Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Selection by Kiera Cass **Review**

The Selection
Series: The Selection #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release date: 7th June 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Thanks to the publisher for my review copy of the book

Goodreads synopsis:
In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels the Selection is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's ear. But for America Singer it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn't want.

Then America meets Maxon and all her plans start to crumble. Can the life she's always dreamed of compare to a future she never imagined?

I've had very mixed feelings about reading this book, and wasn't sure whether or not I would ever actually read it. Part of this is because of what happened between the author and a member of the blogging community when The Selection was first released (something to do with a review that wasn't entirely flattering – but fair enough ... us bloggers are entitled to their opinions – and the author and her agent calling a reviewer a 'bitch' and then rigging the Goodreads reviews by 'liking' all the positive reviews). And so, as a result of all that, I decided against reading the book.
That, however, was 2012, and after seeing these pop up again on NetGalley, I decided that maybe I would give the book a chance ... separate the book from the author and enter my own opinion into the pot.

My first reaction when I started reading was that I really don't like the main character's name. Liking a character name, or having a character name that fits, is really important when you're talking about the main character. Especially with a name like 'America Singer'. However, I pushed through, and decided not to judge America on her silly name (I guess there are plenty of lovely people out there with ridiculous names, and we don't judge them, so why judge a character?).
I eventually got passed the name thing and focussed more on getting to know her. I found that sometimes I liked her quite a lot (like when she makes friends with her maids and pays attention to the crowds of people outside the airport), but there were other times when she really irritated me (getting moody for no apparent reason and being overly presumptuous when first meeting the prince and immediately reaching for unwarranted violence). She was also quite whiney ... especially at the beginning. But I guess all of these things lend to her being seen as a 'real' person. The one thing I do wish about America Singer is that she would just make up her damn mind about things! I do, however, like that America knows her own mind (unless it's anything about the prince) and often isn't afraid to speak it.

As for the world building ... I'm not really sure how I feel. The majority of the book is contained within the palace, so we don't really get to see a lot of the wider world beyond it. We hear about it in snatches of conversation, and we learn a little about a caste system (essentially social ranking), but this is not as strong as it could be. There is also talk of rebellions against the royal family. But aside from this, the apparently dystopian world is not built especially well. I'm hoping that the second book in the series will change this and develop the world a little better. There are signs that things will escalate quickly, so I hope the plot follows this up quickly.

Overall, though, I did enjoy The Selection. It was easy to read, drew me in fairly quickly, and kept me reading until the end. I did find parts of it funny, and some of the characters endearing. I do want to get to know them more, and I will be reading at least the next book in the series. Because I can't decide between 3 and 4 stars, I'm giving this book a pretty decent 3.5 stars. I would definitely say read it if you're looking for something light, but not if you want a strong dystopian series.


anovelexplorer said...

I was looking to possibly reading this series glad to see that you enjoyed this book for the most part.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

I really need to start reading this series!!

Terra Heck said...

I've read a couple of reviews about this book. I think I'd like to read it.
However, that was pretty childish play on the part of the author from the past bad review.

Amy said...

Thank you for the review! I've been on the fence about reading this book for quite some time. I'm still not sure. Either way it's nice to have an honest review. I can't believe what you said about the author/agent not being professional! So long as the review was constructive there shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks again for the review!
Amy x

Dani Cotton said...

Amy, I know exactly how you feel ... I really didn't know. The only thing that really helped me decide was because I was auto-approved for the review eBooks by the publisher. I thought I might as well, and make up my own mind about them. I think I will read the second book ... in the hopes that we get to see more of the world.

Dani x

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