The Selection by Kiera Cass Book Review

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I mentioned this book a while back in my Books I Want To Read post, but I only got around to trying it this summer whilst I was on holiday. I noticed it on the shelves of my local library and knew I had to pick it up, despite hearing mixed reviews about it. My aim was to broaden my horizons and read a book that wasn't fantasy, dystopian or science fiction, which are my most-read sub-genres in young adult fiction. This, however, didn't go to plan as this novel ended up being set in a dystopian world, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless.

"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."

This book follows the idea of a country called Illea, which was formed from America, being split into eight different sections known as castes. America, who is in the fifth caste, is given the chance to join the selection, where she could become the wife of Prince Maxon and automatically be promoted to the first caste. However, America doesn't want to be involved in this and is secretly in love with Aspen, who is of the sixth caste. After America is chosen to be involved in the selection, she must battle it out to become the future Queen of Illea, when she's not even sure if that's what she wants herself.

The characters in this novel were incredibly fleshed out, especially America, Maxon, Aspen and the Singer family. Although I really dislike the name choice for the main protagonist, America started out as a really interesting and persistent character. Although she broke a few rules, she stood up for what she believed in and was really independent. However, throughout the story I found that she became really ungrateful and miserable, which sometimes happens in books as the author tries too hard to make the main character appear strong-willed.

My only concern with the characters in this book was that there were so many new people being introduced. From the thirty-five girls in the selection to the maids and the guards, there were a lot of names to keep track of and therefore people that I got confused between. All of these extra, less important characters were quite vague and often only appeared for a few pages, leaving me wondering what happened to them. I would've preferred it if there were fewer characters in the book, with all of which being more developed, as this would've allowed us to connect more with them.

The setting of this book definitely had a lot of potential and could've been developed a lot further than Kiera Cass did. There was a bit of a Hunger Games and Divergent vibe to it, with all of society having different ranks, much like the districts and factions mentioned in the other novels. Although the book didn't have to share much about the setting, since the narrator didn't know much about it, I felt like there were lots of gaps that could've been explained by this, such as the reason why they get attacked by rebel groups or even simple things such as the appearance of the world. We aren't told anything about the religion, culture or social life that would've definitely added to the story.

There were some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed, with the wonderful concept being one of them. I'm pretty sure that most girls had the childhood dream of becoming a princess, so this novel is almost like a window to that world and a glance at that possible future. Although it was different to what I usually choose to read, I found it to be a great read and especially liked the fact that it wasn't cliche or your average girl-meets-prince story. I also loved hearing about the selection process so I was naturally quite disappointed towards the end when Maxon revealed that he would let all but six girls go home, as I would've liked it to go on longer.

On the other hand, I found that this book could be quite predictable at times, for example, I knew for a fact once I picked up this book that America would make it into the selection, and I could predict that she would be one of Maxon's favourites. Also, I would've preferred this novel to be longer and cover the entire selection process, rather than just a small section of it, as I felt like I was mistaken for thinking that I would find out who Maxon would choose by the end.

Overall, I thought that this was a really good book that I wasn't able to put down while I was reading it, which is why I finished it in only a few hours. Although it was a quick read, I felt like I was left with a strong desire to know what happens next and was really drawn in by the concept of the novel. However, I feel like if the first book of this series was dedicated to building up the history of Illea, introducing the characters and developing the relationships and castes further, with the second novel having a more detailed and thorough focus on the selection, I would've enjoyed it a lot more.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you liked it. I really enjoy writing book reviews, so I can definitely upload more in the future. Have a nice day and I'll see you on Wednesday with my new post.

Love from Daisy x

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