[REVIEW] The Selection

Series: the Selection #1
 Kiera Cass
 young adult, dytopia, romance
 April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

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 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. 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.
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Here's a confession, I never attempted to read The Selection because I was put off by its premise although I've never read the blurb before. I judge easily, I know but I tried to change that. I borrow The Selection from the library as part of my personal reading challenge.

The Selection is a mixture of what I expected and not expected from it. Here's what I expected:

  • Will be filled with nothing but romance! And annoying romance to top that!
  • Love triangle - I've come across the mention of Maxon and Aspen A LOT
  • So much physical romance going on - oh you know what I mean :P
  • Bitch characters just because of the competition.
  • Insta-love. Honestly.

Expectations aside, I have to tell you that I enjoyed The Selection although not to the point that I'm adding it to my favorite list and gush about it to everyone I see. Nope. But it's good enough that I'm highly encouraged to get the first three books for myself :) Let me talk about the book now.

The Selection is a dystopian novel with a world built on a fictional future. It's strictly formulaic - nothing new to it. There's a caste labeling them by numbers with One as the highest reserved for the royalty and those related to them. Along with this, the hierarchy defines their occupation - America, a Five, thrives on music since fives are for music and arts, while Aspen, a Six, is hired as helper.

Its world setting is something that's always a fascination to me. It may already be a cliche but it's something that always entertains me. Such castes or division of people are of course mixed with political aspects which is why I love them. The Selection, while seems to be romance-driven, did not shy from injecting politics to its story. It wasn't very highlighted though but there's enough foreshadowing telling me that it will be further explored in the next couple of books.

I LOVE America. She's not interested in The Selection but we all know she'll end up there. There's no excitement, believe me. But America's development throughout the story is quite interesting. I like how she ponders over things like: how much has staying in The Selection changed her?, or is she starting to really have feelings for Maxon? America is not one to you can fool and I like heroines like that. She's great as she is and she has confidence in herself.

Now let me talk about America's two love interests: Aspen && Maxon. Aspen is more of the 'childhood friend' kind of guy. He's nice and hardworking. He loves America that he's more than willing to breakdown the rules for her and visit he at certain nights. I like Aspen's determination and at the same time I like his pride. It makes me somehow realistic.

Maxon, on the other hand, is a very formulaic guy. He's a prince and he genuinely likes to help his people unlike the priorities of his father. He felt like I can throw him into the mixture of other really nice princes like Anden (Legend Trilogy) and Cal (Red Queen Series). Despite that I'm still purely Team Maxon on this one. I know America will choose him but why not? The development of their relationship was really great and it complimented well with Maxon's kindness.

The other girls were somehow divided as I expected. There were that obviously bitchy girls who'd do things to overthrow the others and there were those who're utterly nice. It's nothing but a very cliche thing to happen. Two girls that really stood out were Marlee and Celeste. Marlee is America's closest friend in The Selection but it seems that I don't completely know her. There was a nice relationship between the two of them yet at some point, I don't see genuine closeness to them. But perhaps it's because of the nature of the The Selection that I don't see Marlee completely opening up to America. Celeste, on the other hand, is the most serious and toughest competitor in The Selection. She's also the 'bitch' character in the story. In her own ways, she tears down competitors and America experienced it firsthand.

OVERALL, The Selection is a dystopian romance novel that really exceeded my expectations. It is, of course, filled with romance but it's not very overwhelming. It has a good flow and development which makes it bearable. There's a love triangle and it's not completely annoying (at some point, I get annoyed but I get over it). Physically is everything but normal is a romance-y novel but The Selection did not overdone it and I like it that way. Bitch character is present but completely bearable. She creates the occasional thrills but most of the times you really just wanna slap her in the face. And no, there's no insta-love. At least none, in my opinion. I like how America slowly develops her feelings for Maxon. And while I cannot completely say the same thing for Maxon, I like his consideration of America's feelings.

The Selection is certainly a good read if you're a big fan of romance. If not, it's still worth checking out if you're into dystopian novels. I'm definitely getting the next two books: The Elite and The One. I don't know about The Heir but most likely know as I've read disappointed reviews.

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What I Like: (1) the word - the hierarchy (I'm a dystopian fan, what can I say?), (2) America (I, unexpectedly like her), (3) Prince Maxon (even though I did say that feels generic, I'm still on Team Maxon, not because I know America will choose him but because he's him), (4) American and Maxon's relationship (because why not? I LOVE the development of their romance!), (5) May - did I even mention America's sister May? She's one of the best characters in the book!

What I Didn’t Like: (1) I just didn't feel so much for the characters (except for the romance part though). But this is more of my personal issue.


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