The Selection Trilogy – Book 1
Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals… It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love.
Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others. Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.
This book has a massive mixed-bag of reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon. Quite rightly so, too.
I am already working my way through the second book in this trilogy “The Elite” and I’m not entirely sure I will finish it. I say this because the first book captured my interest from the very start. I mean, who doesn’t love the premise of a post-World War 4 dystopian society with a caste system and the Main Character beating it? We all cheer for the underdog in these kinds of scenarios.
Kiera Cass sets up a world where America is no longer and its democracy is long gone. Instead what was known as North America is now Illea and run by a monarchy. One of which instituted caste systems – 1st are Royalty, 2nd Royal Guards and Nobles, etc. The poorest are the 8th, they are called the lowest of the low. So poor they have to resort to crime to survive. The book attempts to lay parallels akin to that of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth with this setup.
The Selection is one of those easy read books that you pick up knowing full-well that the Main Character will succeed but you choose to read simply because you want to know how her story evolves, how she overcomes and triumphs above all.
America, our main character, is a 17-year-old in 5th caste. An entertainer faction, if you will. She has musical talents that bring in a little money for her family. She lives a sparse life, only marginally better than that of the lower 3 castes. She is in a forbidden relationship with a 7th named Aspen when notice goes out that the King and Queen are holding a ‘Selection’ to find a wife for their son and to become his queen when the time is right. Aspen and her family talk America into applying. Of course, she is picked as one of the 35 girls to vie for the attentions of the Prince.
Being selected automatically raises her level to that of a 3, her family gains an allowance, and she moves into the palace while the Selection process plays out.
There are many things left unanswered in the world-building. Citizens don’t have access to books and information on their history. It’s left to word of mouth, whispers, and stretched tales. Which makes no sense when you take into consideration that ‘The Selection’ itself is televised weekly, they have phones and other various technologies. I ended up going with the assumption that WW4 put them back to analogue technologies, possibly 1940-50’s era.
The relationships within the palace between the girls aren’t overly complicated. There’s no true turmoil, not much in the way of bitchiness or spiteful competition, and it’s lacking in any true drama. America’s relationship with Maxon, the Prince, gets off on the wrong foot but as expected he is more intrigued by someone who would quarrel instead of revering him. The ‘love triangle’ that the author attempted to build towards the end of the book falls flat. I found myself annoyed by Aspen and equally so by Maxon, more so by America herself.
This book could have been a lot more if the story was outlined to someone like Brandon Sanderson and he wrote it. He would’ve built it into an epic series really worth reading. The characters could’ve been aged up a little to be not anywhere as naive and irritating as they’re portrayed.
On a final note, this review is simply my opinion. Opinions are subjective. If this series sounds perfect for you then grab a copy and sink your teeth into it.
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