I’m not going to lie, one of the reasons I read this series is because of the covers. They’re absolutely gorgeous.
The series revolves around a girl named America Singer, who is one of 35 young ladies chosen for “The Selection,” which is a competition where the girls must compete to win Maxon, the Prince of Illéa’s, heart. He eliminates the girls he doesn’t have a connection with and when there are two girls left, he must propose to one. It’s exactly like The Bachelor. It’s just, set in the future.
The Selection is a grand event occurring when the Prince comes of age. It is televised. Hundreds of girls apply and it is a great honour to be chosen as one of the 35.
However, our protagonist, America Singer is not happy to be chosen at all. The reason is that she already has a boyfriend. She can’t however tell her parents about him because he is of a lower caste. And lower caste marriages were sort of frowned upon.
The series proceeds as America goes to the palace for The Selection and realises maybe being in the competition wasn’t as bad as she imagined it to be. Prince Maxon isn’t as horrible as she’d imagined. In fact, she starts to enjoy his company quite a bit . . .
That’s all for the non-spoilery portion, read on if you’ve read the book, or just want to be spoiled for some reason.
I give this series a 3.5 out of 5. It’s okay-ish. Some parts I liked and some I disliked. They’re quick reads though – you’ll definitely be flying through them! I’d recommend this to people who like dystopian novels. But don’t go in to this book with too high expectations! It isn’t terrible but it isn’t perfect either.
On to the discussion:
Was it just me or did the fact that The Selection carried out into three books bother anyone else? I thought it’d be like in The Hunger Games – the Games in book 1 and then the focus shifts onto the government and how Katniss tries to overthrow them! The fact that all three books deal with the same competition was a little annoying – nothing very drastic really happened. I felt like all three books could have been smushed into one.
The world building in the first book was great and I liked the Southern and Northern rebel concept. But we never see their conflict being resolved. Yes, the Northern rebels played a significant part in the third book and also kind of became allies with Illéa but what about the Southern rebels? Did they continue attacking after the caste system was removed? And did the Northern Rebels join Illéa? WHAT HAPPENS?!
I found the caste system in the book very interesting. It reminded me of the old Indian caste system where people were assigned castes by the work that they did and the children of the breadwinner also had the same caste. Intercaste marriage was frowned upon. Particularly into lower castes. Lots of history class memories!
Can I just add that for so many Rebel attacks to happen in a palace, you would have thought they’d have tightened the security buuuut no.
America’s father’s death was the most anticlimactic thing ever. I thought he’d been murdered for being a rebel. I also wanted more of an insight into Kriss’ role as a rebel. Was she really in love with Maxon or was she just doing her job?
Let’s talk about America. I sympathised with her in the start, having to leave Aspen and go to the palace. She was genuinely disappointed. But as the series progressed, I repeatedly got annoyed with her and her indecision on which boy to choose. Like Aspen said, she was having her own mini Selection! What frustrated me was in the scene in the balcony when it was raining, that was the first time she admitted to being in love with Maxon. But for some reason, she didn’t tell him! Another thing that made me want to stab her was when she got mad at Maxon for spending time with Kriss. The thing is, it’s his Selection. He had to talk to other girls. He needed to get married, whether it was with America or Kriss. Her accusations of him spending time with Kriss were unfair seeing that she had her tongue down Aspen’s throat every time they were alone.
All said and done, there were some times when I really admired America. Like when she went to save Marlee from her beating. Also when she freed the “criminal.” I liked how she understood Celeste in the end and didn’t hate her – she sat and listened to her problems.
Moving on to Maxon. I loved Maxon from the start. He was understanding, kind, benevolent. He really loved America. He cared about his populace. The fact that his father used to beat him up was very sad. I don’t believe that the Queen didn’t know about it – she must have chosen to be oblivious. He was so patient with America. Every time she said she needed time, he gave it to her. He was very much in love with her from the start I think he has an America moment in the end when he sees her with Aspen and says a bunch of mean things to her. They got married in the end so I guess they resolved everything.
Aspen was a bit of an idiot. He should have known that after breaking it off with America, she’d move on.
but no – he must keep pining for her attention forever. The fact that he risked his and her positions in the palace worried me. Had they been caught together, they’d have been given a death sentence. If he really loved her, would he have risked getting both of them killed just so that he could be with her? I don’t know, I don’t understand him.
I felt like the ending of The One was very abrupt. Everyone dies – Celeste, The King, the Queen, lots of other people. We don’t see the rebels’ war being resolved, we don’t see a new Illéa, that really bothered me!
The epilogue to The One was very strange. Who gets their ex-boyfriend to walk them down the aisle?!
Overall, it’s a quick read. It isn’t very good but it isn’t terrible. The main issue I had was with America’s indecision, the rest of the story is quite good. For someone who wants a quick read, this is for you!