's a perfect guilty pleasure series for me. It's not the most well written trilogy by a long shot, and the story was borderline ridiculous, but it really was entertaining.
I'd heard so much before I started reading about how annoying America Singer was, so I was expecting to completely detest her. Luckily I found her a little bit more bearable than other people made her out to be. Sure, she's irritatingly indecisive and she makes some really stupid and rash decisions, but there were also times when I admired how she stood up for herself and overall I quite enjoyed reading from her perspective. Maybe it's because my expectations were incredibly low, but I actually kind of liked America as a protagonist!
As for the boys, I am most definitely on TEAM MAXON. I really did enjoy Maxon as a love interest, and he was by far the most interesting and likable character in the trilogy for me. Unfortunately, my thoughts on Aspen aren't nearly as positive. I never really felt like we got to know him properly, and he never really did anything that was important to the plot. Aspen could just not have existed and I wouldn't have notices, and a lot of the time I felt like he was only in the story to cause unnecessary angst and romantic tension. I thought the rest of the characters, particularly the other girls in the selection, were pretty one dimensional and not particularly interesting. They weren't absolutely awful, but they definitely weren't characters that are really going to stand out in my head.
There were some really cute romantic moments in this trilogy, and even though the relationships were very cheesy and occasionally cringe worthy there were a few scenes that made me a little bit warm and gooey inside. I always hate love triangles (with the exception of the love triangle in the Infernal Devices), and these books didn't break that rule. I thought it was totally unnecessary and infuriating, and I would have enjoyed the romantic side of the story so much more if America wasn't constantly switching between the two boys.
As shallow and silly as it is, one of the things I really liked about this series was the descriptions of the dresses America got to wear and the extravagance of the palace. I thought Kiera Cass did a really great job at painting a vivid picture in my mind, and what a pretty picture it was. Basically, anything with beautiful ballgowns gets extra points from me.
The story is fast paced and entertaining, and I never got bored even though I read all three books in a row with hardly any breaks. The plot was predictable and definitely lacked a lot of depth, but even though I knew what was going to happen something about Kiera Cass' writing kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. Whatever else you say about these books, you have to admit that they're quick and addictive reads.
My main problems with this book were the weak world building and half hearted attempt at having a deeper storyline besides what was happening in the selection. I didn't really understand what was going on in the world Kiera Cass created, and some parts of the world building were painfully close to things I've read before. There's a rebellion happening, but I didn't really know why people were rebelling and what they wanted to achieve. I almost felt like the author wrote the story of America being in the selection, then realized that she needed more going on in the book and hastily added in a dystopian future and rebellion.
The Selection is most definitely a guilty pleasure series, but I can't deny that I had a lot of fun reading them. If you want a complex story, a richly developed world and well developed characters that don't make you want to pull your hair out this is NOT the series for you, but if you want something fast and light with lots of pretty dresses I recommend picking up these books.