The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera CassThe Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 278
Goodreads
four-stars

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Let me start by saying that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the whole Selection series. I adored book one, read it in one sitting. But then the three that followed, including The Heir, were major let downs. HOWEVER, The Crown totally redeemed the series for me. I couldn’t put it down! I read it in less than 24 hours. I also teared up at some points because the emotions became too much.

One of the reasons that I didn’t care much for The Heir is because I despised Eadlyn. She was cold-hearted and entitled. She loved her family but made sure her needs were met before theirs. Eadlyn’s character finally began to evolve in The Crown. Not only does she admit that she’s taken advantage of many of the people in her life, but she actively tries to right those wrongs. She makes a lot of personal sacrifices in The Crown.

The Selection series has never been very dark. Yes, there’s a tad of violence and people do get injured and sometimes killed, but the series has never really focused much on those parts. It’s always been about the characters in a sort of soap opera way. This doesn’t mean it isn’t as compelling; it’s just a different type of dystopian than the others out there.

For instance, Eadlyn is a force to be reckoned with, but not in the way that Katniss and Tris are. She doesn’t kick butt with her hands or weapons, she kicks butt with her words and wisdom. It’s refreshing to have a strong female character who doesn’t physically beat up the bad guys to save the day.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with this last book…? I think it’s the last book/I hope it is because I’m extremely satisfied with how it ended. Sacrifices are made, but in the end Eadlyn makes decisions that end the series on a happy note. There’s some worlds that I want to keep revisiting like Mead’s Vampire Academy series *hint hint*, but The Selection is one that I really hope doesn’t get returned to. I think that it ended with a bang and I’d hate for another spin-off to reverse its progress.

 

four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass

The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera CassThe Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Pages: 342
Goodreads
three-stars

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

The Heir takes place 20 years after America Singer won the Selection and in doing so, became Maxon Schreave’s queen. Our main character is Eadlyn Schreave, daughter, princess and future queen. She’s the oldest child, with four younger brothers, including her twin who was born 7 minutes later than her. The Heir follows Eadlyn as she navigates the first ever Selection where the competitors are boys.

Eadlyn is an ice queen, which I understand and accept to a certain extent. She was never given the choice to not become queen. She feels like she needs to guard herself and stay distant to be the best queen she can be. However, Eadlyn is also extremely self-absorbed, selfish and at times, cruel. She doesn’t acknowledge that those around her have problems and believes that she is the only one that suffers. I was extremely surprised that Eadlyn was such a horrible person given that her parents are so kind, caring and generous. Don’t get me wrong, Eadlyn loves her family, but she still tends to place her needs first.

I liked the different dynamic that took place – boys instead of girls competing to wed a royal. Eadlyn felt like their were a lot of double-standers which was kind of true, but it’s also clear to see that it’s Eadlyn’s icy ways that are causing undesirable results for the Selection. This particular Selection was created to fix a problem, but I’m not going to spoil what problem… 😉

The Heir was an okay read. I loved book one in this series, The Selection, but I never cared much for the two that followed. I read The Heir in hopes that my excitement from the first book would return, but it didn’t. I’ll read the last book that follows The Heir, but I’m not expecting it to be a slam-dunk.

three-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera CassThe One (The Selection, #3) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 6, 2014
Pages: 323
Goodreads
three-stars

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.


The One pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t have much confidence that I could enjoy this book, after my disastrous experience during the previous book. Although I thought it stilled lacked a few things, I thought The One did a decent job of finishing up this trilogy.

After The Elite, I’d had enough of America’s never-ending, “I love Aspen” then, “I love Maxon” then two pages later, “But what about Aspen?”. Luckily this constant flip-flopping was taken care of early on in this final book. America finally makes a choice, and does what she needs to due, in order to follow through with her decision. She’s finally in an in-it-to-win-it mood, and I reveled in her new clarity and mission. America’s character really shines in The One, as she faces bigger obstacles, and grows in the process.

I’ve talked about all the good, so why the 3 stars? Well… here’s the could-have-been-better parts:

One of the problems I had with book two, was the continual lack of depth regarding the Northern and Southern rebels. They attacked occasionally, but never really made an impact. They didn’t like the castes, and the King’s way of ruling, but that’s all we knew. We didn’t know who led them, where exactly they came from, and what their clear messages or intentions were. They seemed terribly unorganized, and well, pretty lame, yet they kept getting into the castle over-and-over-again. I felt like this was the weakest part of book two, and also now, book three. There is a bit of new information regarding the rebels in The One, but still not enough for me to even care about that sub-plot. A lot of the attention still remained on the competition itself, and America’s romantic ups and downs. Sometimes I think that this series could have benefited from the whole rebel’s sub-plot having been removed. It never felt fully conceived, and it definitely wasn’t utilized to its’ full potential.

