Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopian
Publication Date: April 24th 2012
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”
Thirty-five girls are given the chance to woo Prince Maxon and be the future queen. America Singer is nowhere near as excited as the other thirty-four. She never wanted to be selected. America knows who she’s in love with and it certainly isn’t some stuffy prince. As the selection continues, however, America begins to discover that Maxon isn’t at all what she thought. But is there even time for romance to develop when the rebel attacks on the palace are becoming more frequent and effective?
The Selection was an absolute joy to read. Cass builds a unique and complex world simply. She manages to slowly insert new details without making anything convoluted or ridiculous. Often worldbuilding is too heavily concentrated in the beginning of the book, or worse, too sparse for the world to make sense. Cass has neither of these problems. Illéa is interesting and rich without weighing the book down. The caste system is particularly interesting to learn about.
Prince Maxon and America are interesting characters. They do veer to the goody-two-shoes side a little heavily, but it’s perfect for a lighthearted read. They’re also fairly simple, and at times America is frustrating. Unfortunately, most of the other characters have very few traits. Celeste is a classic faux-sweet mean girl. Marlee is friendly (although there might be something deeper hinted at), Tiny is ladylike and that’s just the girls who are more in the main cast. Several of the girls don’t get any characterization at all. Thirty-five was an ambitious number and readers barely ever hear about a majority of the girls. It’s a blessing that they’ve been cut down so that Cass will have a chance to further develop the final few. The worst character, by far, is Aspen.
Of course, there had to be a love-triangle. The love-triangle could have easily been dropped from this book. It was good to see America dealing with heartbreak and conflicting feelings after the initial break-up but having it continue and resurface just makes her hard to sympathize with. Aspen himself is a classic broody boy. He loves America, and she loves him. This is not enough. Aspen sabotages himself by being entirely ridiculous and then changes his mind. The book would have been far better off if America had let him go and if he had stayed gone.
The issues are mostly nitpicking. The Selection is one of those books you’ll breeze through, not realizing how many pages you’ve devoured. It’s more of a marshmallow than a fondue. It’s light, fluffy and easily enjoyable, but not a book you should look to for any real drama or weight.