Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection

Kiera Cass

Publication Date: April 24th 2012

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 327

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Fantasy

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.

Cliffhanger? What, I don't get to find out who wins yet? Argh! This is an outrage. So The Selection is a book that snuck up on me through a fellow blog. It sounded intriguing so I clicked to read the first few chapters and I was hooked. Though it coins itself as Dystopia, for me this is a fairytale, a fantasy novel, the dystopic so different then the America of today it doesn't even register, and that is fine with me. I actually really like "Princess Test" type fairytales a lot. I used to make amateur Visual Novel games (which are basically Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books with paperdolls and painted backgrounds) and I really wanted to do a Princess Test/Princess in the Pea inspired one.

On top of that I also enjoy "mockumenteries" a whole lot, so the reality show theme was also entertaining, and I actually wish that there was more to that.

Thusly I was predisposed to enjoy the book. I liked the caste system idea and I enjoyed the plot. I will admit that the prose is slightly subpar to some of my favourite authors, but not so bad that it drew me out of the story. The character of America also tended to have slightly over-dramatic qualities, but most of the time I did like her a lot. The feminist in me dislikes Aspen a lot, but I do think the reasons why he broke up with America very realistic to the tendency for society to act. (So many times men divorce women because they have better paying jobs or are more successful and it grates on them).

I also think that the book got better as it went on, as in the prose. I found myself enjoying the prose much more as I continued on. Oh and I also enjoy the many personalities found in all the girls and the Queen's sister as well. I hope in the next book we get to get to know the Queen herself better.

I recommend this book to fantasy lovers more than to dystopia lovers. I also recommend this to people who enjoy reading fairytale-like books and rooting for an underdog of a peasant. It's not the most perfect of prose, but I enjoyed reading it, plan on rereading it, and cannot wait for the next book to come out.



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