The Elite (A Selection Novel – The Selection 2) by Kiera Cass
Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books
4 out of 5 stars
Format: EGalley (available now in a variety of formats)
****This is book 2 in the Selection series, please not read on if you have not read book 1, as there will be spoilers****
So. I was a little hesitant about reading The Elite, so much so that I was going to avoid it all together. Its not secret that the author and her dedicated fans have caused more than a little bit of a stir, particularly on GR. I myself felt the wrath of the ‘Cass-ites’ when I slated The Siren and as such I was fearful of not liking The Elite and suffering the same abuse for my opinion. But then my stubborn streak came out, why should I be afraid to voice my opinion, I’m a book blogger and one that rarely agrees with others who blog about the same genre, so why should some fans scare me?! Besides I actually enjoyed The Selection, that may have been because I’d listened to it on audiobook rather than read it, and often annoyances in the writing can be over looked when listening. I wanted to find out what was next for America and Maxon, so here goes.
The Elite follows the final 6 in the princess selection, America is still Maxon’s favorite but there are five other girls around that want to steal those affections. The rebels are still attacking, there are problems with New China, ensuring lots of drama and tension through out the book. The story is simple really, America needs to decide between Maxon and Aspen, her old love, she needs to separate Maxon from the crown and see him as a man, not a prince, and she needs to show the people that she can be a princess, despite her low caste. The story also reveals why Marlee was so secretive (but that was obvious anyway) and what happens when she’s found out – in fact the secrets not the big thing here, the results of the revelation are, they affect America and Maxon’s relationship in significant ways. We also see more of Queen Amberly, and get to like her, but the King is a different story, he seemed nice (if a little stand offish) in The Selection, in The Elite he is a tyrant which a set agenda and some nasty secrets, whether thats a total character assassination on purpose, or whether it was Cass’ intention to change our view of him all along I’m not sure, but it works well enough.
America is one of the most annoying Ya leads I have ever met, and yes I include Bella in that! Seriously she needs a slap. She is so, so self involved that I’m surprised she’s realized that there is a world outside hers. When she’s with Maxon she’s all crazy in love, when she’s with Aspen its the same, if she fights with Maxon she runs to Aspen and vice versa. Actually I take that self-involved comment and raise to a bitch comment, America is a complete bitch. I don’t like the way her character has gone, its not endearing the reader to see her this way, and it doesn’t gel with the ‘concerned about the castes’ attitude she has, or that she care so much for her maids, its a divergence from the naive and a little dumb America in book 1, and I didn’t like it at all.
Maxon is Maxon, he’s a bit of a jerk really, but I think he means well, he’s one of the characters that has stayed true to the first book, we find out more about him, his warmth of character and his own selfishness, but in general he’s a good strong lead, and I can see why you get a load of ‘team maxon’ supporters. Aspen on the other hand should be tied to America and forced to share her slaps, he’s as bad as her – he wants her, he dumps her, now he wants her again, GIVE IT A REST. I hate love triangles, and the whole aspen/maxon thing isn’t a competition, Aspens being used as a rebound for America, and he’s fine with that, grow a back bone man.
Now I know it sounds like I’m slating it, and your probably wondering where the 4 stars are coming from, and the fact is that there is plenty wrong with the book, the characters are largely awful (although I like the new, more determined Kriss) and the writing is cheesy and the plot is some what predictable and little silly, BUT you read it and you don’t care. You still want to find out whats going to happen, it is fun, silly fluff and I love that. I get the feeling that the book doesn’t take itself too seriously, therefore the reader is left to enjoy it on a ‘fun’ level, without having to dissect hidden meanings and plots or twists, it just IS. Essentially The Selection series IS the ‘Bachelor’ in book form, and whats wrong with that?
I loved the ending and feel it may throw the series in a direction I wasn’t expecting but hope that it doesn’t diverge from the basic plot too much. A recommended read for those that want something easy to read, think jackie collins or jilly cooper – the YA versions (less sex, more hormones :D).
Egalley kindly provided via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.