July 16, 2014

REVIEW: The One (The Selection #3)

The One (The Selection #3), by Kiera Cass
Published May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: hardback, provided by the publisher
Genre: young adult fantasy/romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) The highly anticipated conclusion to Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is the perfect finale for fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began--and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

Series enders have not been kind to me lately. I get it - finales are tricky for both the readers and the author. In all the previous books, dramatic situations, love triangles and bad decisions can all be put aside in our minds because the final book is still ahead, so everything has a chance still to be put to rights. But, once that last book comes out, you realize you're down to only 350 pages to clear everything up. The author has to answer to fans while maintaining their professional integrity. Authors - you are rock stars.

Perhaps this is why there are several series in which I've read all but the last book. I'm simply scared to finish it all up in case things don't go my way. I don't want it to taint the rest of the series, particularly if I've enjoyed all the previous books. So, it was with great trepidation that I cracked the spine on The One. And, when I was done, the main thought in my head was...


I have to admit - given the state of affairs in the Maxon/America/Aspen love triangle at the end of The Elite, I was nervous. America seemed pretty screwed either way you looked at it. The king was pissed at her. Maxon was pissed at her. The public was pissed at her. And, she couldn't get a minute to talk to Aspen about any of it. The Selection was down to only four girls and rebel attacks were escalating.

I loved that the excitement started pretty much immediately. America is anxious to get back in the game, so she's stepping up her seduction skills, and the claws come out among all four girls still left in it because of it. For Maxon's part, he seems like he does still prefer America, yet it's obvious that he's also still keeping his options open, particularly with Kriss.

Thankfully, America seems to make up her mind what she REALLY wants fairly early on in the book. Where the stress and angst for me came in was when she decided it was a good idea to not tell anyone about it. ARGH! She doesn't even tell her ultimate choice, which was just... ARGH! The fact that America couldn't get outside of her own head for even a short while so that she could think objectively about her situation made me stabby.

The two guys, on the other hand, keep seeking out opportunities to come to a final decision about their feelings for America and to figure out her feelings for them. Her moments with Maxon were so sweet. The sexual tension between the two of them was off the hook, too. America's moments with Aspen were rushed and nostalgic. It was obvious they still cared about each other quite a bit. Both guys love America and would do anything for her. Lucky girl.

"Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway. I'll love you until my very last breath. Every beat of my heart is yours."
Finally we get a lot more information about the two camps of rebels in The One. We've been dancing around their motives and actions through two books, so it was awesome to get more insight into both the northern and the southern rebels, and even meet some of them. In addition to the bride wars going on in the castle, there's quite a bit of subterfuge and military strategy involved in this book. I loved how America threw herself into the thick of things without hesitation. She was really brave and selfless.

And, in the end, there's a final showdown between the Illeans and the rebels, and WOW. It did not disappoint. Characters were injured. Characters died. And yes. There was a wedding. I was so blown away by how everything ended up being tied together - I didn't see a lot of it coming, even though it had been building since book 1.

The One is a perfect example of exactly how a series finale should be done. Not everything goes smoothly. Many aspects of the plot aren't ironed out until the very VERY end. Not every character makes it. But, I can honestly say, it's been a long time until I've felt this satisfied when it was all over.

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