I have been eagerly anticipating reading The Elite ever since finishing The Selection a little while ago. I feel like my wait was rewarded as I really enjoyed The Elite! I decided to re-read The Selection for the purposes of writing a post and also to make sure the characters and story were fresh in my mind as I read the sequel.
In The Selection, America Singer is chosen as one of thirty-five girls to attend “The Selection” – a process by which the Prince will choose his bride / the next queen. (Think ‘The Bachelor’ in book form I suppose?). For most girls, this would be the dream – a chance to be a princess and to change her station in life. America only wants to be with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her. Pushed into entering, she is swept up in a contest that holds no prize she wants. America discovers that first impressions may not be what they seem, and Maxon might just be a prize worth fighting for. Despite the constant threats of rebel attacks, some catty other competitors, and her own confused heart. I am NOT a follower of the Bachelor, but I really liked this book. Set in a post-world-war-four era, Illéa is a relatively new country (encompassing North America), led by a monarchy. Society is divided into Eight Castes – and your usefulness to the founding government determined your place in society. It is an interesting way to divide society and results in a lot of unjust inequality. Few of the lower Castes make it into The Selection, and few will remain in the competition.
I liked this book a lot, despite myself. I still have misgivings about the whole Selection thing, but I liked America as a character – she’s feisty and has a temper and her indecision is understandable. I really like Maxon – a guy who is thrust into a somewhat awkward situation. He seems like a noble guy – compassionate and interesting. I also like Aspen, but feel he’s too prideful / emotional / impulsive. I am not a rule-breaker, and Aspen sometimes breaks more rules than I’m comfortable with. I would give The Selection a 4 / 5.
If you haven’t read The Selection then be warned: my description of The Elite will necessarily include some spoilers, since it is the second book in the series.
The Elite picks up where The Selection leaves off, with the competition narrowed down to six. America is still torn between Aspen (the former boyfriend) and Maxon (the Prince) and can’t seem to help bouncing between one and the other. She is pretty indecisive, and I can’t help but be a little frustrated by it. After begging for time and more time from Maxon, she finally seems ready to commit, only to be shaken by an unexpected plot twist. Her trust in Maxon is rocked and she goes back to being wishy-washy for a while. Time is running out, as Maxon must narrow down his choices in the face of increasing Rebel attacks.
And of course, the book leaves off without any real decision so things could go either way – Aspen or Maxon. I’m personally rooting for Maxon (and hoping that Aspen secretly falls in love with Lucy, one of her maids, just so he wont be lonely). I’m hoping that this love triangle can be laid to rest soon. The Rebel element adds to what might be a kind of annoying drama / angst-y type book (I’m not a fan of the Bachelor type show OR idea, which is funny because I do really like this series!).
I was more annoyed by America’s indecision in this book, but I still liked it just as well as the first so I’ll give it a 4 / 5 also!
There is one Novella out (The Prince) that is told from Maxon’s point of view and I can’t wait to read it! A second Novella (The Guard) will supposedly be published before the final instalment in this series: The One. I can’t wait for next year to read it!!!