Authors: Keira Cass
Series: The Selection #1-3
Date Published: May 5, 2015
Edition: Box edition
35 girls. 1 crown. The competition of a lifetime. This beautiful box set includes the first three books in Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, as well as a bonus epilogue to The One, now available in print for the first time!
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The chance 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 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.
After World War Four, the United States of America has fallen. To keep enemies at bay and to free themselves from labor force under the management of the new government of China (with former USA being The American State of China), eventually, (as the way I see it) the North and South Americas had united to form the country of Illéa, named after Gregory Illéa the last president of USA who have fooled the entire 2 continents that led him into forming a monarchy government so he may reign as king.
The Eights are street laborers (or the homeless), the Sevens domestic workers, the Sixes could be on-call helpers. The Fives comprised of artists like painters, music performers (not concert divas) and photographers but still, they're struggling in life. The Fours are only a "little" bit elevated (the entire series implied Class Four is still a struggling class) even though some of them own a chain of restaurants or hotels.
The Selection refers to the tradition of the process as to how the crown prince is to select his wife. Thirty-five young women are collected across the entire country of Illéa to temporarily live in the palace as the prince gets to know each one of them and boot those he doesn't like (think of reality series The Big Brother House and Bachelors/Bachelorettes) until he finally comes to a decision as to whom he's finally going to take to be his wife.
This is a very unlikely series to read. Overall, the series feels too shallow to me. I don't know what dragged me into finishing the first book, most of all, the entire series. But for sure, it was due to curiosity: To whom the female protagonist, America Singer, will end up with. That and the fact that the author has such an engaging narrative.
Yes, we're not following the crown prince, rather we're following America (in the first-person perspective) in the Selection process and her supposed emotional struggle (because I didn't feel it, or maybe that was just me).
To me, there wasn't that much of a plot but the author was able to draw me in despite the lack of emotional connection. Her writing style is that good.
The romance was very sloppy. There's no definite driving force for the female protagonist to end up with either the 2 love interests in the story—the crown prince Maxon or her poor-ex-boyfriend-turned-class-Two-soldier Aspen. Emotions should have been enough driving force but as I said, I didn't feel any. Rather, what I was interested was the nationalistic aspect as expected of any dystopian series.
What's very unbelievable in this series is the premise in which out of the millions of books available today, nobody except for the Ones have access to them. Computers and gadgetry are even very limited (from the Ones to the Threes). Seriously, does this reflect that Americans, left on their own with a destroyed government, will not be able to create things? And what happened to the rest of the books?
I understand the labor force in China, and thus, their access to technological blueprints that they could imitate almost all forms of technology in inferior quality. But other countries in Asia even without some blueprints are still able to create technology based on other countries' technology. It's just very lousy in this series that Americans in general couldn't create things because the government has blinded them. Gullibility at its finest, and therefore, very implausible.
Just like by the rule of thumb, the higher the struggle of a place, the more the presence of illegal activities. Without access to materials needed for creating certain technologies, surely, there will be smuggling. But it seems like there's not much the series could offer.
As a dystopian story, there will always be factions involved. There will always be rebels who are against the new form of government. So in this book, there are two rebel groups—the pacifistic Northern rebels and the destructive Southern rebels.
The rebel attacks are what will keep you on your toes as they will sometimes turn bloody when Southerners are involved (if you skip romance or the lack thereof). And you'll be rooting for any progressive change for the country of Illéa and the role of America in achieving that.
The narrative of the first book was engaging enough that I was able to sit through it despite the implausibility of the world-building of the story. Still, until the third book, the romantic aspect was not riveting. It's just curiosity that propelled me to finish the series even though it's obvious as to whom America Singer will marry in the end.