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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection

by Kiera Cass

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Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
I first became aware of this book while looking through the giveaways page. I wanted to read it so much that instead of waiting for it to come to the local library I went out and purchased it.

The cover art is beautiful. I enjoyed the book. It was a quick read, but I wasn't as excited with the way this book ended. I know that there is *hopefully* going to be another to follow it, but I wish the author hadn't dragged America's decision all the way into the second book.

I would say that the fact that this book came out during the height of the Hunger Games buzz is going to help sell this book. Now it isn't the same by any means, but I see definite similarities, girls entering a Selection process to become the princess, having to compete with other girls. Set in a dystopian land where rebels are attacking. Then the love triangle between America, Maxon, and Aspen. I'll be waiting for the next book to see how it all turns out.
( )
  PrescottKris | Jan 26, 2015 |
Ok it isn't the best book in the world. The writing is too simplistic; the story isn't even that unique. The characters and setting lacks depth. Despite all this things this book is SO ENTERTAINING!!! I couldn't put it down. I was really interested and I loved the love story aspect. This book is a quick book to read and if you are in the mood for a fun light read pick it up! ( )
  KatesReviews | Jan 24, 2015 |
Once again, I'm late to the party when it comes to a relatively popular book. I actually purchased this in May 2012, shortly after its release, but I've gotten to the point where I won't start a trilogy until the final book is nearing publication or already published. Otherwise, I forget a lot about the prior two books, and I usually end up having to re-read them to remember.

Hmm. So I'm not sure who thought that this was "The Hunger Games" (one of my favorite book series EVER) meets "The Bachelor." I've never watched an episode of "The Bachelor," but I vaguely know the premise, and this book is a heck of a lot more like "The Bachelor" than "The Hunger Games." It might be marketed as a dystopian YA novel, but I was hesitant to label it that on my own shelves (I ended up doing so, but it took me a while to commit). There are a few mild dystopian themes - a bizarre caste system that makes little to no sense, a monarchy in power instead of a democracy. the United States of America no longer existing (replaced now with the Kingdom of Illéa), some nameless rebels that seem intent on taking down the monarchy for no explained reason except they don't like the monarchy, etc. But when push comes to shove, I don't see much of a dystopian edge to this book.

It's probably because the world building is minuscule at best (this is my major problem with the Divergent series, as well). There's a random "history lesson" thrown into the middle of the book, which tries to explain to the reader, I suppose, what exactly went down to create Illéa, but I really think it muddles things up more than explains them. Other than that, the reader is supposed to just suspend all belief, rationality, and critical thinking skills and just believe whatever the author spoonfeeds the reader. Sorry, I don't work that way. I want to know why, why, why, and I want those answers to make at least some sense, thank you. But the answers in this book are few and far between, and to make them make sense would take some crazy suspension of logic.

Why, for example, is there a rigid caste system in the former USA? Granted, they are at least a few generations removed from a functional democracy, and apparently history is not the Kingdom of Illéa's strong suit (the "instructor" says, at one point, that history isn't something that should be studied but known - and apparently owning a history book about the USA is something, inexplicably, Not Allowed), but still, doesn't ANYONE remember what the United States was like before the Third World War (in which China invades the United States and makes the country its bitch)? Didn't grandmothers and grandfathers pass along stories of "how it used to be" to their grandchildren? Heck, America's family is kind of like the Illéa version of troubadours - don't they have ballads in their repertoire, ballads that are set in the past? No? Why not? The United States was a melting pot of ideas, with over two hundred years of democracy and individual rights, with people standing up for themselves. How does this get erased seemingly overnight? How are these ideas completely lost from the social "memory" of Illéa?

The caste system, at any rate, makes no sense. Even America's young brother, Gerad, hints at this. Gerad is born into the "artist" caste, Five, so he has to find some form of art he's good at eventually. But he's a typical kid, and he just wants to play ball and look at bugs. Why is it because some ancestor of his was good at art, it is assumed that all of that man's progeny will be good at art? Once again, welcome to the land of "this makes no bleeping sense."

