Friday, May 11, 2012
Review of The Selection
I'm not going to lie, I picked up this book mostly because of the cover, and I've heard many other people say that, too. To the person who designed this cover - you should ask for a raise!
Anyway, The Selection is by Kiera Cass and is book one of a trilogy (I think?). It tells the story of America Singer, a girl who lives in a future society, where people are divided into numbered castes, and their caste determines their profession, their wealth (or lack thereof) and standing in society. America is from a lower caste, although not the lowest of the low. Her family gets by, but they are sometimes hungry and often struggling. But America gets the chance to change her family's lot in life when she enters into the Selection, a competition among women in her country to win the hand of the Prince. The problem is, America has no desire to wed the Prince. She's in love with someone else. But as she goes through the competition and gets to know the Prince, she starts to change her mind...
Okay, let's first address the big blue elephant in the room. This book is a lot like the Hunger Games, except with dresses and killing the competition is not encouraged. Now, I try not to make a habit of comparing books to other books, because there's no such thing as an entirely original story, and there's nothing wrong with stories being slightly similar to each other. But this one, I have to say, was sometimes a little too much like the Hunger Games, complete with a struggling family, a love triangle, funny names and a cheesy TV host. However, this could be seen in a positive light: If you're a fan of the Hunger Games, and you're itching for something more to read, this book could be for you. Or, if you want something like THG, but with less violence, this would also be a good choice.
Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read. For the most part, it was light and fun. I loved hearing about the dresses and of course, the prince. I also liked the protagonist, America, and I enjoyed accompanying her on this crazy journey. Also, this book was incredibly addicting. I just couldn't stop reading it.
I sometimes felt like the dystopia world in the book was under-developed. That is, the author didn't give a ton of information about the nature of the society and its rulers and whether the people accepted their castes or rebelled. She gave you the basics, but the story was mainly focused on the competition and America's developing relationship with the Prince. For the most part, I didn't mind this lack of world-building, but it did sometimes feel a little under-developed.
That being said, the book had some good messages in it, I thought, like the value and importance of staying true to yourself, and how many people will respect you for doing so. America tried to stay true to herself throughout the competition, and often this worked in her favor, as often happens in these kind of fairy tales.
I also have to say that I felt that the writing in the novel was sometimes a bit weak. Some of it was excellent, and some of the dialogue, especially between America and the Prince was quick and funny. However, other times, the dialogue, both between those two characters and others, fell flat, and sometimes the dialogue didn't give you a sense of the character's personality. Additionally, I sometimes felt that the descriptions in the book were rushed and lacking. I just wanted to know more about what rooms and buildings looked like, or what a character was feeling or thinking or looked like, and sometimes this felt brushed over.
Overall, though, the book is entertaining and fun, and the narrator has a great voice. I also think the concept is highly original, and it's interesting to read about how all these women react when placed in this situation. And of course, I loved the Prince. As I said before, this is the first of a triology, and it does end on a bit of a cliff-hanger, but it's not bad enough to leave you wanting to claw your eyes out in misery (*ahem* Cassandra Clare). So if you're wondering if you should read the first book now or wait for the second one to come out, I'd say just go ahead and read it. I'm looking forward to the next one, though!
PS. Did you know I'm giving away a copy of The Selection!? It's true! Enter here.