Tuesday 30 May 2017

The Elite (The Selection #2), Kiera Cass

"I pranced around the room like a blind moose"
The Selection began with thirty-five girls. Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.
* .5
1.5 / 5

In some ways, The Elite was better than The Selection, in other ways it was much worse. If you enjoyed The Selection, then you'll probably like this one too, I imagine. If you're asking why I read and am reviewing The Elite when I did not enjoy The Selection, it's because I ordered the whole trilogy through the library, so I thought I might as well read the whole lot, considering how short they are.

"You've changed me forever and I'll never forget you"

What did I like? First off, there's only six girls left: Celeste, Marlee, Kriss, Natalie, Elise, and America. The smaller number means that I was less confused throughout the book, because there were less names being thrown at me and I could develop a bit more of a personal connection with each candidate. There's also more of a focus on political stuff, rebels, and the history of Illea, which adds a bit of flavour to the book. 

"Sometimes I feel like we're a knot, too tangled to be taken apart"

What didn't work? I'd say it was the love triangle, except it was less of a triangle and more of a love polygon. There's America trying to choose between Aspen, the old flame from back home, and Maxon, heir to the throne. Then there's Maxon, who says he loves America but is also trying to pick a back up girl in case she decides she wants to go home. Fair enough. So he's inviting Kriss back to his room (I think it's Kriss, I was still getting her, Natalie, and Elise mixed up) and fondling Celeste in discrete corridors. This didn't work for me because the entire point of a love triangle/polygon is to build romantic tension, but if I already know who's going to end up together it's all a bit pointless and annoying.

Then America is just behaving ridiculously. At the start I had a fair amount of sympathy for her; I imagine it's quite difficult to choose between the childhood love, the man she wanted to marry, who she thought she was going to marry, and the gorgeous, charming (or at least more charming than he was in The Selection), heir to the throne. Being Queen is a massive burden, after all, and it's not a choice to make lightly. But then, if the punishment for sneaking around with other men was hanging, a sure as hell would not be making out with Aspen on my bed. 

"You were the one who changed us when you left me in the tree house and you kept thinking that if you push hard enough, you can make everything go back to before that moment" 

Then there's all these scenes where Maxon professes his love and she cries to herself at night wondering if he likes her. It's the sort of thing that might be realistic if she was fourteen, not seventeen and been promised a wedding if she wants it. Christ, this woman is nuts. Not that Maxon or Aspen are exactly the pinnacle of sense either. Fair enough, Maxon wants to get to know the other girls in case America turns him down. Cool. But there's getting to know someone and having a handsy in a dark corridor in sight of the girl you want to marry. Then Aspen is creepily possessive for a man who rejected her.

Basically, America is far more aggravating in this book than The Selection. There's more going on here in terms of the rebels that makes it a bit more exciting, but the almighty presence of the many-sided love polygon was too much for me.

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