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.
I know there is or was a certain amount of drama surrounding this book, and due to my recent ignorance of the goings-on in the book world, I'm happy to say that I was allowed a reaction based strictly on the content of the story.
Honestly, my impression is aligned with the majority. While The Selection was a quick and easy read, I can't say that offered a whole of inspiration or stimulation.
What did I expect? I was looking for something along the lines of a dystopian version of the bachelor, with the addition of blood, rebellion, and maybe a few catfights. What did I actually get? A watered-down and obvious love triangle that left me emotionally empty - as in I didn't feel a thing. That's really all there was to it.
Which really sucks, because this book has so much freaking potential. The concept is fantastic - a world full of castes and royalty and oppression. Alas, the world-building was less than stellar, so all in all, it felt forced and fell flat. The transition from the world's past to the present is less than streamlined, and when we do get some background, it's thrown at us via a history lesson. As in an actual history lesson that the girls attend.
Does the history lesson explain all that we need to know? Not really. So not only do we not get to feel and experience this world as it is, but the information we do receive doesn't exactly line up or answer all the questions of how and why.
I tried to get to know the characters in an effort to like them, but there was really nothing to them. America doesn't really have any substance of which to speak. She stuck up for her maids and took out her aggression on Maddox, which was kind of cool, but I couldn't really tell who she was. She'd label others shallow and stuck up, then turn around and act the same way towards them. This happened constantly, and her hypocrisy made it difficult to take her seriously.
And the love triangle! I don't mind a good love triangle, but I couldn't feel this one. When you can't connect to the characters, how do you pull for one side or the other? Maddox is all surface material and Ash... Well.. we don't really get to know him either. I guess what it all boils down to is that there is no depth to the characters, so I really couldn't care less what happens to them or who America ends up with.
There's a slew of other characters, but they aren't worth mentioning. Most of them get kicked out by the end of the novel anyway (I'm not spoiling anything, promise). I think it's supposed to be a monumental moment in the book, but I did little more than *shrug* and ponder the fact that the story had ended and nothing had really happened.
I may or may not read book two in hopes that things get better. Like I said, the concept is there, it's just poorly executed in this first book of the series. Maybe this was a foundation novel and the really juicy stuff comes later? Could be...
But for The Selection itself, I'd have to rate: