July 28, 2013

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 323
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: My simple, addictive dirty little secret I wish I'd never picked up.
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 Illea.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

It's book two and America's back to try and make some supposedly tough choices. I say supposedly because hi: MAXON. I don't even know why anyone cares about Aspen, but whatever. Anyway, aside form the contestant somehow having all of the power over the bachelor/monarch, America is also getting a better understanding of the messed up society she lives in. Now I will tell you my thoughts on all of this.

Let's break this down:

I seriously almost DNFed this book twice while I was reading. Once about 100 pages in and then again when I had about 150 pages left. This is because AMERICA IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING PERSON IN THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD. She wants Maxon, she wants Aspen, she was neither, she wants both. I swear. It's like the world's worst pingpong match. But, okay, I get it, LOVE TRIANGLE. Which is fine. Except I really, really, REALLY hate the way Aspen manipulates America. It's just disgusting. When they have their secret rendezvous things and he's all like: Maxon's a fake, blah, blah, blah it makes me SICK because (at least in my opinion) he's clearly playing her, which is unacceptable.

Oh, and about those freaking secret rendezvous. DID NO ONE LEARN THEIR LESSON? There's a big spoiler-y thing that happens at the beginning of the book and America and Aspen meeting in secret basically turns this pair into the biggest idiots to ever exist in fiction. I mean, it's TREASON. You could be KILLED. And I mean, if they were found out, Maxon would know America betrayed him and he probably would kill her because there's only so much one monarch can take (which you kind of find out by the end of the book). I wouldn't even be mad at Maxon because America is just lying to him left and right and asking taking but not giving. She's probably THE most selfish.

And that's fine. Characters can behave however they want. I just think if you line up the events in this book side by side, the characters only seem to pretend to learn things. Or learn things and then promptly forget them and revert back to their former selves. It's really character regression, not development. Honestly, it's almost like events in this book happen in reverse order. I don't even understand.

But, now, I think the obvious question is: If I hated this book as much as I seem to, why did I freaking finish it? Why didn't I DNF?

Well, the answer is just as baffling as the plot of this story. I think it has something to do with the reality-television-feel this book has. Why do people watch The Bachelor or any of those other terrible shows? I'm sure there's some psychology study someone's done, but I don't care enough to do the research. I just know that stuff's more addicting than crack. Which is why, I think I couldn't stop reading.

Oh. Also. I love Maxon and America's an idiot. I also want to kill the king. Actually. I will murder him and be killed for treason, I don't even care. I will say I'm a little mad at the plot device thrown in to make me want to kill the king. Like, just throw the baby out with the bathwater, why don't you, but it did get me all riled up, so I guess said plot device worked.

And then, finally, the I wanna touch on the world building: I still don't get it. All we learned in this book is that the founder of this illogical monarchy (no one in the USA would EVER let that happen - dictatorship would happen first) wrote with the competence of an arrogant, delusional 14 year old boy. Like, if anyone found those writings and publicized them, would anything change? Maybe if the original monarch was still in power, but probably not so much now. But seriously, the man who started this whole monarchy thing was actually a moron.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Illogical, regressive, hypocritical and vaguely derivative. But still, somehow, the greatest soap opera I have read to date.
World Building: The original monarch's a moron and the current one is a monster. I can see why this world ended up looking like this, it just doesn't make any sense because America's already fought a war to not be a monarchy. People may have forgotten things because computers were taken away, but not THAT much.
Character Development: I believe I called it "character regression." I like that. I'm sticking with it.
Prose: Simple and addictive, just like the rest of this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Ugh. If you've already started this series you might as well. But I'd suggest ignoring the pretty covers and skipping the series all together. They are so many, way better dystopians out there.

All that's left for me in this series is Maxon. If you know of something else worth reading this book for, please fill me in down in the comments below, because I'd really like to know. 


  1. Hmm ... now I'm not sure if I want to read this one! I did love the first one -- and the cover! -- but have been on the fence about getting this one. I hate stories that just seem to make no sense ... I think I might just keep my love for the first book and leave it at that!

    Great review, Gaby!

  2. I completely agree! Thank you! I feel like the only one who gets a bad taste in their mouth from this series, yet I CAN'T STOP reading.

  3. "But, now, I think the obvious question is: If I hated this book as much as I seem to, why did I freaking finish it? Why didn't I DNF?"
    That is the question I had while reading the Selection. lol the only reasons I thought of positives for that book was the writing, which was simplistic and easy to read, and the fast pace. Maxon made me feel a bit creeped with his use of "dear" at his age.

    Good luck with the last book, if you decide to try it out!

  4. Oh god. This book. If I hadn't read this on my e-reader, I would have thrown it out of the window FOR REAL. America is awful, Aspen is terrible, and even Maxon annoyed the hell out of me. They were all so frustrating and doing the wrong things and whining and I'm getting angry at them RIGHT NOW because that's exactly what this book does to me. All the fun from The Selection was gone in this one, and all that was left were the AWFUL CHARACTERS THAT WERE AWFUL. But I will still read The One, because it's addicting like reality TV.


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