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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Titans by Victoria Scott
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

I am bestowing the honor of  proving me wrong in ways I never thought possible to this book. I learned a valuable lesson when I finished The Selection. Leave the judgment on yourself, not on what you've read about or seen somewhere else.

Title: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 24th 2012
Published by: Harper Collins USA
Source: Publisher (thanks Sarah!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Buy locally: National Bookstore | Fully Booked

Summary:

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.

Illéa is a young country constantly under turmoil. Although it's hard to believe that such an event as 'The Selection' takes place when war is constant as well as attempts to conquer the country, the concept is something you won't expect given the state of the society, you just have to read on. It seemed shallow and absurd at first, but what made The Selection different from The Bachelor, or Krista McGee's First Date is that it all happens in a society kept together by fragile diplomatic ties. They find hope, entertainment, and happiness for these ladies, a wonderful distraction from all the fighting, violence and the hunger. What I liked about this book as well is how the structure of the society was clearly presented by the number designations. You will see the difference of a life of a Five compared to a One. It's a different way of showing the disparity of life between the rich and the poor, the opulence of the privileged few compared to the poor masses.

As for the characters, I liked Maxon for all his awkward politeness and the stiff, unsure moments he always seemed to have. It's what you slightly expect from a Prince born in such a troubled time of his country, but it's still entertaining to see him flustered a lot of times. And although I never liked the concept of a guy dating multiple girls, let alone 34 others at the same time, Maxon made it seem like there's more to it than just a competition. He's a young leader who was sheltered from the horrors of society, finding out its real state in an unexpected time: during the Selection, from a Five who has lived through a lot of trying times. Princes always seem to have a certain awe factor in them, but Maxon will earn your love by being adorable, responsible, romantic and maybe even a little too naive and oblivious throughout the book.

America is your typical protagonist, a kind, humble girl who thinks of her family before anything else. In a way, she knows more about the realities of life than Maxon. As a Five, she had faced a lot of hardships in life and has seen the difference in the rankings. All her life her mother has stressed to her the importance of marrying someone with a higher rank, but she was willing to risk all for her forbidden romance with Aspen. She became a celebrity overnight and she takes it all in stride though initially breaking down because it was too much for her. I liked that she never changed despite of all the trappings of wealth she was being exposed to. I really wish her talent for singing has been introduced a lot more in the latter part of the story though, as it was made such a big deal at the onset of the story.

Another lovable part of this book is the romance, especially what Maxon and America had. Becoming friends, exchanging thoughts and opinions with each other, not being afraid to say what's on their minds. They breached the gap between a One and a Five, learning a lot from each others experiences. It felt so natural and unhurried. They have awfully sweet, chaste moments I couldn't help but cheer for the both of them.  The star crossed angle of Aspen and America's love story was good enough to be explored but for once, I liked the friends before lovers arc Maxon and America had. I'm a romantic at heart, and I've always wanted the Prince to sweep the girl off her feet for a happily ever after.

It's not just about the lavish ballgowns, the opulent grounds, the lifestyle of the rich or the possibility of becoming a queen. There's the competition, healthy or not, that will keep both the readers and the contestants themselves on their toes. How far can one person go to win the crown? The challenges faced by a young kingdom like Illyria is also a big part of the story. How much does a future leader need to understand and see in order for him to know what his country needs? The Selection blends together the typical, necessary things for a normal YA novel and, somehow, makes it into a very engaging read. Hopefully, in the next book we get to know more about the rebels. The attacks were always swift, and their presence, though always mentioned by the characters, has been vague and weak. I hope the author gives them a more solid role aside from being a phantom problem and one point of conflict for the book.

But really, color me surprised. It's a very sweet read, cut off at the very moment where one already yearns to know the results of The Selection. All the controversy and scandal surrounding this book? It's publicity. Don't let things like that keep you from reading a book you'd like to read. Who knows? It might turn out to be a pleasant and memorable experience like what happened to me.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Maxon's innocence is something I found amusing and cute at the same time. You almost always never see a male lead like him.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
It's what attracted me to the book. It was love at first sight.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

14 comments:

  1. Yay, glad to hear you enjoyed this! I've read mostly negative reviews so it's great to hear when someone ends up liking it :) I might read this in the future but at the moment I have too many other books I need to read and have more interest in. Great review, Kai!

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    1. Becca, you are awesome and I love you!
      Awww, I wish you get the chance to read it soon. I think I understand now the feeling of my other Aussie friends who says the scandal really ruined the book. I hope more people give it a chance like I did though. It's really good. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Great review, Kai! I didn't expect to enjoy the book with all the negative reviews and the scandal surrounding it, but I did. I guess that only goes to show that reviews and scandals really don't make a book.

    I also loved how Maxon and America's relationship was portrayed as well!

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    1. Oh I am so glad you loved The Selection too! I have to admit that the negative publicity really put me off, but I was so surprised that I liked it.

      Maxon is just adorable! He has this certain degree of innocence in him and I liked it. Aspen really was no competition compared to him. Maxon's just interesting in a whole lot attractive and different way :)

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  3. I adored Maxon, more than I expected I would. He was just so . . . cute and hot of course. hehe. I'm glad you enjoyed this book too! I really LOVED it! Great review!

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    1. I like him for being so awkward, which I think makes me weird. I'm used to reading about confident, arrogant princes and Maxon is the total opposite, which I think adds to his charm :) Glad you loved it too, Erin! Thanks for the comment!

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  4. I really enjoyed this read too, especially Maxon, who is probably one of my favorite male leads now. He was just a sweet guy and Aspen cannot compete.

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    1. I agree with you. Aspen is a good guy, but Maxon is just a far better guy compared to him. Glad you loved the book as well!

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  5. I have a kinda love-hate relationship with this book! I thought it had loads of potential though...would've much preferred if it was a fairytale instead of a dystopia! Glad you liked though :)

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    1. When you think about it, the dystopia elements is still kind of vague, but I think the author did a good job w/ enforcing the 'number system' throughout the story. I hope it gets fixed on Book 2!

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  6. Nice to see you liked it! I think that the dystopian elements were there, but not used enough to make them worth being there. The romance was really nice. Great review!

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    1. Hi Nina! I agree, although I do hope we get to feel the dystopian elements more since it seemed so vague here in the first book. The romance is definitely worth the read, right? Thanks for the comment!

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  7. EEEEEEEEE! You has new blog design! It's BADASS! I really SERIOUSLY love! (ALSO, I saw 'Amatersau' mentioned in a book I was reading the other day and squeed because of you :D)

    Kai, I seriously, I think you NAILED it in this review. I just seriously ENJOYED this one, but... everything you said is just... YES. The publicity? YES. The build-up, and the ending, right as it gets GOOD? Yes. It felt a lot like TV, with a 'TO BE CONTINUED' ending?

    LOVE YOUR REVIEW! ♥

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    1. Ehhhh, Sarah! I live for your comments! I love it! What book are you reading? Stormdancer? I heard Amaterasu was mentioned there :D

      I am sooooo very flattered you think I nailed this review. You do realise that it's your review that made me want to read The Selection, right? You convinced me! So thanks!

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