~These characters are named WHAT now?~
Our main character is America Singer and I just love that ridiculous name, because Cass gives an explanation I can enjoy and while I have yet to see the girl totally grow into what her name represents, I can see potential for the fire I expect later events in the series will coax and set ablaze. America is slow and thorough in her realizations, but she’s honest and as up-front with herself as she can possibly be while wading through her confusing and angsty feelings. That honesty I appreciated, because the last thing she wants to do is lead anyone on—friend, love interest, anyone. There are no cringe-worthy lies or pages and pages of doubt-filled text, which was refreshing.
Aspen, Maxon. Maxon, Aspen. Cass quickly, despite what we are well-aware is bound to happen, manages to spin this intoxicating and alluring dream of what Aspen and America’s future could be like. The whims of the young girl’s heart and her naïve hope that love will conquer all—even poverty—have us willing to believe that Aspen and America can and will be the happy poor couple still deeply in love despite their circumstances. And then those dreams are rudely ripped away and we’re into The Selection and suddenly Prince Maxon is looking like a delectable escape from the anguish. Back to America’s honesty, she is nothing but forthcoming with this handsome, adorably awkward prince hoping, like her, that love will come along and endure any future chaos, and, unexpectedly, a swift friendship forms full of secrets and advice-swapping and startling romantic sparks that shouldn’t have any place in America’s still-mending heart.
~Oh, the tragedies of the heart… Is there a romance here?~
One would think a love triangle would be obvious here, but… Who am I kidding? There IS no but. This love triangle between Maxon and America and Aspen is destined to bring pain and scars, because the two guys who come to mean so much to her are both genuinely good guys, both worthy and beautiful choices in their own ways.
Aspen’s worries and sorrows are shattering and real and honest, because how can a marriage between two differently classed citizens work out and survive the overwhelming and consuming poverty sure to weigh them down? His family is already suffering, and his responsibilities are endless and burdensome being the only remaining male to take them up on his deeply weary person. He loves America, wants to be selfish and hold on, but, at the same time, how can he bring that kind of hopeless life to someone he loves when he can choose differently?
But selflessness can prove tragic and wrenching because his doubts lead America right into The Selection, and, eventually, encourages her sinking into the competition, because how can she face the man who turned her away and smashed her lovely crystalline dreams? Reluctance does nothing to discourage the girls from rudeness and suspicion, and doesn’t hold her back from becoming involved with Prince Maxon. What starts out as a sweet friendship, in which comfort, secrets, little quirky details, and tenderness layer their connection, leisurely turns into something more despite the urgency of Maxon’s decision-making. Maxon develops an advantage, because although it’s easy to fall for Aspen, we get to know Maxon and all his endearing qualities and experience his relationship with America as it grows.
~Is this REALLY a dystopian?~
This is a light dystopian. And people have been saying that and it may be irritating others because the definition is elusive. The Selection by Kiera Cass has touches of dystopian in the caste system and its effects on the citizens, and in the rebellion that’s attacking with a vengeance those who uphold that system.
Really, though, The Selection by Kiera Cass is more about the actual Selection than anything else, and the budding romance that develops as a result. The TV show, the 35 girls in the competition… it takes on more of a charming Cinderella-type themed story. What if Cinderella’s Prince, instead of dancing with a bunch of women looking for his bride, took part in a competition in search of her? These girls are NOT mandated to go and be part of the competition, and can indeed decide. There really isn’t a resemblance to The Hunger Games. This isn’t a hardcore dystopian. This is a dystomance fairy tale retelling hybrid that is way more appealing, and isn’t so much fluff, because the emotion is there, dark and deep, but The Selection by Kiera Cass is fun in a way and almost cheerful. All the women are treated like princesses and so there are lot of fabulous dresses, parties, and other entertaining things amidst so the story is exciting in a girly sort of way.
~So I, like, totally loved this story?~
I didn’t quite love this story, but adoring a book is one step under. It’s the kind of awesomeness that inspires grins and snickers and some SERIOUS mushiness. The Selection by Kiera Cass is full of tender moments and characters that incite attachments. With The Selection nearly over but not quite, it’s hard to contain my anticipation of what turns could possibly twist up the next story. Engaging, enjoyable, and fun, The Selection by Kiera Cass is a delightful relief.
Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 4/27/12
Looking for something similar? You should try Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Amanda Hocking's Trylle series.