Thursday, 7 April 2016

Book Review: The Selection; Kiera Cass.

It's amazing how long it took me to read this book after it came out. It received so much hype but I was a bit wary due to the fact that it received so many mixed reviews. I'm entering it into the Monthly Motif challenge too for being a New York Times bestseller!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Selection
AUTHOR: Kiera Cass
SERIES: The Selection (#1)
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PAGES: 339
GENRE: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance

RATING: 3/5 Stars

Blurb:
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.

What I Liked:
  • The plot-line, despite not being my usual thing, really hooked me. It was quite a comfortable read in that there wasn't a huge amount of danger involved (save for the odd Rebel attack which didn't seem to mention much in the way of death) and I think I needed a book like that right now. I could get into the competition politics, watching the girls try to outdo each other and most importantly: watching America and Maxon's relationship. I know they're probably going to end up together but I liked that they were friends throughout most of this book. It was a nice build-up!
  • Once I adjusted to the characters, I ended up quite liking them. Maxon's gentlemanly cluelessness was pretty adorable, I like how feisty America was (and how clear-headed she could be too) and I even began to feel a little sorry for Aspen whose only fault was his pride. I felt like I didn't get to know the girls all that well, but the ones that I did have some interesting developments lined up I'm sure. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them now that the competition has been narrowed down so much.
What I Disliked:
  • There were a few plot incidents that felt a little forced (America's sudden, overwhelming panic attack for example) and some things didn't quite make sense (America's good behaviour if she really didn't want to be chosen, the caste system based on occupation felt a little iffy, the Southern Rebels being classed as the most dangerous and deadly when in fact they seem to favour tying people up and knocking them out, etc.) and I think this came down to a lack of detail in the world-building. There was a little bit of information posted sporadically throughout the book but it didn't really give me a clear look at what was happening, just made me ask more questions.
  • Some of the conversations felt very natural in this book, and some of them really did not. By the end of the book I was a huge Maxon fan, but when I first met him? His consistent use of the words 'my dear' actually made me cringe. Anyone who has read 'Oliver Twist' (or seen the movie, as in my case) will know exactly which character came to mind and I can tell you it was not a pretty picture to begin with. I just couldn't imagine a young Maxon using that sort of phrase when referring to a lady his age. There were other examples of weird speech but that was the most notable.
Overall Conclusion:
My 'good but not amazing' rating comes from the fact that despite liking it, I was not bowled over by this story. It's going to take quite a bit more detail and an improvement in the writing in order for this to happen. The plot idea was strong and I like the characters, but I want to feel more love for this book and world-building has to be a big part of that. There is a very 'safe' feeling that comes with reading this book: possibly because the supposed threats don't feel all that threatening? Cass hasn't introduced a real villain as of yet so the biggest dangers America has to face are a jealous, dress-ripping Celia or Robin Hood style Rebels. There maybe more of this to come in Book Two and I'm really intrigued to see where Cass goes with this series, so I'll definitely be continuing!