18 Jul 2013

REVIEW: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323
Rating: 4/5
The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

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.
Review: I absolutely loved the first book, The Selection- I honestly read it in about two hours or something without a single break, so you can probably imagine how excited I was to finally get my hands on The Elite. Chami can vouch for this as I sent her like ten messages with pictures and whatnot after I bought it. I will willingly admit that these books aren’t some literary masterpiece, but I do genuinely enjoy them, or so I did. I feel like I should probably warn you that from now on, this sort of stops becoming a review and becomes a little bit more like an angry rant. Also, I can’t promise there won’t be spoilers.

Chami and I have actually discussed the contents of this review at great length and several times during Skype calls, texting etc. so we’ve both had a lot of time to think about this book. The problem is though: I still don’t know how I feel about this book. I know I’ve given it a rating of four out of five stars, but as I think about it now I don’t know whether that’s how I actually feel or not. I’m going to attempt to put down my feelings in words, but who knows how this is going to go.

I’m going to start with the characters, as usual, because I could honestly go on for hours about this subject. America- the main character of the series, I loved in book one- I liked how she was a bit stubborn and more outspoken than all the others girls in the competition and that she wasn’t in it because she wanted to have Maxon fall in love with her and to become a princess. However, in this book, she began to annoy me. Sure, she was still stubborn and outspoken but at times she was a little bit too stubborn and outspoken (characters flaws, I know) but then she started becoming annoying and indecisive and insecure and it got to me. Of course, I blame all of this entirely on Maxon and Aspen- if it wasn’t for those two then everything would be cool. Can America just not pick either of them? Maxon was so charming in the first book (a little arrogant, but he’s a Prince okay?) but he kind of just became a dickhead in this one. I swear he legitimately ruins lives- not just of the girls who are competing but mine and Chami’s (and probably other readers too). There were times in this book when I really wanted him to be a real person just so I could walk up to him and hit him in the back of the head with a really heavy book until he wasn’t a dick anymore. Aspen was no better- every time I thought things were going to be alright with America and Maxon, he would just appear out of nowhere and make her question everything all over again. I mean, what the hell are you doing Aspen? JUST GIVE UP! I’m not even Team Maxon- I’m Team Nobody to be quite honest. I think the reason I hated them both was because of the way America was acting- she thought they were being dickheads- so everything they did seemed worse than it probably was, she couldn’t make up her mind between them- so I couldn’t make up my mind between them.  Just no. Get yourself together America and just pick one already! Or even better, don’t pick either of them.

Okay, character rant over. Now onto the plot. I didn’t enjoy this one as much in the first one- in The Selection, I felt like there was a bigger focus on the dystopian aspects of the world around America and friends, but in this one it felt like that good stuff sort of faded away. It was still there, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed more background information rather than a key plot. Honestly, in this one, almost everything seemed to revolve around the romance side of things- whether it was between America and Maxon, America and Aspen or Maxon and the other girls. I would have really like to see more about the troubles in the world on their own rather than having it relate back to the romance.

All in all, I don’t really know how I feel about this book, at least not in proper words. This book makes me both extremely happy and extremely angry at the same time. I both love it and hate it. How on earth are you supposed to give something like that a proper rating? I’m holding onto the hope that the third book, The One, will give me a little bit more clarity about how I feel about the series, but until then I’m going to leave it at this.