And what do the other castes even DO? The Ones are apparently royals; the Twos and Threes are higher ups, but no one really explains what they DO (except for America making some aside that, since she is now a Three since she is part of the Selection, she'd like to be a teacher). What is the real difference between Twos and Threes? Fours work in factories and farms; Fives are artists/musicians/etc. Sixes are servants. Sevens...I'm not sure. I don't think this was ever explained, either. Eights are homeless. So there are three castes out of the eight that the reader has little to no knowledge about, and yet the caste system is Very Important! And if the caste system IS so important, WHY do they allow intermarriage between the castes (including the monarchs, hence the Selection in the first place) and people to "buy themselves up?"

And that leads, sort of, into the monarchy system itself. Apparently, kings and queens have come back into style BIG time since the takeover and collapse of the USA. I'm not sure why, except that it adds drama and excitement to the story for younger readers who don't really care about examining the story in depth. I mean, come on, this story is set in some vague future. Monarchies are dying out in the world today; most of those that do exist only do so as figureheads and not real leaders with real power. And yet the United States, born out of a struggle against an overbearing monarchy, with "no king, no monarchy" thrumming through the veins of the social conscience in America, somehow decided that, hey, maybe monarchy might work after all. Riiiiiiight. Please explain to me how this makes any sense at all. And apparently the former United States, now Illéa, isn't the only country that thought this was a good idea. The King and Queen of Swendway (what a name that is, haha - I assume it's some weird conglomeration of Sweden, Finland, and Norway?) appear to have power, and the royal daughters of Illéa are married off to other monarchs to cement the fragile peace between Illéa and those other countries. But Illéa doesn't take the chance to make more connections with their sons; instead, for some inexplicable reason except Because That Is The Way It Is, those sons marry into the "lower castes." Once again...why?

Well, it's not like the royals are all that smart in the first place; in fact, I think they're probably in the running for the Darwin Awards at some point in their lives. There are, presumably, two groups of rebels who keep trying to (and often successfully do) storm the castle - the Northerners, who are slightly more peaceful and less bloodthirsty, and the Southerners, who are there to kill, destroy, and rape. It isn't exactly clear how long America is in the castle during the book (several weeks), but she sees more than one rebel attack during this time. Damn, those are some mighty puny walls if they keep getting breached all of the time - so badly, in fact, that during the last attack mentioned in the book, the rebels are actually IN the castle and IN the Selected's rooms. So why hasn't someone gotten the bright idea of, oh I don't know, actually building a castle that does more than look pretty? They still have electricity - ever heard of an electric fence? How about building walls so high that they're almost unscalable? How about a moat filled with piranhas or something? Come on, feel free to get a little creative. Metal window shades are obviously NOT working, and neither are the plethora of guards running around the castle.

So, not surprisingly, Prince Maxon is rather an idiot. Part of that, I am sure, is the fact that he's kept in the relatively-easy-to-invade castle for most of his days and isolated from others - so much so, in fact, that he was apparently ignorant that some of the castes have it bad. I mean, geez, come on, you know that there is a WHOLE CASTE THAT IS HOMELESS (Eights), but he figures that they have enough to eat or something. Seriously, he's that dumb. How swoonworthy is that? He's also rather a moron when it comes to dating girls, but that's probably to be expected, since, once again, he's kept relatively isolated from others. In fact, America is his first kiss. So I can forgive him for being hopelessly naive when it comes to dating. As an aside, though, how skeevy is it that Prince Maxon keeps running around calling all of the girls "my dear" and smooching them? Ick. No thanks.

But what really grinds my gears when it comes to Prince Maxon is his insufferable attitude. Yes, he's naive. Yes, he's a royal, and so probably more than a little spoiled and pampered. But his search for a wife is horribly self-centered; he's only concerned about how she will fit into his world. He doesn't seem to care much about her, except that she must love him. And, heaven forbid, she actually has her own opinions! He does, actually, do something when America brings it up to him that there are people out there starving. But when she tries to tell him that Celeste is a viper in the grass, he goes off on America and tells her that he makes the rules around here, so she'd better watch her step. Seriously? I'd be packing my bag and telling him where to shove his attitude.

