The Elite – Kiera Cass

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Synopsis

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Timesbestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Review

I still love this series, but I also found this book infuriating at times. So many of the conflicts were unnecessary, and I had a hard time understanding America’s perspective. Her behaviour reminded me of a child who didn’t want a toy, but still wouldn’t let anyone else have the toy either — which isn’t fair.

It’s crazy to see how much the rebellions have escalated since the book started off. But really, what if the risks had always been that way, just hidden from everyday commoners like America? It’s so easy to be engulfed in a happy, domestic bubble without realizing what’s happening in the world at large. And when you find out about world problems and struggles, they appear to be everywhere.

By the end of the book, I felt like America had taken so many huge steps backward from her position at the beginning of the book. I have a hard time understanding her motives — why would she end up feeling as determined and resolute as she does at the end, but only realize her feelings after pretty much destroying herself throughout the whole book? If she resolved her indecision earlier on, she’d be at the place she wanted to be in the first place, without added hurdles and obstacles.

I was overjoyed at the beginning, because I thought the whole love-triangle mess was pretty much solved (uncommon in these types of books), and we could see America and her man work together to solve bigger problems for the rest of the story. This was not the case, which was frustrating… and I still found the love-triangle ending as open-ended as ever.

Cass does a good job of making Maxon and Aspen likeable and unlikeable at a drop of a hat to suit her purposes. However, I felt that this ultimately detracted from the story, because both guys wound up feeling inauthentic. At the end of the day though, I’m still strongly #TeamMaxon, and I’m excited to see how this story will conclude.

Related Reading

  • The Selection – Kiera Cass
  • And all other related novellas, such as “The Prince” and “The Guard”
  • Other continuations in a series that fall short of the first book (e.g. Catching Fire/Mockingjay, Insurgent…)

Rating: 5/5

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