Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia
Publication Date: May 6th 2014
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
“Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.”
With only four girls the end of the competition draws near. When America was selected she never dreamed that she’d want to win the selection, much less Maxon’s heart. Now that she’s in love she has to play the game more seriously, but being a good princess is difficult when she wants to right every injustice she sees. Will she be able to hold on to Maxon if she causes more problems?
Just like The Selection and The Elite, The One is impossible not to enjoy despite several things that could have been done better.
America still really doesn’t grow as a character. She doesn’t learn anything and all her problems solve themselves. It’s hard to root for America when every decision she makes is so obviously stupid. Worse is that a few characters shift in personality to make them sympathetic, which is maybe a little better than the big baddies just being evil out of malice.
The ending is what really crushed the series down to average. It was rushed. Not quite on the level of some other awful endings (I’m looking at you, Mockingjay) but it’s definitely not satisfactory. The tension between Maxon and America and the threat of Maxon’s father are all solved by a sudden disaster. America has never been particularly good to Maxon but that’s okay because love means you should let yourself be walked all over.
The caste system and the rebels are left in a sort of vague probably fine state. In less than thirty pages the big baddies the book was building up to are mostly dealt with. It’s never entirely clarified, but it’s okay because we get a happy ending. A lot of the space in the middle that was used to drag the story out should have been dedicated to the ending.
The biggest issue that holds this novel back is that most of the problems between America, Aspen and Maxon could be solved in one conversation. If America would shut up and listen to Aspen, or stop fabricating things in her head about Maxon then there would be no plot. If the three of them sat down and had a two-page discussion then the book would be over. It’s ridiculous how long miscommunication is the main plot issue because why can’t people who are in love just talk to each other for once.
America is an unlikable protagonist. The love triangle was unnecessary. The plot with the rebels was beyond rushed, just as the ending itself was. But I enjoyed it. There was action, pain, and romance. Perhaps this book is a bit of a guilty pleasure but if nothing else Cass has told and exciting story (though it might have fit in a single book without the added fluff).