Book Review: The Crown (Kiera Cass)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Pages: 288

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

Review:

I requested this on NetGalley despite not having read all of the previous book, The Heir – I had a sample of the first few chapters but never got round to getting the whole book. Still I was interested in seeing how the series ended, so after a quick catch up on the events of The Heir I was ready to go.

It didn’t feel that Eadlyn had changed much from the last book: she was still very self-obsessed and selfish and I didn’t particularly like her. Unfortunately, my opinion of her didn’t change much throughout the book. While I could see she was genuinely interested in helping her people, so much of her inner monologue was still about herself and people’s perceptions of her and it got a bit tiresome.

My main problem with this was that it didn’t seem to have much point to it. With the previous Selection books, while there was a big focus on the love story and the competition, there were more serious plot lines throughout with the danger of the rebels. This book lacked that threat. While there was something that threatened Eadlyn a little, it was nowhere near as dramatic and it came over half way through the book. It just felt like the real conflict was lacking.

I liked the final outcome of the Selection, which was not completely unexpected but fitted well with the story and characters. I was a little disappointed with Hale’s storyline. It’s difficult to say without spoilers, but it just felt like stereotyping and I kind of wanted more than that. Hopefully you’ll understand what I mean when you read it!

This series has been a bit like a guilty pleasure: although I don’t think the stories are really gripping or amazing, I do enjoy them and I can’t help but race through them. It was an interesting end to the series, and I will make sure I catch up with The Heir properly soon.

3

Book Review: The One (Kiera Cass)

 

 *I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 323
Release Date: May 6th 2014
Summary (From Goodreads):
The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

 

Review:
I really don’t know why I like these books so much. There’s a lot to dislike about them, not least being America, the main character who is incredibly irritating and, to be honest, didn’t really do a lot towards the climax of this book. But somehow, they’ve hooked me in, and the nearly two month wait I had to get this on NetGalley (I know I could have bought it, but I’m very poor…) was torture.
Once again, I raced through this book, even though I was pretty sure I knew where it was going: I’ve already read a bit if The Heir so I knew who won the Selection, and it was kind of obvious from the start really, wasn’t it?
Still there were some surprises along the way. I really liked the lengths the King went to trying to manipulate America and make her do things she didn’t want to. It was such an awkward position to be in, I really didn’t know what she was going to do, or what I would have done in her place.
There was plenty of heartbreak in this book too, and one of them was quite surprising – a death near the end took me by surprise, not only within the plot, but I was surprised I cared so much as well. A lot of characters have changed since the beginning of the books: be prepared for your feelings to change.
I was a little concerned that it got very close to the end of the book and America still hadn’t told Maxon about Aspen. I thought maybe he wouldn’t find out, which would have been a terrible basis for their relationship. I knew he’d have to find out, but I dreaded it too, as I didn’t know how they’d recover from that.
The book was full of the usual America/Maxon ups and downs, which were super frustrating and I just wanted to bang both their heads together and tell them to get on with it. In a loving way, of course.
As mentioned before, I think the only thing that let this book down was the ending, as America is basically whisked off to a safe room and spends the climax there. A lot of stuff goes down while she cries and hits a metal door: it’s a shame she couldn’t be more involved in what was going on.
This was a fast paced, exciting end to the series (or this part of it anyway) with some great curve balls thrown in, even if everyone really knows how it will end. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into The Heir really soon.
My Verdict:
 
 
Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!

Book Review: The Elite (Kiera Cass)

 *I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Summary (From Goodreads):


The Selection began with thirty-five girls.

Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Review:

Having enjoyed The Selection (the first book in the series) I went straight on to this book without taking a break in between, so they kind of blended into one book for me. However, there was a marked difference in The Elite for me and that was that…. SO MUCH MORE HAPPENED!

This is why my review of The Selection was a little muted. I had really enjoyed it, but after going straight into The Elite, I couldn’t help but think not a lot happened in the first book, comparatively. While the focus was still very much on the love story, I felt in this book there was more to keep me interested.

The main thing that I loved was Marlee’s storyline. I won’t spoil it here, but it seemed to come out of nowhere and really shocked me. It was the kind of thing I’d expected more of in the first book: the brutal reality of life in the palace, where harsh decisions have to made and punishments need to be dished out. This was by far my favourite part of the book.

America’s indecision and constant swinging between Maxon and Aspen did get on my nerves a little, but that’s mostly because I don’t see the appeal of Aspen very much. I just don’t see the connection there, and when America is with him she can be a bit simpering and annoying, whereas she seems much more herself (and likeable) with Maxon.

While I still feel I know very much where the story is going, there were a lot more plot twists and surprises in this book, and it’s really made me want to read on (I’m awaiting approval from Netgalley for The One, fingers crossed!)

If you enjoyed The Selection then I think you’ll definitely enjoy this book, and if The Selection left you wanting more then I think you might just find it here.

My Verdict:



Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!

Book Review: The Selection (Kiera Cass)

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 336

Release Date: April 24th 2012

Summary (From Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Review:

I made a mistake after reading this book, and that was to read the sequel straight after it (seriously, I devoured it in a day, there was no stopping me). Because of that, I think I’m marking this book a little lower than I would have if I’d read it on its own. Perhaps a little unfair, but what’s done is done!

I was curious going into this book because I’d heard pretty mixed reviews and it didn’t really sound like something I’d enjoy. But I was wrong.

Sure, the book had its flaws. My main gripe was that it was quite predictable, but at the same time I thought that was a little unfair: without it’s predictableness (America getting picked for the Selection, Maxon falling for her etc) then there wouldn’t really be a story. There was also something quite simple about it: the characters were sometimes a bit stereotypical and the world felt a bit underdeveloped. That said, I still enjoyed it.

The pace felt really gentle: nothing overly dramatic happened, everything just kind of sauntered along but, for some reason I can’t explain, I really enjoyed it. America was very likeable, not too perfect to be annoying yet pretty and talented enough to be in the Selection. Her main flaw for me was Aspen: I didn’t believe in the relationship for some reason, so her longing for him while faced with someone as lovely as Maxon was unfathomable.

I felt I’d like to know more about the world they lived in: about the castes, how they began, and more importantly, about the rebels. While we saw a couple of attacks and heard vague bits of information about them, I really wanted to know who they were and what they wanted. They were so nameless I didn’t really feel the threat from them.

I felt some of the other girls were a little bland: I forgot names of a lot of them very quickly, but I guess that was because they were doomed not to last too long. Marlee was obviously a favourite, being so sweet and friendly, but I did like Celeste and her massive bitchiness. I expected more characters like her to be honest.

This was a really great start to what looks to be an interesting series. I love that the concept isn’t really too far away from things that happen these days (I remember a certain show about girls wanting to marry ‘Prince Harry’). I’ve already eaten up the second book and can’t wait to read the next ones.

My Verdict:

3