Is this a good time to pat your shoulder?

We’ve all heard the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” sentence more than a few times in our lives and I’ve always thought that it’s a good thing to follow it, but when I bought them I decided to ignore it because the covers are so pretty that I wanted them in my collection.

Since I’m bed ridden due to surgery I decided to invest my time in reading a few of the books that I bought the weeks before I had to have my gallblader and a tumor removed from my right leg. I’d read and heard that the books were awful, but honestly after Twilight, House of Night and Beautiful Disaster I thought nothing could be worse and I was right, these are not as bad as those, however they’re not good either.

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The Selection Series by Kiera Cass was explained to me as a mixture of THG with The Bachelor and I’m a sucker for dystopian settings and look at the dresses in the covers! Yes, yes, I was kind of easy with that.

Honestly I wasn’t expecting much of them and it’s good thing I didn’t, because though The Selection is mildy entertaining I found it lacks enough interesting and solid background to be in the dystopian category and the main character is way too much of a Mary-Sue to be likeable. At least Katniss has the decency of being interesting.

Spoiler alert: If after what I wrote you still want to read them then stop reading here!

America Singer is the oldest of the children of the Singer family that still live home, they live in the country of Illéa and are in the caste of Fives. This caste is exclusively conformed by artists, performers, musicians, sculptors. Not to be confused with screen actors and models, those belong in Two.

Aspen Leger is a Six. a caste below and therefore unsuitable for our lead character, the always beautiful, talented and amazing red head that America is. However this does not stop them from secretly dating for two years before the Selection happens. The Sixes are servants at the palace, for example and are not allowed to refuse a direct order.

How the system works is not entirely explained in the first book, but what is sure is that marrying below is frowned upon and marrying up is desirable. You also have to wait to have sex, because only the upper castes have the chance to prevent unwanted pregnancies, if someone finds out that you are having sex without being married… well, lets just say that almost all couples get married very young.

Alas! Aspen and America’s (I know, I’m still not over the fact that is her name) love is not to be as: first this book would not exist and the little plot it has would be pointless. She is drafted as one of The Selected, 35 of the most beautiful Daughters of Illéa that will compete against each other to marry the handsome Prince Maxon.

Prince Maxon is so far one of the very little interesting characters of this book, yes, I am a sucker for Princes and Dukes and anything monarchy related. Guilty as charged! Contrary to America who is boring and frankly infuriatingly annoying and self-deprecating, he knows who he is, the position he holds, the burden he will have to carry and he desperately wants to be a good king in the future. He is also a little shy and unsure about how to pick a future wife from the 35 girls that are basically paraded in from of him.

“What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I’ll be lucky if I can just find someone who’ll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I’ve already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn’t feel? What if she’s waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don’t find anyone at all?

– Prince Maxon Schreave

There are other characters who will be important in the future, like Marlee, another Selected or Celeste, a Two, a Selected and the awful attempt of an antagonist that America and all the other girls have.

According to Kiera Cass herself, Warner Bros acquired the rights for a movie based on the books and I might watch it, I mean, I don’t ever pass up the chance to see beautiful dresses and handsome guys! (Except with 50 Shades of Grey… ewwww!) Hopefully the scriptwriters will do a good job and the actors and actresses will instill some interesting angles on the characters. I also hope that they will NOT film one movie for each book, because after reading the first one I’m not sure that’s a clever nor needed move.

This book is:

  • Mildly entertaining, so it helps to pass the time.
  • Interesting enough to finish reading.
  • Some sort of Cinderella-ish (very ish) story.
  • Like The Bachelor.
  • Appealing to the eye. The cover at least.

This book is not: 

  • To be compared to THG. To think The Selection resembles it is an insult to what a truly dystopian novel is.
  • To be taken too seriously. If you do you’ll miss the little entertaintment it provides.
  • To be read lightly. It teaches a lot if you plan to write.

This is book is meh: 

  • Because though I praise the fact that the “simplicity” of America is her strenght I hate that Celeste’s sensuality is treated as if a woman is less than the others due to her sensuality.
  • Because America is another Mary-Sue in a pile or Mary-Sue-ness that keeps drowning YA books.
  • Because a love triangle is so used that it gets boring and predictable and also totally unnecesary in her case. She is not confused in her feelings, she just doesn’t want to choose either her ex(?)boyfriend or the prince for whom she’s clearly fallen for.
  • Because the cliffhanger is AWFUL!

Is this book worth reading? Yes and no. I like it enough to not regret reading it, but if you’d like to read it maybe you’d like to read other reviews at Goodreads and make a decision on your own.

Is this book worth buying? Maybe you’d rather ask someone to lend it to you.

Did I know about Kiera Cass and her publisher’s apparent attempts to boost the rankings? No. This did not influence my review at all, though I ended up reading it after I updated my Goodreads’ profile.

Thanks so much for reading all this and, if you like, let me know what you thought about the review and/or the book.

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