Monday, July 9, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

America Singer is a Five, one of the people who entertains the people who are Ones, Twos, Threes and Fours - a talented singer and musician from a family of singers, musicians, and artists.  Her place in life is to be entertainment, an invisible person who makes the people above her happy with her songs and music.  Her life isn't easy, but with her family working together they have a roof over their heads and usually have enough food for everyone to eat.  America doesn't have many secrets from her family, but the one she keeps is the biggest of them all - she is in love with a Six and dreams of one day marrying him.  Aspen is the Six who has held Americas heart for the last two years, the secret she has kept from her family.  If she marries him she too will become a Six, a sacrifice she is willing to make, but with her mothers ambitions that may not be possible. 

When the Selection is announced, the chance for the young Prince Maxon to choose a bride from the eligible population of young women in the country of Ilea, America enters the ballot to keep peace with her family and to make Aspen happy, but then she is chosen and is whisked away to the Palace - away from her family and away from Aspen.  The Palace is a place of drama, betrayal, and some catty behaviour that leaves America shocked and at times bewildered.  When she comes to the attention of Prince Maxon for all the wrong reasons, America expects to be sent home - what she doesn't expect is a growing closeness to the Prince, a twist of heart that will leave her wondering what she really knows about herself, her family, her country, the reason for the tiers of society, and even her own heart.

The Selection is the first book in a new trilogy that blends together one of the best dystopian novels in recent years with a gentle and subtle romance.  America is an admirable heroine, a young woman who knows her own heart and who is willing to fight for what she believers in - a trait that seems to be missing from a lot of the girls in the story.  She is at odds with almost everyone in the story, her mother, her family, the other girls who are there for the Selection - and she is at odds with Prince Maxon.  The story that unfolds has just the right pace and introduces you to the rest of the cast in a way that feels natural, like you are really seeing events rather than just reading about them, and there are enough subplots to keep it real rather than making it feel like things are happening in isolation from a "real world". 

Dystopian novels are a popular theme and have been for the past couple of years, thanks in no small part to the success of the Hunger games trilogy.  Like the Hunger games, the Selection is set in the remains of the former United States of America and at one point you get an interesting little history lesson about how the country came to be - or do you?  There is a dangerous element to the story, rebels who attack the Palace on a regular basis, attacks that continue during Americas stay at the Palace.  What is really going on, and will we ever find out the whole story?

If you like this book then try:
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • The Hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
  • Crossed by Ally Condie
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Reviewed by Brilla

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