Posts Tagged ‘the selection’

There are three books being released in May about which I am very excited.  Some good books to have ready for my vacation in a couple of weeks!

A Court of Thorns and RosesThe one about which I am most excited is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas of Throne of Glass fame.  This is a retelling of the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast and tells the story of Feyre, a young woman who becomes entangled with the mysterious fey in order to save her loved ones.  I understand this will be the start of a series of books as well. I’ve loved the Throne of Glass series and the five chapter sample which has been released has only served to whet my appetite. A Court of Thorns and Roses is released on May 5th 2015.  I can’t wait!

The HeirThe next upcoming release I’m looking forward to is Keira Cass’s The Heir.  This is a new story set 20 years after the events of The Selection and deals with the attempts of America and Maxon’s daughter to find her partner in a Selection of her own.  I’m also really looking forward to this one.  The One, the final book in The Selection was one of my top reads of 2014 – if you remember, it’s The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.  I look forward to seeing what’s gone on in Ilea in the last 20 years and if Maxon and America have been able to achieve their aims.  It’s not often that you get to see the aftermath of a dystopian series 20 years later.  The Heir is also released on May 5th 2015.

The Sword of the NorthThe Sword of the North is the second in Luke Scull’s grimdark series The Grim Company.  It’s been a while since I read book one, so I can’t remember much about it.  I do remember though that I was very invested in the characters at the time.  Book two is on preorder and should hit my Kindle also on May 15th.

Are you planning to pick up any of these?  Let me know in the comments.

The One by Kiera Cass is the final book in the Selection trilogy which tells the story of America Singer and her participation in the Bachelor type contest to win the heart and hand of Prince Maxon.  I absolutely ADORED this book and would have happily read it had it been three times as long.  Cass continued to develop the things I loved about the earlier books and my minor gripes about the series were all resolved.

Before I start I would like to reecho the comment I made in an earlier post about the Selection Collection – the ebook compendium that includes all three novels plus the two novellas, The Guard and The Prince.  I honestly don’t know what the editor who put it together was thinking: they have the two novellas following on after The One which makes zero sense.  The Prince is set before The Selection and The Guard is set between The Elite and The One.  If you read them in the order presented in the compendium you’re going to end up frustrated because all of the great character development of the later books is reset.  

What I liked

The blend.  In The One, Cass has achieved a wonderful balance between romance, politics, worldbuilding and character development.  It all fitted together perfectly  and made a gripping story.

Character development.  All three of the main characters seemed to gain a great deal of maturity in this book.  This is particularly true in the case of Aspen, a character whom I’d actively disliked in earlier books.  Not only did I end up liking him a lot more, but I could also respect him which is saying a lot.  In general, too, I felt America handled her romantic situation in more of an adult fashion in this book, although she did have flashes of immaturity to keep her endearing.  I liked that characters who’d seemed a little two dimensional such as Celeste became a lot more human as America’s growing maturity gave her a more understanding perspective of them.  This was an aspect of the book that I felt was particularly beautifully written.  I noted in my review of The Elite that at times it seemed that America wouldn’t necessarily be the best candidate to take on the role of princess.  By the end of The One, Cass has convinced me that she can handle it.

The triangle.  This was one aspect which had really irritated me about the earlier books, but I felt it was exceptionally well handled here.  I appreciated that America finally resolved her feelings for the two men in her life after a date in which they had an open and honest conversation.  It also helped that that date in the rain was super adorable!  That’s not to say that things were plain sailing after that – she still made mistakes but that kept her human.

That scene at the winner announcement.  Holy crap.  It’s not often that I have to back up and reread a few paragraphs thinking bloody hell, did that just happen?  But in this case I did.  It caught me completely off guard.  After the fact though, it’s obvious that Cass has done her work well.  All the signs and foreshadowing were there if I’d been paying attention.  

The narration.  I’d not been too fond of Amy Rubinate’s narration of The Selection and The Elite.  Perhaps it was because I enjoyed her narration of Rebel Belle so much that I did enjoy the narration of The One much more.

What I didn’t like

Aborted plotlines.  There were at least one or two plotlines which really intrigued me and then seemed to disappear.  One of these in particular I felt could have led to some really interesting conflict, but was resolved rather easily.

This is a very minor gripe, so do I really have to say that I gave The One five stars out of five?  So far it’s one of my favourite books of the year, up there with Cress.  Go read it.  Now.  

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The Selection by Kiera Cass is about a young woman named America who ends up involved in a sort of Bachelor competition to win the heart and hand of the crown prince.

I hadn’t actually intended to read it.  I had tried the sample and didn’t get into it enough to want to buy it.  Then I watched PolandBananasBooks’ YouTube review and when I saw that the audiobook was available at my local library I decided to give it another shot.  After I got through the first few chapters I found the story sucked me in and I finished it in almost the one sitting.

What I liked

The concept.  I hadn’t expected to enjoy a teen princess version of The Bachelor but the main character was so engaging I found I really enjoyed it.  It helped that America’s motives for entering the competition were laid out pretty clearly – she has no illusions about marrying the prince and living a life of luxury.  She knows that the longer she stays in the Selection the longer her struggling family receives financial support from the state, and that is one of her main motivations.

The America/Maxon relationship.  I really liked that their relationship was based on honesty and friendship rather than love at first sight.  They are just so cute together!

The world.  I was intrigued by the world of The Selection.  There are just enough hints dropped throughout the book that the society isn’t as healthy as it pretends to be.  There is a strict class system and there are some neat little touches such as the names of those is the lower castes who do all the work describe the person’s occupation – our entertainer protagonist’s surname is Singer – whereas those in upper castes have more varied names.  I look forward to hearing more about the rebels in future books.

The characters.  I would have found this concept much more difficult to swallow with a less engaging protagonist.  America doesn’t buy into all the “he’s going to fall in love with me, he’ll pick me, we’rs going to be soooo happy, and I’ll get to be a princess and wear a crown and tell people what to do” nonsense.  She’s very grounded.

Maxon is also a very sympathetic character.  He is perhaps a little naive, but is basically a decent guy.  He and America seem very well suited.

What I didn’t like

The narrator.  I normally don’ t like to criticise a narrator, but I did struggle to enjoy Amy Rubinate’s narration of this story.  I personally found her voice flat and monotonous and with a less gripping story I would have turned off.  But that is just my opinion.  Here’s a sample to judge for yourself.

[audio http://samples.audible.com/bk/harp/F002844/bk_harp_002844_sample.mp3]

 

The love triangle.  Teen love triangles can be annoying and this was one of the worst.  I found it irritating because it’s crystal clear that there is absolutely no competition between Aspen and Maxon.  Maxon treats America with kindness and respect, can offer her and her family security and the opportunity to make a difference to Illea.  Aspen, on the other hand, manipulates her into breaking the law, uses emotional blackmail, makes false promises, can offer her less financial security and as soon as she turned the corner was making eyes at another girl.  America, of course, is all “but I luuuurve him!”  I really wanted to reach into my Kindle and give her a good talking to!

All in all I really loved The Selection and am looking forward to The Elite being available for me to borrow.

I gave The Selection four stars out of five.

 buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Audible.