Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen (2012)
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’m starting this review by stating the main reason why I bought this book – its cover. When I first saw it I just fell in love with it and after passing my eyes through the synopsis, I knew this was going to be a good reading. And it was.
I picked my copy up as soon as I got it in the mail. Read one chapter with the intention of killing the immense curiosity I had, and without even realizing it, I was already hooked by the end of the first couple of pages. I found the writing so simple, so straightforward, that I felt like I was having a conversation with a dear friend and that she was confiding me with all of her deepest secrets. Also, due to its easy prose, I couldn’t help by reading the entire book in a matter of hours. Actually, it was already morning outside when my eyes started getting a bit blurry and I had to call it a day.
I’m not sure if I, personally, would classify this book as a dystopian novel but I do understand why many people see it that way. The world building the author created does capture that essence, you feel a mix of Divergent meets The Hunger Games when it comes to castes and social divisions but that is as far as the comparison goes. Unfortunately, what started by being something really cool and interesting seeing the action was never stopped for the new society to be presented to the reader, it ended falling a little short for me. I seriously hope we get to see this new world explored to its maximum in the following books since its foundation sounds truly promising, although I do believe the romance will be the true core of The Elite, but hey, I might be wrong! I hope I am.
About the characters, America Singer might have the most cliché name of the entire literary universe – even though it’s possible to start liking it after a while. I did! –, but I do think she is a very compelling and passionate protagonist. She is strong and fragile at the same time, like all characters should be, and ultimately courageous seeing how much she has going on her life when she gets picked to be one of the Selected ladies in the run for Prince Maxon’s hand. Plus, she’s incredibly talented and super friendly and even when she feels like she doesn’t want to be a part of such political games, she doest it anyway, for the more honoured reasons possible. What I kind of disliked about her was how sometimes she sounded a bit out of her edge for someone who is not accustomed on having close friends or any other people around her, so it looked like, at times, she was way too comfortable for hew own good, showing off a certain aggressive and hostile slashes of personality.
As for the boys, I was betting my money on Aspen, right in the beginning due to their love appear to be so truthful and special, but the way the relationship came to an end – or to a pause, I’m not really sure – it flushed away all my sympathy for the guy. I understand that it is his job to provide for his family – and now for Mer as well – but I don’t think that was enough reason to terminate such a powerful love. So… my attentions moved to Prince Maxon, who is kind and well educated and totally worthy of my compassion once I understood all the pressure he had on his shoulders. Personally, I would give him a bit more salt, just to spice him a little, but I have a strong feeling that a lot is going to change in book two. A lot! And I can’t wait for it!
The plot is really exciting, and once you get into the Selection show, it becomes a complete page-turner. In my opinion, I just think a couple of things were missing, such as more information regarding Maxon’s interaction with the other contestants, more details about both the attacks and attackers – during the scenes where the palace was invaded – and, maybe, a little more tension in general, especially when it came to Celeste hating everybody and actually doing something about it.
The big finale, well… was a little nerve-wracking. I think the way Aspen reappeared in Mer’s life was a bit too expected, a cliché that could have been solved – and avoid – if the author had decided to give a different twist in the story, but the way America dealt with it by the end was the more mature and correct possible way. It also left a lot of doors open for the following book, which is awesome because we, as readers, get into that state of mind where we don’t really know what to expect – in a good way!
Overall, this was a great reading. The story was attention-grabbing, the characters were mysterious – and still have a lot to show! –, and the writing was just perfect for someone like me who is not very used to reading in English. And even though, initially, I was expecting something else in terms of storyline – don’t ask me what exactly ‘cause I don’t know –, I truly loved this book. And now I’m anxiously waiting for the release of The Elite, which is to due out in mid April. Can’t wait!