The Selection, The Elite, and The One by Kiera Cass
I have two quick notes to make before we dive in:
- First, I want to explain why I’m only reading the first three books in this series. I am only invested in Max and Mer, I do not care what happens after the selection is over. In general, I’m not a fan of when offshoots or spin-offs happen that focus on secondary characters or a new wave of characters. I lose interest in these stories, whether it’s a continuation of a book series, a new series, or even when it happens on TV or in movies. That’s why I’m stopping with the third book, because there’s a focus on a new selection and a new main character.
- Second, I’m reviewing these books together because they’re short and I binged them so it’s hard to separate the three of them in my mind.
America Singer (Mer) is a five. She comes from a family of performers and artists, and America is known for her signing and music. Fives don’t have the worst lives, but they aren’t rich either. The caste system Illéa is not fair and certainly not equal. Maxon is a one. His family rules the country of Illéa. The Prince has rarely left the castle and has not met many girls, especially around his age. Every time a new heir to the throne becomes of age, a Selection occurs. The Selection consists of thirty-five girls who compete for the Prince’s heart. Prince Maxon (Max) has to decide to whom to give his heart and whether it will be the best choice for his country. In the first book, the thirty-five girls come to compete. Some are vindictive, some don’t want to be there, and some we barely meet. In book two, we meet the Elite. The chosen six vie for Max’s attention in any way they can. In the final book, we see a change in the Elite. They have become close over the months in the castle. Max finally has to make a decision. But it’s not simple. Rebels have emerged who oppose the crown, Selection, and the caste system. Max must choose between his heart and what is best for Illéa.
I adore these three books—they’re cute, quick reads. However, they are predictable. But, in books like this, the main characters will always be the primary focus and get what they want in the end.
As far as characters go, I do not like Aspen. I think he is toxic! I have no doubt that he thinks he loves Mer, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good person. He drags Mer down and won’t let her give her whole heart over to Max. Any time Mer gets too close to Max, Aspen pops up and ruins it. I also DO NOT ship Aspen and Lucy. Lucy deserves so much better.
Max tries. It’s obvious he’s a teenage boy without a clue, and that makes him likeable. Mer grew up a little over the course of the Selection. Mer cares deeply for her family and wants to destroy the caste system and turn Illéa into an equal country. She’s smart, she wants to learn about the history of Illéa and wants to avoid making the same mistakes. But, there are still some moments of immaturity. I think this is typical for a teenager.
The King is a total prick. He wants to keep control of Max, wants him to choose a girl that won’t make a fool of the country or crown, and someone who is obedient. The Queen either ignores the King’s tactics or is unaware. Instead, she wants a daughter but is a little afraid of getting invested in the girls only to have the ripped away from her.
Out of the Elite, Celeste is the most surprising. In the first two books, she is vain, conniving, and will do anything to win Max over. But we learn that she’s vulnerable and is someone Mer can trust as a true friend. I was most devastated about her death in these novels. Because everyone else’s seems to have serve a purpose. I know that Celeste was worried about growing older and losing her image, this way she is forever young and has a youthful and beautiful image.
Overall, I do recommend this series. I appreciated the intricate history that Cass has weaved through these books. There is much more to this series than a young romance. The characters are phenomenal. It can be difficult to have thirty-five young girls in the same place and give each girl her own distinct personality. Cass more than delivers! This story is beautiful and heart-warming. I think it’s the perfect read to escape for a short while.