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.
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
I continue to really dig this series. The writing is simplistic, the names are hard to take seriously America, and Aspen especially, and the plot is basically The Bachelor, with a dystopian bent to it, but it is good, quick read fun, through and through. Cass isn't going to win any awards for this series, but she's got a crowd pleaser on her hands, without a doubt, and I can't wait to see how things go down in the final book, The One.
In book two we get considerably more in-depth background on Maxon and some of his more defining personality quirks are explained. This was exactly what I needed to keep the story ticking for me, as much The Selection was very surface oriented on all characters except America. As Maxon becomes less of an enigma Aspen becomes more and more unappealing as a secondary love interest, and I'll be interested to see if Cass will blow that relationship up before the end of the series. I was just so sure that Celeste was somehow going to out America and Aspen in The Elite and I was a bit disappointed they continued to get away with their clandestine meet ups. Especially since America decided at the end of The Selection to really give Maxon a full chance.
The dystopian element, such an underdeveloped aspect of the first book, also became much more fleshed out in book the second. I'm not sure Cass is taking it anywhere shocking, but I was glad she delved a bit more into the creation of America's world, and gave air time to the rebellion with small possible insights into what they're trying to achieve. As enjoyable as a page turning love story is, it's nice to see she's introducing more depth to it all.
Gourmet reading The Selection novels are not, but what they are, commercial fast reads, are done well. Cass knows her audience and provides exactly what they need to keep them flipping pages with alarming speed. Kudos to her for improving upon this style with her second book. So next time you're looking for something fun to keep you occupied during a long flight, or a particularly unpleasant family gathering, know you can't go wrong with this series, they'll keep you happily entertained. And if you can't get enough, then make sure you check out The Prince, Cass's short story from Maxon's perspective positioned to be read between The Selection and The Elite.
The Elite, by Kiera Cass
Published by Harper Teen, April 23, 2013