April 25, 2013

REVIEW: The Elite (The Selection #2)

The Elite (The Selection #2), by Kiera Cass
Published April 23, 2013
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Format: hardback - I own
Genre:  YA dystopian
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

I pre-ordered The Elite a little more than a month ago. I wanted to make sure I had it in my grubby paws the day it came out. So, it's little wonder that it took me less than 24 hours to read it from cover to cover. I finished it only a few hours ago, so the book hangover is still going strong. Perhaps now's not even the best time to write a review with all the feels still so fresh. Then again, maybe it's the perfect time.

The Elite starts just a week or so after the close of The Selection. Things between America and Maxon are good, despite the constant presence of Aspen in the castle. What kind of great book would this be, though, without conflict and drama? It doesn't take long before the proverbial shit hits the fan and America's and Maxon's supposed perfect future is completely thrown for a loop.

There is no "second book syndrome" here. Oh no. On the contrary. Without the burden of backstory and world building, we're thrust into the story immediately. To say that it was gripping was putting it mildly. I started The Elite while I was waiting for my car to be inspected. I was actually irritated when it was done, because I knew that I would actually have to put it down for the 15 minutes it would take me to get home!

The main focus of The Selection was, well, on The Selection. That isn't the case in The Elite. The thrust of the story is on America's seemingly impossible choice between her childhood love and the new feelings blooming for the prince of her world. Truly, America waffles back and forth several times during the course of this book, for, what I thought were very good reasons. I can't imagine it's an easy choice to make, no matter which "team" I'm on (which would be Maxon's, by the way).

Aspen is safe, comfortable and a sure thing. He claims to have never stopped loving America and that he still wants to marry her. He says he supports and understands her continued involvement in The Selection, however, his support seems to have a limit. He has a lot of confidence in his feelings and abilities, but not in America's.

Then there's Maxon. He's the prince, for goodness sake. He's romantic and noble and seems devoted to America, despite having five other girls to entertain as well. But, then, that's the real problem, isn't it? He still has to pretend he's interested in the others, which gives America pause. That and her lack of confidence in her own abilities.

I felt so much frustration as I was reading The Elite. It's that good bookish frustration you get when the characters you love are doing things that are stupid. You can see the disastrous results from their poor choices coming a mile away, yet you're powerless to stop it. All three of our main characters did things like this in The Elite, and it made me nuts! It also made me want to keep reading page after page to see if they were going to be able to right their wrongs.

The only thing that I felt was missing was the lack of new information about the rebels. They weren't mentioned much, and I was hoping for more about them. I have a feeling, though, that their presence will play a key part in the last book.

The ending, although not a cliffhanger, left me wanting so much more! There are so many questions to be answered, new conflicts to be explored, and so many threats to my favorite characters' happiness. Waiting a whole year to find out what happens is going to be so difficult!

Check out my review of The Selection.


Divergent Gryffindor said...

Great review! Aw, so sad that there wasn't much information about the rebels! I wanted to see more of that too. Can't wait to read The Elite!! :D
Hey, check this out! :D
Review: Losing It

Amy Shaw said...

I've heard this book is frustrating, but I'm glad to know you enjoyed it anyway! I think I'm going to read a few other books on my TBR list before I get around to this one though; I don't like the idea of having to wait a whole year for the last book!

Krista said...

I think there'll be a lot more about the rebels in the last book. I felt a lot of set-up going on. It really was a great book!

Krista said...

UGH - the wait is going to KIIIIIILLLLL me!! I can appreciate wanting to put off the torture just a little bit longer. :)