Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Selection Series

I first picked up The Selection because I liked the cover.  I thought it was about a beauty pageant or something.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  It is a dystopian series about the competition to become the crown princess.  Whenever a prince comes of age, a lottery to select candidates among the people to compete for the crown is held.  It is sort of like the Bachelor.  The chosen girls are moved into the palace where they are introduced to the royal family.  It is about more than just girls trying to beat out the competition though.  You also have the unrest in the land they live in.  Rebels continuously attack the palace.  Some girls are trying to outlast each other because their families are being sent food and money as long as they are in the running still.

The world is set up in a numbered caste system.  The royals are ones, the homeless are eights.  There is really no opportunity to move up castes either.  Your duties/careers lie within whatever caste you are born into.  Sixes are the servants, fives are the artists/musicians, etc.  The twos and threes and even fours have wealth and prosperity.  The chosen girls represent a variety of castes.  The narrator, America Singer, is a five.  In the beginning, she has no desire to be princess.  She gets talked into entering the lottery on a whim.  When she is chosen to represent her state (or whatever it is), she agrees to go, solely for the purpose of providing for her family and finding a place to lay low and try to get over a broken heart.

The prince, Maxon, immediately finds her hostility and disdain refreshing.  She isn't playing games with him.  The two strike up a friendship.  He agrees to keep her in the competition because he knows how much her family needs it.  Also, he really likes having a friend.  From the beginning it is obvious he prefers her to the other girls, but she isn't in it to be his wife.  Over the course of the books, America repeatedly makes herself stand out with the public.  Her impulsiveness and good heart make the people love her and the king hate her.  He is not a man to cross.  It becomes harder for Maxon to keep her in the competition with his father wanting her sent home.  America and Maxon have their ups and downs, in and out of friendship, hovering around romance.  They have a lot of misunderstandings that cause all sorts of set backs in their progress.

To make matters worse, Aspen, the boy she left behind, follows her to the palace.  He joins the guards, quickly excelling and making a new home for himself, all the while trying to win America back.  Thus begins the obligatory love triangle.  These books are filled with danger and suspense.  Every time you think you have a character figured out, the author surprises you.  There are a lot of twists and turns.  I really enjoyed the characters, getting to know the different girls, trying to figure out who the real Maxon was.  I was constantly falling into the traps the author set.  One minute you love a character, the next you hate him/her, only to go back to loving that character again.  The only character I never wavered on was the king.  I always hated him.  He is awful.  I really enjoyed getting to know America and watching her grow.  She really is a great character.  I'm sad the series is over.  It is time to bid farewell to America, Maxon, and all the other friends I made along this journey.  Happy reading!

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