Sunday, February 9, 2014
I originally read the first book in this series, The Selection, about a month before I started this blog (so way back in August of 2012).
If you don't want The Selection ruined for you at all, I would recommend not reading this blog post as I'm going to give a break down of what I remember about The Selection right now. SPOILER LAND.
The Selection is the world building book detailing the society that resulted from the different wars that plagued the Earth and a brief introduction to the nations that still stand. I found that aspect of the book very progressive.
Enter a girl named America who belongs to the fifth class and is a musician whose entire family plays for their money. She is in love with a boy from the sixth class (Aspen) who she meets with in secrecy and who she feeds and tries to look out for. Aspen breaks up with her just as she is chosen for the selection; a group of girls from all over the country that all compete for the Prince's heart. It's basically like the reality show, the bachelor, with more politics and royalty involved. They also partake in different activities to slowly eliminate the girls from the running of being the country's next princess and eventual queen.
So. America is whisked off to the castle to live like royalty and while she's there, she discovers that her former boyfriend Aspen, is now a member of the guard (which boosts him up to the second class and a much higher standing for life and enables him to send money home to his family). She also begins an intricate romance of sorts with the Prince while her heart waffles between the Prince and Aspen.
America is also thrust into learning proper etiquette and everything that would be expected of her should she become the Prince's bride. She has a lot of misgivings about becoming a princess and laughs off the notion of her becoming a princess due to the outstanding nature of some of the other girls. Then she's present for an attack from the rebels and she begins to understand the political atmosphere of the country right now and what she would be taking on.
The system seems to be breaking.
My disclaimer going into The Elite, is that I'm not reading the series for the romantic aspects of the book. The stuff between America/Prince/Aspen is kind of boring to me. I'm much more interested in seeing the Prince come into his own as he begins to partake in more ruler responsibilities. I'm way more interested in seeing the political climate between the monarchy and the rebel forces than about the love.
But there's a whole lot of love questioning/concerns/general derpiness from America (which is still half an atrocious name I believe because it's also the name of a country but that country doesn't really exist anymore and @_@ NAME!).
Now, an amazon summary for The Elite, "Kiera Cass’s The Elite is a must-read for fans of dystopian fiction, fairy tales, and reality TV. This sequel to The Selection will enchant teens who love Divergent and The Bachelor.
In America Singer’s world, a bride is chosen for the prince through an elaborate televised competition. In the second book of the Selection series, America is one of only six girls left in the running. But is it Prince Maxon—and life as the queen—she wants? Or is it Aspen, her first love? The Elite delivers the adventure, glamour, political intrigue, and romance readers of The Selection expect, and continues the love triangle that captivated them." AMAZON LINK OF BARELY A SUMMARY
....so it was next to impossible to ignore the love triangle in this book. America is basically still in the competition because the Prince is in love with her, but she doesn't know if she loves him back completely. Aspen is still confusing her and trying to be like, "I was a fool, come back to me" and America goes all, "Aspen will always be there for me," but forgets that he was the one who dumps her in the first place most of the time.
I'm going to ignore the love stuff anyways and talk about the political shenanigans in this book.
I'll give warning before I delve into spoiler land.
So the book begins with America learning more about the Prince and her family being invited to the castle for the Prince (whose name is Maxon by the way; it seems silly so I keep calling him Prince) to meet. America is thrilled and there are more competitions.
Where it took a turn for the worst/interesting is when America wakes one morning and is put into a black dress. The maids will not tell her anything that is going on and she is escorted to where her other competitors should be...except they are short one.
The girls are escorted out onto a platform in front of the kingdom where the sixth contestant is with the guard she fell in love with (this girl also happens to be America's closest friend). A girl disobeying or giving herself to another man who is part of the selection is put to death by law (so is the man). However, the punishment is slighter as they are caned (she on her hands and the man on his back) and removed from their class titles to the lowest class (8). America begins to protest and tries to leap from where she is to her friend to prevent the horrible caning but she is restrained and removed from the stage.
After she is taken away, one of the other contestants gets into a verbal fight with her which turns ugly and they end up getting into a physical fight. While America is in the hospital, her family is sent home.
TO SPOILER LAND.
...in a sense.
I'm only going to talk about a few aspects of the book rather than the whole book because that's what interests me.
At various points in the book there are rebel attacks where they get into the palace and everyone has little secret spaces to hide in and wait out the attacks (aside from the guards who fend them off). During one of these attacks, America runs into the woods to hide (as they were outside) and climbs a tree. She hides in the tree, gets spotted by a rebel who merely looks at her and grins, before dashing off. During this situation, America noticed the rebels were hoarding books.
At some point in the book, the Prince showed her a very secret stash of books and America took one to read; it was the founder of the country's diary. America kind of peruses through it periodically and decides the author is kind of a terrible person, but also discovers he put the class system into place. The Prince also swore her to secrecy about the secret spot and the book itself...but she totally tells her Father about it.
At another point during the book, America has to come up with a philanthropy project to help the country and she decides that getting rid of the class system would be awesome and tries to tote out this diary but of course the king is in uproar over it and cuts the feed, etc.
CLEARLY, THE BOOK IS IMPORTANT AMERICA. There seems to be a bit of deliberate dumb from America when she doesn't fully comprehend the situation she's in or the consequences or how other's might perceive it.
Yet she seems to be learning which is what I look forward to most in the next book.
I'm really hoping to see how all these puzzle pieces work together and how everything works out with the country.