The Elite – Kiera Cass
Let me just own up and say it – I haven’t read The Selection (I seem to be making a habit of reading books that are part way through a series), I have however, read a tonne of reviews of The Selection, it appeared to be rated very highly. I have also seen a tonne of reviews for The Elite. Seriously, every blog I follow seems to have either read it or wants to, so when I saw it listed on Netgalley, I thought I ought to give it a go. Because I succumb to peer pressure mostly.
Here’s the blurb:
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide. Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
Ok, so basically, this is like that telly show where rugby player and general magazine gracer, Gavin Henson, puts a load of girls through meaningless tests and then picks one to be his celebrity girlfriend. I think the show is called The Bachelor. This is like that, only the girls are competing to be Queen, so they aren’t just after Prince Maxon’s love, but they also sort of have to win over the entire country. The basic premise is a little problematic for me because I am a huge feminist and I kind of have a problem with the idea that a load of girls are rounded up and sent to the palace for the prince to then judge whether or not he wants to be with them. Like, seriously? Do the girls not get a say in this? What if they don’t like him and he picks them? Was this answered in the selection? I am going to lock my feminist ways in a cage for this review though, because this is supposed to be a dystopian, and you know, equal rights and such like aren’t really key players in such novels. Though, just once I would like to read/watch a dystopian story where men are treated badly. You know. Just once.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think all that highly of this. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t necessarily good either. There were a lot of paragraphs of prose that just didn’t work for me, it was bit like listening to a five year old describe their day at school sometimes and I don’t want that when I’m reading a book aimed at young adults. America irritated me beyond belief at certain points with her constant too-ing and fro-ing between the two men in her life and then moaning about how difficult it is for her to be in the palace and to be privy to information and books and things that she isn’t allowed back home and oh how hard it is for her to have two gorgeous men falling at her feet.
You, my dear, have some serious first world problems going on.
Also, the blurb promised me action, it promised me violence and it’s marketed as being like the hunger games but in a palace rather than an arena. Instead of violence and such like I got a book that is entirely about whether or not America wants to win the competition and marry the prince or whether she wants to return home to the boyfriend she had before – who broke up with her but has chased her to the palace and now wants her back. Honestly, America, honey, you could do better than both these asshats. I know everyone seems to be team Maxon, but I didn’t think he was all that great.
Maxon might be a prince, but that doesn’t give him the right to tell you that he loves you and then disappear and flirt with some other girl right in front of you. He might be part of this competition too, but he just came across as being a little bit of a dick in that respect. I haven’t read The Selection, but America mentions more than once that Aspen finished with her just before she got sent off to the palace and that they had a secret love affair back home, dude, you can’t just break up with her, follow her to the palace and then constantly put her in danger by planning to meet up with her and getting off with her at every opportunity. And right, America, you need to stop dragging him along, either you want him or you don’t. Deal with it. The same for Maxon. You can tell I kind of hate love triangles, right?
I would be lying if I said there wasn’t any action at all – there are a couple of rebel attacks on the castle, and I’m guessing the true dystopian stuff is all in the first book because there was barely any explanation of the caste system or how that came to be in this book. The rebel attacks were very brief and weren’t exactly written in a way that was particularly thrilling. In one instance America was….
….chased by a load of rebels and yet, I didn’t find myself fearing for her life at all. It also took her a hell of a long time to figure out what the rebels were after. Keira Cass even drops that huge bombshell on us about half way through and it still takes America to practically the end of the book to work it out herself. Speaking of the end, it actually got a bit good, we got to see some evil governments and such like and I found myself being a bit more sympathetic towards Maxon come the ending. I hope to all that is holy that the authors note is just an arc thing, because good god, I cringed.
Despite my grieviences, I did quite like the book in general, there were loads of moments that I did enjoy, there were parts when America and Maxon were very sweet and I kind of loved America’s sense of justice, particularly with Marlee and I liked her honesty. I may grab myself a copy of The Selection and then reread this afterwards, I feel like I might enjoy it more with some more back story and that the love triangle might not be quite so annoying with some of the background to keep me entertained. I won’t rule out reading book three either, just to see how it all ends.