Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: The Selection

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.     Quoted from Goodreads
As a huge fan of this most recent season of The Bachelorette, I was more than ready to read a book whose inspiration did seem to come from reality TV's The Bachelor.  I found that I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoy such TV drama, and for many of the same reasons.  

The dystopian world of The Selection was very interesting, and one of the book's stronger suites.  Based on a caste system, one's entire life's prospects are determined by what caste number you are born into.  1's are royalty, 2's are the super-wealthy, all the way down to the 8's, who are the dross of society.  In Cinderella-like fashion, our heroine, America, is a 5, poor enough to identify with all the common-man's plights, yet privileged enough that she is educated and hygienic.  Perfect for lots of social commentary, yet the book was surprisingly non-preachy, merely letting the story lead you to draw your own conclusions.  There's nothing quite like getting hit over the head time and time again by an author's own political or social agenda, and I am grateful that Kiera Cass used a feather as opposed to a sledge hammer.

As far as the conflict goes, the book remains largely stereo-typical.  You've got your typical love triangle (Team Maxon vs. Team Aspen), though to the author's credit, her heroine does handle the situation in a surprisingly mature and reasonable fashion, leaving you admiring her rather wanting to spoon-feed her Midol the entire time.  The one exception to this is the oh-so-classic scene where girl-is-jerk-to-guy-and-guy-finds-it-irrisistable.  But really, isn't that part of a typical female fantasy?  It's almost a staple in a book such as this. 

My greatest disappointment of the book was its climax.  Wait. I mean lack of climax.  I kept waiting for something big to happen, and found myself saying, when I finished the last page, "That's it?"  Then I realized the previous chapter's drama was the climax.  However, if it takes hindsight to recognize what was supposed to be a big moment, there is obviously something lacking.  It seems to me that the author is saving her big moments for the next book, and I sincerely hope she delivers enough to make up for the fact that I wasn't given much to hold me over.  

All in all, the book was a good 3-star read.  I categorize it as fun, light-hearted fluff, and as long as you know you're picking up cotton candy, you will thoroughly enjoy the tale as it unfolds.  

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