But Prince Maxon isn't the only one who comes off as a shade misogynistic; in fact, he's one of the "better" ones. Sigh. This whole world is solidly misogynistic. Girls can't have sex before marriage; if they're found out (by ratting, caught in the act, or pregnancy), they are often sent to prison (there's mention of this in the beginning of the book). And Aspen, America's love interest, is a turkey and a half. When America manages to save enough money to buy him a feast, he flips out and breaks up with her because he's the man and he's supposed to be spoiling her. No thank you, no "oh my god you are awesome," no "I love you because you did this for me," no "I am going to take this home to my sisters and mom so they can share in this too." Nope, he man, America woman, America bad. Ick.

But don't worry - America herself is rather insufferable as a character, so I didn't feel TOO bad for her. She is also quite self-centered, and she's one of those horribly cliched characters. She's sooooooo beautiful, but she gets mad when people tell her she is, because she really isn't! And she has suchhhhhhh a hard life (even though her family has a television set, electricity [most of the time], a way to make a living, usually enough food [and enough that she can pass on whatever leftovers remain to Aspen], tea with LEMON [she lives in the former Carolinas, so I am going to presume those are imported from another region], etc). She's also apparently really bad at math, because she seems to think that if she enters the Selection, she'll win. Her mother is also bad at math, because she thinks the same thing.

And what, exactly, is with America's name? The reader is told, right around the weird "history lesson," that the people of the United States of America didn't want to go back to that old name because it had a bad connotation. Or something. Once again, that's not well explained. So they picked Illéa, after a private citizen who helped them win the Fourth World War (don't ask...there really aren't any answers for you). So, why, then, would ANY mother name her child America if that is how the name is viewed in the new Kingdom of Illéa? That's like naming your kid something along the lines of "turdface."

I also don't care for America's attitude. She's a Five, and she loved a Six (who is a member of the servant class), but she seems to think that her maids, all Sixes, just live to serve her and the royal family. Which, I guess they do, but America seems to think that this makes them genuinely happy. Umm. Look, I work in a service-oriented career, and I cannot tell you how many times I have put on my Stepford Wife smile and mentally cursed most of the human race in my head. I am sure real maids would be the same way.

Also, the lack of diversity seriously sucks. There's one brief mention of one of the Selected having ties to New Asia (but it is not clear if she just KNOWS people, if she is related to someone, or what, and it definitely isn't clear if she's actually of Asian heritage or not), but other than that, everyone seems to be pretty damned white. Please. This is the former USA we are talking about, and apparently part of it is comprised of Hondorus and Nicaragua (and then, one could further assume, at least part of Mexico, because how hard would it be to have all of these random pieces of Illéa in North America without any connection at all to one another?). Why isn't there one girl of colour in the Selection? Is there racism as well as caste-ism in Illéa? Honestly, I wouldn't be too surprised at this point.

So, basically, if you can look over all of the glaring contradictions, plot holes, and contrivances, you might be able to enjoy this book. Maybe. Especially if you like boring princes, misogynistic servant boys, and plenty of pretty dresses. I gave the book two stars because I did end up finishing it, and I may, if drunk enough, finish the series at some point in my future. But it was a hard slog. I need something more substantial to read now. ( )
1 vote schatzi | Jan 17, 2015 |
Wow. This was so bad it's funny. No, seriously. I don't recommend you try it, but I may keep reading these books. ( )
1 vote IsaboeOfLumatere | Jan 14, 2015 |
America is chosen to compete for Maxon heart in the selection. She must say goodbye to everyone, including her boyfriend, Aspen. America started to go on a lot of dates With Maxon and she seemed to like him. Maxon started to kick girls out. The castle got attacked a lot and a lot of girls had asked to leave. in the end there was supposed to be 10 girls but there ended up only being 6 girls. America is one of them.
This book was amazing. I think all girls should read it. I gave it five stars because it was one of the best books I have ever read. I wish the book was mine so I could read it over and over again. now I need to move on to the next book, which I think will be great. ( )
  HaleyC.B4 | Jan 12, 2015 |
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When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic.  She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever.  The big hitch in her brilliant plan was me.  I didn't think I was a particularly disobedient daughter, but this was where I drew the line.
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The opportunity to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and pricelss 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, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
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"Sixteen-year-old America Singer is living in the caste-divided nation of Illea, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States. America is chosen to compete in the Selection--a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea's prince--but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her"--… (more)

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