by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
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.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is a Cinderella tale set in a dystopian world. This was my first read by the author and the gorgeous cover is what first drew me to it. The tale offers drama, romance, a love triangle, and suspense. Similarities to the popular television show the Bachelor and the novel Hunger Games extend only to the selection being televised by the nation and perhaps the hope of living happily ever after. This was a fun easy read that I consumed in a few hours.
When the tale begins we meet America Singer, a caste five, who is secretly in love with Aspen a caste six. America lives at home with her parents and siblings. They are all musicians and artists who barely scrape out a living by performing and selling their art to the upper caste. A letter arrives from the King and Queen announcing that a girl will be selected from among thirty-five of the kingdom’s eligible girls to marry Prince Maxon. The families of the contestants will be compensated and whether the girl wins or loses her caste and future will forever be changed. America‘s Mom is overjoyed at this opportunity for America. Stubborn, America wants no part in this, as she secretly plans to marry Aspen. Aspen encourages her to do enter. When her mother offers to allow her to keep half of her earnings, she jumps at the chance. After all only thirty-five girls will be selected. She feels confident she will not be among them. So of course, she is selected and the tale that unfolds is fascinating. Watching the girls be transformed and the length at which some of them were willing to go was fun to read. What started out as a means to help her family, gets a lot more complicated when America develops feelings for the prince.
The characters in the Selection were interesting. The protagonist America is at times very naive but overall she is strong willed, level headed and confident. She is kind and humble. These traits prevail throughout the novel. She never loses sight of who she is, where she came from and the plight of others. While all the other participants were trying to be who they thought the prince would marry, America remained herself and I found it refreshing. Aspen is a sweet young man, who is desperately in love with America and wants only the best for her. He pushes her away and then pulls her back. He struggles to deal with his conscience and his heart. Prince Maxon was delightful. I found him to be charming, brave, and compassionate. The love triangle will play a role in this series, and if I had to choose at this moment…I would have to say, “Team Maxon”. I am anxious to see how this plays out and look forward to reading book two. I adored America’s sister Max and I am hoping to get to know the Queen more. The contestants were unique and showcased every personality from the snob to the shy. I loved some and despised others. Their actions had me laughing and shooting daggers.
The world-building wasn’t unique but I enjoyed it none the less. The novel offered a light depiction of a dystopian society. It always amazes me how writers convert our society to some of the strictest, most oppressive times in history after a cataclysmic event. We are all familiar with caste systems and countries ruled by kings and queens. There is a conflict by outside rebels, and the caste system causes poverty. There are very strict rules about movement within castes and relationships. I did find the whole selection process interesting, and the back history of the wars that led to this current time in history.
Overall, The Selection was a delightful read. Cass’s writing style made the tale perfectly paced and easy to read. I recommend it to fans of romance and Cinderella tales. I have added book two to my reading list. Fans of the novel will be happy to hear that it has been picked up for a television series. William Moseley from the Narnia movies is slated to play Aspen and Ethan Peck who starred in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was cast as Maxon. The role of America will be portrayed by Aimee Teegarden from the hit TV series Friday Night Lights. The novel the Selection will be available in both paper and eBook formats on April 24, 2012. I will be watching for more from this author.