Ok so the book picks up sometime after the last books ended. American Singer is an Elite, one of the six remaining girls, and she is still torn between Aspen, her first love, and Prince Maxon, the man fighting for her heart and affection. I have spent days weighing my team. The Elite made it so much harder to say decisively, but I still believe I am Team Maxon. He adores America, enough to sacrifice his dignity and endure horrific things for her. Plus I pretty much adore him, though there were some touch and go moments in the book. I will warn you, by the end of the book America will have to seriously fight for Maxon's affections too.
With less characters, Ms. Cass was able to do a lot more extensive character development. Girls like Elise, Natalie, and Kriss are shown a lot more in depth. Marlee and Celeste seemed to have been so well developed in the first book. She didn't really have to do as much work there. The book also gives more insight into the royal family. The queen is amazing. The king? Not so much. Ugh. I can't stand him.