Another weak point was the battle sequences. Whether Cass chose to focus more on the relationships, or it’s not exactly her strong point, the action scenes in this entire series have been short and lackluster. The battle starts, and BAM, it’s done. We hear about the causalities afterwards, but they don’t really make an impact. I don’t expect America (our only POV) to be in the midst of battle, but I think the book could have used more details, and recollections from the rebel attacks. Once again, the severity of the situation didn’t feel severe enough.

‘The One was a decent-enough finale book. I’m glad I read it, because I’m now left with a more positive than negative feeling regarding the series as a whole.

three-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera CassThe Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on April 24, 2012
Pages: 336
Source: Purchase
Goodreads
four-stars

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.


The Selection was one of those books that I just couldn’t get enough of. I made the mistake of starting it later in the evening say around 10-ish leading to an all-nighter reading session which ended around 3:30 a.m. I even had to be up at 7 a.m. the next morning. However it was totally worth it!!! I was hooked from the beginning. True to it’s tagline The Selection is “Hungers Games meets the Bachelor”. Many might be aggravated over the blatant similarities between The Selection and The Hunger Games (there’s a lot) but I didn’t really care. I enjoyed The Selection for what it was and what it accomplished. The plot was captivating, keeping you enticed the whole way through.

And the characters – wow! Every single one was buzzing with personality and detail. Although our main characters were America and Prince Maxon the rest i.e. supporting characters truly did their job and supported the story. Except for the one or ones we’re meant to hate (I’m looking at you Celeste…) I loved every single character and the part they played. Oh and Ms. Cass thank you! This is the first time that I’ve ever loved and full-heartedly rooted for the sweet, kind “good” boy vs. the rebellious ”bad” boy. As you can probably gain there’s a love triangle and I’m totally team Maxon. Sorry Aspen — move along buddy

So lets talk a little about the setting. Through America Singer’s view were introduced to a world literally “of the future”. After the U.S. was ruined by attacks and such from other countries, Illea rose above the rubble bringing along an 8-caste system. Each caste is responsible and required to work a specific job. For instance, America’s family is in the 5th caste where the trade is of “the arts”, painters, musicians, singers etc. I should also mention that the further up in the system the poorer the individual. Aspen a boy that we learn America has loved for a while now, is in the caste above America and therefore not permitted to well canoodle (LOL) with anyone from another caste unless married. However, if they were to marry America would have to leave her family and caste and settle for an even more poverty-ridden caste. At the tippity top or rather bottom (1) is the royal family. When a princess or prince come of age, a princess is married off to a prince from another country while the prince holds a competition where 35 girls, picked throughout Illea, compete to become princess. Although some may have true intentions, the majority of girls are pretty much in it for the rise of fame and wealth.

Pressured by both Aspen and her family and believing that she truly doesn’t have a shot, America enters only to be completely shell-shocked when she gets chosen to compete. Her whole world is turned upside down when she arrives at the palace. Not only does she start living the life of the upper caste (beautiful gowns, surplus amounts of food) she realizes that first impressions can be completely wrong. She’s turned off from prince Maxon at the beginning believing him to be pompous and shallow. Early on though she realizes that he is extremely thoughtful, sweet and quite nervous just about all the time. Throw in conniving and downright bitchy frenemies that make the groups of rebels constantly attacking the palace look like fluffy bunnies and you’ve got one hell of an addicting story.

What I loved most about this book was our heroine America. She’s so caring and considerate in a world where girls are ready to yank your hair out just to get a better chance at being Illea’s princess. America is also extremely strong and witty. She’s not afraid to say what she feels, a quality that I truly believe prince Maxon admires. I love the dynamic between these two. Early on America promises to give Maxon the inside scoop in order to make sure he picks a good princess. However, it’s plain to see that the princess he’s got his eye on is the last one America expects…

I truly loved this book it was intriguing and interesting. The writing was clean, engaging and fast-paced. One of the reasons I gave it a 4 as opposed to a 5 star rating is, because the role that the “rebels” play. All we know is that some group or groups of rebels regularly attack the castle but that’s all we really know about them. I really would have liked to know more in order to fully get into the story.

four-stars