Saturday, February 9, 2013

REVIEW: "THE SELECTION" (The Selection, #1) - by Kiera Cass


Title: “The Selection
Series: (The Selection, #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Won in giveaway
My star rating: 3/5

SUMMARY

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.

REVIEW

I can’t even begin to describe how disappointed I was that The Selection didn’t turn out to be the five-star read I was hoping it would be. I’ve been looking forward to reading it since forever. I won it in a giveaway and out of all the books I could choose for a prize, I chose this one. You can almost say my disappointment have thus been doubled as had I known that the first 40% of this book would be a carbon copy of The Hunger Games (which I loved, so by the way), I might’ve picked something else. But anyway, it’s really my own fault. I, as always, didn’t read the blurb and was enchanted by the absolutely gorgeous cover. 

Let’s get to the “why”.  Why was I so disappointed in the first 40% of this book? Well, simply because the endless similarities to The Hunger Games were a little too much. Yes, of course the author changed it slightly and added something minuscule here and there, but the similarities to THG were so overwhelming, I didn't feel she added anything new to capture my imagination in a way THG hadn't already done. Another 10% into the book the story reminded me a lot of Megg Jensen’s Anathema, but only because the palace scenes brought back memories of this terrific first book in the Cloud Prophet series.

Don’t even get me started on the main character. Ugh. Can you say drama queen? America’s woe-is-me treatment (due to her own preconceived ideas) of Maxon shortly after she met him for the first time was cringe-worthy. This of course is no reflection on the overall feel of the book, but only my personal dislike of characters who - when the world doesn’t revolve around them - turns it into an overly dramatic production. Naturally, once she gets over “the hurt” and “betrayal” and blah blah blah, of being dumped by Aspen, she becomes more likeable – that is, until she meets up with him again near the end of the book. I just couldn’t get a liking in Aspen either. Compared to Maxon, he seemed so…annoying. At times he was a bigger drama queen than America. It’s just so darn annoying always having to first suffer through the drama and angst of yet another love-triangle.  Heaven only knows why I’m a magnet for books with the he-loves-her-but-she-loves-someone-else theme in the plot. If it wasn’t so predictable, I wouldn’t be complaining about it. But nooooooo, most such books are all the friggin’ same. I can name half a dozen books that are the exception.

How do I warrant a three-star rating for this book? Simple, really. There are a lot of good things to be said about a book which keeps me reading way past my bedtime into the early hours of the morning. With character names such as America, Aspen, Tuesday, Tiny, Bariel, and May, not to mention the very imaginative last names Singer and Farmer, this is testament to the author’s creativity and original way of thinking. But it doesn’t end there. Stellar characterization of Prince Maxon made him the only character I liked from start to end. Even though I didn’t like America one bit in the first half of the book, I liked her a lot more once she and Maxon became steady friends. Their friendship was sincere and their easy dialogue made it feel real. I especially enjoyed the scenes in which they were together and they were being open with each other. Once the Hunger Games fanfic chapters came to an end and the author started introducing her own ideas into the storyline, it held my interest straight through the last half of the book to the cliff-hanger ending. The world building was done incredibly well and while inside the palace, I found the story to be a lot more enjoyable. The writing is flawless and engaging, and the story moves at a comfortable pace allowing the reader to indulge in every little detail from the beautiful dresses to the magnificent palace decor.

Although the hours spent reading The Selection was not a complete waste of my time, I’m not sure yet if I’ll read the second book in this series, but I’ll admit that I would love to see if America’s character will be a little more mature and less dramatic in the next installment, and of course who she’ll choose.




  
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2 comments:

Laura Vera said...

I feel that these books are very similar to the movie Mean Girls. That's why I never got into them, no matter how much I loved that cover.
And now that I know it has so much similarities to HG, I want to read it even less :P

Great review anyways!

Books 4 Tomorrow said...

Thank you for the compliment and your feedback, Laura. It is very much appreciated! :)