The Elite by Keira Cass

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013

3 OUT OF 5 STARS

“It turns out I’m absolutely terrible at staying away from you. It’s a very serious problem.”

The competition is more vicious than ever with only six girls left. America knows that she can easily win Maxon’s heart, but she’s not so certain that she can handle the role of princess. The fact that Aspen, her childhood sweetheart, is working at the palace only complicates things further. America has to make a decision and she’s running out of time.

The Elite is a fast-paced roller coaster of emotions. Once you get started it’s impossible to stop reading. There are so many huge events in this book but there is one that actually shocks me and really stood out. It was heartwrenching. The Selection created a world and characters, The Elite gives their actions consequences and adds weight to the series.

Of course, most books aren’t perfect. I find myself still at odds with the love triangle in this series. It feels like an immense waste of time. The plot was thrilling enough without Aspen. The Selection, the rebels, America deciding if she can handle the responsibility – brilliant. America stringing both Aspen and Maxon along for the entire book? Not so brilliant. One chapter she’s swooning over Maxon certain she’ll be his, the next she’s in love with Aspen again because he’s all she can trust. It’s frustrating.

The love triangle also makes America far less likeable as a character. While it’s reasonable for her to be enraged about her caste or about lower castes being ill-treated it isn’t the same about whining because two boys love her nearly unconditionally. The number of times America does vastly hurtful and unacceptable things and is almost immediately forgiven is ridiculous. Aspen should have been left at the beginning of the first book. America would have been more sympathetic and the plot would have been much stronger.

Cass has created a wonderfully interesting world, several fantastic characters and the Bachelorette meets Hunger Games style plot is a stroke of genius. Unfortunately, America’s indecision – while it doesn’t destroy the book – keeps it from being as strong as it might have been. Love triangles can be done well, this one just isn’t. No one changes who they love on a daily basis, it makes America seem shallow and lacking the intelligence she’s meant to have.

I immensely enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t quite as strong as the first. Hopefully in the next book America makes up her mind and gets back to being a character readers can root for.

BUY THE BOOK

Read this if you’re a fan of: The Hunger Games

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