Saturday, June 14, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass

The One is the sequel to both The Selection and The Elite so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books.  If you like to read series in order then don't read any more of this review until you have read The Selection and The Elite.

The Selection is coming to an end, and Prince Maxon is expected to announce his choice soon.  Over time America has come to realise that she does love Maxon, but there are a lot of complications in her life - the least of which is her connection to Aspen.  As the time for Maxon to make his final choice draws closer the four girls find themselves in the awkward position of competing for the same person, a fact that is placing strain on their already complicated relationships.  When she is not worried about Celeste and her popularity, Elise and her connections, or the close relationship Kris also seems to have with Maxon, America is worried about the attention she is receiving from the King.  The King has no time for America and wants her gone, and it is only Maxon's determination that really keeps her in the palace - although America is increasingly aware that leaving the palace is the last thing she wants to do.

As her love for Maxon grows, America holds onto her pride, refusing to tell him that she loves him - unless he says it first.  Blowing hot and cold is confusing for both of them, and tension between them leads to opportunities for the other candidates that are exploited by everyone around them.  When an unexpected ally appears it could be a saving grace for Maxon and his cause, but they want Maxon and America to pay a high price for their support and neither of them is prepared for the consequences of the offer.  Drawn deeper into a tangled web of politics and deceit, America must make a decision - how much of herself is she willing to give up to stay in the running to become the Princess?  Her family, her friendships, and her life are on the line as she must decide which direction she will choose and the price she is willing to pay to keep Maxon - can she abandon her beliefs and convictions by bending to the will of the King?  Will all of the sacrifice and self doubt be worth it when the time comes for Maxon to choose - and what if he doesn't choose her?

The One is the final book in the Selection trilogy and closes off the story of America and Maxon, closing a story arc that has built over the first two novels and crashes to a close in the final book of the series.  The dystopian genre is still going strong, and there are a multitude of takes and angles on the idea - from the extremes of the Hunger games and Divergent, through to books like Article 5, and now like the Selection series.  There is a strong theme of social control throughout the Selection series, and while Cass has created a world where the King rules with a cold determination and the poorest of the poor struggle, it is not an overtly violent or cruel dystopian reality. 

The villain of the series is the Southern rebels who seem determined to overthrow the monarchy through a bloody rebellion, but this is an unusual angle for a dystopian novel because usually rebels like this would be the heroes.  Maxon and America form the centre of the series and it is their relationship that drives this series forward rather than just the single character of America or the cast of characters that are built around them.  In some ways this is a series that seems to have been written with a healthy dose of serialised romance novels like those from Mills and Boon (no offence to the author, it is not a negative contrast).  The characters of Maxon and America go through the kinds of misunderstandings and trials that you would normally see in a romance novel, something that became clearer when the three novels are taken as a whole rather than as individual books. 

I have enjoyed dipping my toes into the world of the Selection and while the series ends with The One it feels as though there is more story to tell and I hope Cass returns to this world, even if it is by holding a Selection for the children of Maxon and his chosen bride.  This was an ambitious series and makes a good addition to the dystopian genre - it is a great series for younger teens who want to read in the genre but who have parents that are less than keen for them to read some of the violence and villainy in other dystopian novels.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

No comments:

Post a Comment