The Selection | A Book (Series) Review

by - 7/17/2018

When it comes to books, I'm usually not the type of person that hesitates to jump on the bandwagon. If it's a bestseller, has killer reviews, or (most importantly) someone I trust recommends it to me, I usually happily jump in and enjoy myself. There have been a few exceptions to this of course (cough Eleanor and Park cough!) but I usually agree with the masses.

Along with that, I'm relatively aware of popular books, as I typically have people talking my ear off about them. But when I read The Selection series by Kiera Cass, I thought I was perhaps the first one to discover them, because I'd heard absolutely nothing about them! Imagine my surprise when I went to tell probably 10 friends about these delightful books, and literally every single person I talked to had already read them. I mean, I was so far from this bandwagon I didn't even know it existed, and it appears I was the only one. ;)

Still, I'm happily ensconced in my lateness on this one, because I didn't have to wait for each book to come out, and I could devour them all in one week!

And that's exactly what I did.



Okay, so let's just get right to the point: 

I. LOVED. THIS. SERIES.

I've seen these described as "The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games meets Cinderella" and that couldn't be a more perfect summation. If, like me, you're a sucker for reality TV shows, a little bit of guns and bombs, and some seriously cute fairy tale romance, you'll love these too.

That is if, like me, you're one of the sad few who hasn't read these yet. :)

Set in the relatively new country of Illea, which is basically an amalgam of the current United States, Canada, and a few other close countries, there is a new monarchy and a caste system. In the history of the country, each time a new prince is ready to be king, they pull together a competition called The Selection, which brings 35 young ladies from all different castes around the kingdom to come to the palace and compete for the prince's heart. This is thought to raise morale throughout the country as well as give the prince an opportunity to get to know his people. 

America Singer (that name, though...), a Five in the caste system, is just. not. interested. But her mother is convinced that if she enters The Selection it will miraculously solve all her problems. 

Through an interesting chain of events, of course America gets "selected" and sent off to the palace.

The problem? Her boyfriend at home, that no one else knows about. 

The idea of a prince selecting his princess from normal girls throughout a kingdom isn't a new one, but this take on it was a little different and has some interesting twists. Not only do we get to see some romance, but we see political unrest, rebellions against the government, and of course a lot of ball gowns and fancy events and so much more. 

Basically, it has it all.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series. They're quick reads, as they keep you on your toes and I honestly didn't know what was going to happen from one page to the next. Sure, I had my suspicions and predictions but getting there was not as simple as you might think. I always love a good love triangle, and Kiera Cass did a great job of making me really unsure of who I wanted to win in the end. That's fun for me!

I did have some issues with the first three books, so I'll air those here before I finish off with what I really, really loved. ;)

First of all: America was kind of an annoying narrator. She was SO erratic, and while I liked her stubborn streak, her indecision at every turn was really quite frustrating. It was believable I suppose, but I wanted her to be more sure of herself. Luckily after the third book we get a new narrator and I liked her much better.

Secondly, at the end of the third book there was some conflict resolution that felt far too easy to me. I won't spoil, but let's just say some problem characters were "resolved" in a rather cheap way that didn't quite sit right.

And finally, the romance. It was so hot and cold, back and forth, that when it FINALLY turned out the way I wanted it to, it felt just a bit too abrupt. I still loved it because it turned out the right way, in my opinion. ;) But I wanted more development.

Aside from all these issues, I really did enjoy the story. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I was expecting complete fluff but it actually had more depth than I imagined it would. The rebellions against the monarchy were especially exciting. If nothing else, Prince Maxon really makes the read worth your while.

I'd heard that Cass intended there to only be three books, and if that had been the case, I probably wouldn't have been as pleased with this series.

Luckily, she wrote 2 more, as well as an entire book of extra stories from the minds of some other  key characters. I think these final 3 books gave me the resolutions I wanted most, and they rounded it off quite nicely. I read the extra stories book immediately after the third book, which was the right choice. There's an extra epilogue to the third book in there that was really fun, and it helped ease my unrest about the rushed ending of the third book.

As for the fourth book, The Heir, we start off here with a brand new narrator in the next generation - Eadlyn. I don't want to give away too much about her because it may spoil the previous books, but she's a princess, and - you guessed it - she participates in her own selection. She is the first princess to do so (as previously the honor was only given to a prince) and it was SO much fun to have a girl run the show. I've read that a lot of people don't like Eadlyn as much as America, but I felt quite the opposite. Where America was erratic, Eadlyn was decisive. They have some similarities, but I liked Eadlyn far better. Being inside her head was much more interesting and relatable.

Not only do these final two books follow Eadlyn's quest for romance, but they show her preparing to be queen and helping her country through some difficult times.

And that romance. All the heart eyes! The last book, The Crown, turned out EXACTLY how I wanted it to which was just delightful. In the beginning I had some doubts as to where the author was pointing, but she surprised me in the very best way.

The last book was ALMOST a 5-star read for me, except for one thing - the romance was just a tad rushed here, too! I wanted more scenes. Still, I loved it, and I felt allllllll the things. I stayed up late to finish it which is a rare thing for me these days. Such a fun, sweet, epic, wild, emotional, beautiful conclusion. It was practically perfect.

If you read all the way to the end of this, good for you! I know this was rather lengthy but it's hard for me to keep my thoughts to a minimum when talking about an entire series. I'm gushing again (as I tend to do with books I love), but I so enjoyed these and will definitely be rereading.

Happy Tuesday!

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