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Books 37-39: The Selection, The Elite and The Prince by Kiera Cass

Book 37: The Selection (The Selection #1).
Author: Kiera Cass, 2013.
Genre: Young Adult. Dystopian Future. Romance.
Other Details: Paperback. 327 pages.

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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. - synopsis from author's website.

This novel and series can be summed up as the love child of The Hunger Games and the TV show The Bachelor, though with less bloodshed. The idea of a young commoner becoming a royal bride also has some resonances with 'The Princess Bride, though without the humour or a clear Tru Wuv. Still I was fond of America Singer from the opening pages, admiring her determination to better her family's situation in a world in which social classes have become rigid. The process of how the former North America ended up as a monarchy was a little vague though hopefully more will be revealed.

After completing the book I looked at the ratings and reviews and it seems to be one of those Marmite novels that people seem to either love or hate with little middle ground. I found myself in the first camp as this proved something of a guilty pleasure and perfect light fare to curl up with on a very rainy and cold January afternoon.

Book 38: The Elite (The Selection#2).
Author: Kiera Cass, 2013.
Genre: Young Adult. Dystopian Future. Romance.
Other Details: Paperback. 326 pages.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea. America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide. - synopsis from author's website.

More intrigue and romance now that the field has been slimmed down to six young women competing to be chosen as crown princess. I was pleased that a little bit more history and politics were included. At times though I was rather frustrated by America's uncertainty over her feelings for Maxon and Alpen. Yet I had to ask myself as to whether I was any different at age 17? Overall, this proved a fast, fun read and I adore the cover art.

Book 39: The Prince (The Selection #0.5).
Author: Kiera Cass, 2014.
Genre: Young Adult. Dystopian Future. Romance.
Other Details: Paperback. 60 pages.

Before 35 girls were chosen to compete in the Selection... Before Aspen broke America's heart... There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life. Step inside Prince Maxon's world in this Selection novella, which opens the week before the Selection begins, and follows Maxon through the very first day of the competition. - synopsis from Goodreads.

This novella came as part of The Selection box set I ordered. It gives Maxon's perspective on the upcoming Selection as well as his first meeting with America and a few of the other young women. It was a quick pleasant read and did give some insight into how rigged the whole Selection actually was.

Kiera Cass' Book Page - there are links to extra content for The Selection and The Elite.
Tags: alternate history, dystopia, romance, young adult
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