Friday, 29 May 2015

Book Review - The Selection by Kiera Cass | ★★★

America Singer is a five out of eight. That means she´s on the fourth lowest rank on Illéa´s, her country´s, caste system. Illéa is where the United States used to be and is now shaped by this futuristic society. America was born into the rank of artists and performers and has chosen to be a singer, playing the piano, violin and many other instruments. 

When the country´s prince comes of appropriate age, there will be a selection of his future wife and queen of Illéa. In the selection, 35 girls will participate to date the crown prince Maxon, and from all these girls, he has to choose one to marry. 
“Listen to me, kitten. Win or lose, you’ll always be a princess to me.” 
America is the third out of five children and she still lives at home with her parents and her two younger siblings. They struggle to make a living, but as the selection is announced, a new opportunity arrives to solve all of their problems. To her family´s disappointment, America refuses to enter because she´s in love with Aspen, a six, so one caste lower than hers. They have to keep their love a secret because of that caste difference but still hope for a joint future. Aspen suffers from guilt for not being able to provide for America, so he persuades her to sign up for the selection, so he knows America at least had a chance for a better life. Aspen is shocked and devastated when America is actually selected to take part in it.
“America Singer, one day you will fall asleep in my arms every night. And you'll wake up to my kisses every morning.” 
Her love to Aspen has to stop immediately, then America is instantly elevated to a Three and the terms of the selection include that she is now property of the royal crown and only there for the crown prince. Any flirting, dating or even writing love letters to another man will be considered treason and will be punished by death. 
“Do you think the ability to sleep in counts as a special skill?” I asked Dad, trying to sound torn over the decision. “Yes, list that. And don’t forget to write that you can eat an entire meal in under five minutes,” he replied. I laughed. It was true; I did tend to inhale my food. “Oh, the both of you! Why don’t you just write down that you’re an absolute heathen!” My mother went storming from the room.” 
Before the selection even starts, America becomes friends with Maxon and admits that she is there by accident. At the actual starting ceremony she makes a deal with him: He allows her to stay at the palace, so she could provide a bit for her parents and in return, she will be his friend and give him advice on the other girls. 
“I hope you find someone you can't live without.I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it's like to have to try and live without them.” 
“If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’re going to have to stop looking so lovely. First thing tomorrow I’m having your maids sew some potato sacks together for you.”  
When America sees that her true love Aspen was drafted and then transferred to the palace as a soldier (which makes him an instant Two if he survives his service), her new life gets thrown over and she has to be very careful. 

This Book is just fabulous! I don´t really like ´The Bachelor´ and even though this book is built upon the same concept, I just loved it. It´s all in there: A government which is oppressing the majority of the society, a handsome, charming and lovely prince who really cares about his people, a romance which shouldn´t be and another that some of the involved people don´t want to be, activists that want to overthrow the current reign, just everything. 

What I did like most about America was that she always remained true to the person she is. She had a very pleasurable way of observing the events and characters around her and when her inner struggles about Maxon and Aspen come to a max, it all was very believable and relatable. 

I really can´t say much negative about this one, the only thing is that the story was foreseeable. In the end it didn´t bother me that much, because it still is a beautiful and cute story.

I would definitely recommend reading it, even if you don´t like ´The Bachelor´. I already finished reading the second and the third book of this series including the novellas ´The Prince` and´The Guard`, a review of  book 2 and 3  will be posted soon. Please let me know if you want the attendant novellas included, separate or not reviewed.