Saturday, 27 April 2013
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Author: Kiera Cass
Released: April 23rd 2013
Pages: 323 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads
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 Iléa.
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.
Oh deary dear dear.
Cass...what's happened? What have you done?!
This review will most likely contain spoilers.
I think my life is officially over. I wasn't the biggest fan of The Selection, but I was curious to see how it continued - who would win the heart of Prince Maxon? Would America and Aspen get caught? What were the rebels going to do next? I thought The Elite would answer those questions for me, but nope. I am now left more frustrated than ever.
For those who haven't read The Selection - or can't remember the storyline - the story is set in the a dystopian America, where the population is divided by a caste system, with One's being royalty, and Eight's being the lowest of the low. America Singer is a Five, and although herself and her family sometimes struggle to live, she's happy, because she has her boyfriend, Aspen. She thinks it will be forever, until he breaks up with her and she is entered into the Selection - a TV event where thirty-five girls are picked from the population to compete for the hand of Prince Maxon, future ruler. Of course she is chosen, and throughout the first book, she is put through a number of challenges to try and win Maxon's heart. At the end of the book, every girl has been eliminated, bar six, America included. They are the Elite, and in this book, the stakes are even higher as America tries to decide where her loyalties lie.
Myself and the main protagonist, America, have a love-hate relationship. Love-hate as in I go through stages of adoring the socks off of her, and then the next wanting to push her off the side of a cliff. Now, I don't even think it's love-hate; it's just plain ol' hate. I went into reading the novel with a clean slate for America, since it's difficult to read a book where you despise the main character. But Cass made it a real challenge to like her. Before, she had quite a feisty attitude, which I loved, along with the fact that she never mistreated her maids, remembering that she had once been a low caste like them. However, I now just think she's a whiny, spoilt brat, who is in waaaaaay over her head and needs to be sent to her aunt and uncle in Bel Air.
Okay, I'll stop it with the 90's sitcom references, but she really was annoying. I'm never too fond of characters who are in love triangles and play both people deliberately. Not only did America do this, but she seemed shocked and insulted when one of them found someone else of interest - girl, you can't just expect them to keep waiting on you and treating you like you're a princess!
Though, as much as I disliked her, I did feel sorry for her. Throughout The Selection, Prince Maxon's characterisation was fantastic, and I absolutely adored him. On the subject of teams, I was Team Maxon all the way... and then I read The Elite, and part of me wishes I could unread it because my opinion of him has shattered. He was lovely, and now he's become that stereotypical jerkwad-selfish-prince. And Aspen? I actually liked him more than Maxon. Don't get me wrong, I still want Maxon and America to be an item, but at the moment, Aspen is easier to like.
The Selection mostly concentrated on the caste system and the competition. The Elite concentrated on the confusion within the triangle, and also more about the rebels and the war. We got a closer glimpse of the Northerners, but I still wanted to see more from the South, especially since they are more dangerous. I'm hoping we'll learn more in the next novel as it comes to its climax.
There were some good aspects to the novel. I still adore the concept, because it is unique and genius, and although I've lost faith in a lot of the characters, something still has its hooks in me; I want to know how it all ends! I think if you loved The Selection, then you should definitely continue to read the trilogy. I've skimmed over some other reviews, and it seems everyone but me adored it - so maybe you will too. I'm still looking forward to The One, the last instalment to the trilogy - fingers crossed it will all turn out okay!