Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review: The Elite & Mini Review of The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens Books
Publishing Date: April 23rd 2013
Length: 323 pages
Keywords: YA fiction, romance, dystopian, competition, rebellion, monarchy
Source: Publisher

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.

Summary by Goodreads 

THE ELITE continues the contest for Prince Maxon's heart with six girls left in the race. The remaining girls in the palace are Celeste, Natalie, Elise, Kriss, Marlee and America and there will be many challenges and public interviews to learn more about each girl, her feelings for Maxon and her strategy to outshine the other girls. Don't only imagine tiaras and smiles, these girls can bite.

This sequel to THE SELECTION more or less follows a resembling scheme as Kiera's debut. Like the first book THE ELITE was a quick read. Towards the end the story even took a really surprising and welcome turn. One turn of events that I felt especially content with, because it added a new spin to the story and would open up many new perspectives for THE ONE. That Kiera Cass didn't strictly follow this new lead and made a backtrack in the end, left me a bit sour though. Of course now I'm hoping for THE ONE to be more offensive and present us with an even more curageous America than we've met in this book.

There was a nagging feeling, a constant suspicion I couldn't explain, about Maxon and the entire royal family that something wasn't quite right about them and the entire competition. One thing is for sure, the royals are even more conniving than any real girls of a competition could ever be. Don't expect them to be as helpless as you first thought.

The caste system is a thorn in every democratically-oriented reader's side. It's no wonder the resistance is growing steadily and it's acting more violently with each passing week. The rebels, North and South are agressive and the need to protect the girls and the royal family becomes more urgent. They start attacks that are extremely dangerous for everyone involved. Their movement and goals aren't transparent at all which poses as quite interesting since we've always supported the rebels' side in recent YA dystopians. I haven't read any other dystopian from the non rebels' perspective.

America becomes stronger, too and – I wouldn't have thought possible- even more emotionally confused than in the first book. But why has America to be so volatile? Things about Maxon's past are revealed that even I as a Team Aspen girl, couldn't but thaw a bit. But this love triangle is slowly starting to get on my nerves.
I am wondering if there can't be a trilogy with a love triangle, with the girl deciding whom she wants to be with in the second book so that we can actually enjoy a final couple interacting and growing together in the third book. That would be refreshing wouldn't it? America doesn't make that longed for final decision in THE ELITE, so we'll have to wait for THE ONE to find out what's in her heart and even more important how Kiera Cass intends to uproot the entire caste system and bring the resistance back in full force. I'll be awaiting THE ONE with high expectations.

1) of fortifying alliances and devious enemies
2) of uncovering the past
3) of royal party planning fun
4) of an unexpected turn of events
5) of stolen kisses

3,5/5 ***/* THE ELITE – Less fairy tale and more rebellious and combative than any real princess comptetion could ever be.

THE ELITE didn't send up as many sparks as THE SELECTION, because a more serious component is added to the story. The shiny facade of royal reign starts to crumble, friendships come apart and things- romantically on America's side and politically on the royal's side - get out of hand. It gets dangerous and also harder for America to stay on my good side if she continues her irresolute back and forth between Aspen and Maxon.

* Have you read THE PRINCE? It's the prequel to THE SELECTION. 

* Click here for an excerpt of THE ELITE. 

* Watch the THE ELITE book trailer

* For further information about Kiera Cass and her books visit www.kieracass.com

* Thanks to Harper Collins UK for sending me a copy of THE ELITE for review!

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.

Summary by Goodreads 

A prince and thirty-five girls who fight for his heart. What first sounds like a regular YA contemporary, fast proves that this princess' story is more on the darker side of royalty. By writing THE SELECTION Kiera Cass created a story more dystopian than contemp. The United States have been destroyed and people are divided by a caste system, that ranges from a 1 for the royal family to 8 for unemployed people who don't contribute to society. This promises to be a world building with a deeper running conflict potential to lure in many YA readers.

Prince Maxon is a beau, rich and most popular bachelor in the kingdom. So THE SELECTION sure has a love story. But it's not only about Maxon looking for a bride. It seems the prince has to compete for one of his ladies' heart, too. America is the girl in the middle of a love triangle. Prince Maxon is a gentle man, on the shy side and not the confident leader one expects him to be. So it was only natural girls would fall for America's first love, too. His name is Aspen and he is manly, confident and the gorgeous boy next door. The love story between America and Aspen really put a spell on me. He is America's first love and I loved to read about their tender and tentative feelings for each other growing into something shiny and beautiful. My heart ached as much as America's when they had to part and America left for the palace.

Once in the palace, America is a part of the competition. And the contest is what keeps THE SELECTION expectionally delightful. The girls have to master all kinds of challenges and public appearances. Fun and glee are guaranteed, because these girls don't always play fair. Expect tender moments as well as scenes that can fast escalate into a cat fight.

5/5 ***** THE SELECTION - Poofy dresses, sparkling dates with a prince and a dream life the palace. A very princess-like read!

THE SELECTION is a 2012 debut that filled a gap in the wide YA range. It has the romance and girly power of a contemporary and the disrupted world hinting at its dystopian character.

Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens Books
Publishing Date: June 7th 2012
Length: 327 pages
Keywords: YA fiction, romance, competition, rebellion, monarchy, love triangle
Source: Bought


  1. I still haven't gotten a chance to read this series but my co-blogger is a huge fan. I can't wait to read the first book as I see it was great for you too! :) Great reviews :)

  2. I too enjoyed the romance and the first book a little better than the second, but still couldn't put it down.