The Selection – Keira Cass

Release date: 24 April 2012
Rating: ★★★★★★★ – 7/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link

The Selection (The Selection #1) blurb:

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 have had this book on my shelves for so long, but I also apparently had an ebook copy so I decided to read it as I have limited books on my holiday (my Discworld books didn’t load onto my iPad properly, so that made me sad…).

Anyway, The Selection tells the story of a young girl of low social standing who is thrust into a competition to become the next Queen. It’s kind of like a crossover between The Hunger Games/Red Queen/Divergent and The Bachelor. It’s also kind of weird, but I liked it.

The main character, America Singer, is quite likeable. She’s certainly not polished and ready for this as some of the competition have been groomed to be, and if you read the companion novella, The Prince, afterwards you can see she’s not even as polished as she thinks she is!  America and her family are well written characters, despite the reader not really getting to see a lot of the family. They each have very unique views on events and this is shown through their reactions.

Prince Maxon is interesting. I didn’t really like him that much to begin with, but he grows on you, as I’m sure the intention is. However, I’m more interested to see how he will act in the next book as I don’t think he is as clueless as America thinks he is.

Aspen is another character, but I won’t spoil things here. He’s kind of a jerk and I am not a fan, not even by the end of the book. And in terms of the girls, I have suspicions about Marlee, and of course you’re meant to dislike Celeste.

The world building is interesting as it is set somewhere in our future, post several world wars, and some kind of technology failure (I think). However the feel of it, as one talks about the way society works and the clothing is nearly late 1800s. It’s an interesting concept that we go backwards after we have moved forward so far.

The one thing I didn’t like is below, but I will put this warning here: MILD SPOILER AHEAD. TURN BACK NOW UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THIS BOOK!!!

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OK, so the one thing I didn’t like was that we all knew America was going into the next stage, as otherwise there is no point for the next book. Hence the ‘mild spoiler’ warning. I mean, come on, it’s kind of obvious once they discuss the competition and what ‘The Elite’ are. But, there were some minor twists that I wasn’t expecting, so I guess that’s fine.

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