Title: The Selection
Series: The Selection, #1
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Length: 336 pages | 8 hours 8 minutes
Source: Borrowed from the library
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.
The Selection follows an interesting concept of a post economic-collapse (and invasion) America that has separated into a caste system that determines median income and career path. While I found the post-war premise weak (would’ve been more believable if it were a smaller country, with fewer resources and technology available), the caste system was plausible. And I found America a believable character (honestly, given the obvious- that as the narrator she’ll win the selection somehow, I did not expect that). Most of the other girls in the selection were flat and one-dimensional, but then again, we’re clearly not supposed to care about anyone but America in this story.
Other things I found annoyingly weak: the rebel attacks and mysterious “what are they looking for” that everyone agrees is mysterious but nobody does anything directly about; the love triangle, which is utterly pointless; shallow characters, which serve more as plot points than anything else; the idea that despite sustainable infrastructure for things like planes, there’s no hint of a social support system.
Other things I enjoyed: Maxon being realistically awkward, given his lack of exposure to other people his own age; Aspen’s frustrated pride and general teenage male stupidity; not every caste being predictably “good” or “bad” in attitude; the concept of communal economy that the people understand more than the royalty does; that the primary relationship between Maxon and America is one of friendship not swoony silliness.
I listened to the audiobook, and certainly part of this was the poor editing of that. Seriously, not even a fraction of a pause when hours and days passed in the narrative, which was seriously disorienting.
Overall, I won’t be continuing the series, but it wasn’t a bad book. Just didn’t engage me enough to keep going.