Oookay…where do I start?
I have a love/hate relationship with this book and at the moment I’m leaning towards hate, because even though this book was very well written and works great as a romance novel, in the beginning it promises to be something more than a mere love story, despite what the blurb and the trailer (check it out here) says. And yet, by the time I was done, I realized it had failed to deliver.
The premise of the book itself is interesting: the story is set in a dystopian world where the society maintains a caste system, you have a MC who is struggling between choosing her own life versus sacrificing her dreams for the sake of her family, you have discrimination, you have a screwed up, dominating monarch… I mean, how could you possibly go wrong with all of that?
I’ll tell you how: by staging the plot to concentrate only on romance and none of the other interesting stuff mentioned above. Throw in a love triangle to make the protagonist seem more obsessed with choosing the right guy than choosing to do the right thing and viola! You have the recipe for turning a potentially great story into a stereotypical, forgettable novel.
The Writing: This book gets one star from me because of the writing. Despite all my issues with this book, I can’t deny that Kiera Cass is a great writer. Incredibly entertaining, she will have you hooked into this book–which probably explains why this book is so popular–and her descriptions are so lifelike they all but jump out of the pages. Yes, there are many, many clichés, not to mention a long list of loopholes in this book, but the writing does make up for it to a certain extent, atleast enough for me to finish the book in three days. Well done, Kiera!
The Characters: The only character that stands out instantly is America, our protagonist. She is witty, sensible, strong, and not at all stereotypical–she’s the kind of character I would put on my favorites list–except that because of the poor plotting, her character does not go through any sort of development during the entire book. It’s a shame really cause America is the kind of YA heroine who could change things, who could do something good, who could be awe-inspiring, but because of the lack of events and story development we don’t really get to see much of her potential.
Same goes for Maxon. I had a bit of a struggle warming up to him…but I did warm up to him eventually…so much that he’s officially my most recent YA crush. However, he too did not get any character arc, and by the time I finished the book whatever warm, fuzzy feelings I had for him kind of died down a bit.
The rest of the characters were not only a cast of cliches but they also lacked depth. I couldn’t help but feel like they were intentionally shown to be dumb and selfish just so America could look better.
The Plot: And now comes all the reasons why this book did not set well with me. The caste system is obviously central to the plot, and yet the writer chose not to focus too much on it. Sure, we did get to see the distinctions between each castes and the cruelty of it all, but it was mostly just vaguely alluded to and there wasn’t simply enough of it. It was something that was mentioned only in conversations; we were told how unfair the castes were, but we didn’t really see it.
What we did see was 34 girls in pretty dresses trying to win the jackpot…ahem, sorry, I meant Maxon’s heart…and another one bouncing back and forth between two guys.
No, I’m not choosing you,or him. I’m choosing me.
You better keep your word, America. I’m counting on you.
The other problem with the plot is that it is not at all well thought out. No one seems to know what the rebels really want, the palace is in dire need of an upgrade in security, oh and get this: nobody owns a history book–the only history they know are the stories that were passed down to them over the generations…orally.
The Ending: Huge disappointment. Seriously. I don’t necessarily need a cliffhanger to want to read a sequel, but the ending of The Selection was too abrupt and it simply did not tie the whole story together.
Final verdict? If you’re looking for a light, fluffy read with a great ship to fangirl over, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that actually sends a meaningful message…don’t even bother.
The only saving grace of this book is the quality writing and the interesting protagonist. The plot, or should I say, the lack of plotand the ending, ruined this book for me. Here’s to hoping the second book will be better.
Coming soon: The Elite (The Selection#2) by Kiera Cass