We may have moved on from the days when women were expected to find fulfilment only in their duties as wife and mother, but there’s still that desire, somewhere deep (or maybe not so deep for some) in some female hearts, to be noticed by that handsome prince (celebrity, billionaire or other rich, successful male of your choice) and chosen as his one true love.
How else can you account for the success of reality shows like The Bachelor (21 seasons and counting) and The Bacholerette (12 seasons and counting)? Or indeed, The Selection series by Kiera Cass, clearly inspired by those shows, but set in a dystopian future?
This Young Adult (YA) series has evolved from a trilogy featuring America Singer as one of several girls chosen via lottery from around Illea, the future monarchical version of America, to vie for the hand of Prince Maxon, into a five-book series, plus one collection of novellas about supporting characters in the series.
The last two books form a duology that features Princess Eadlyn Shreave, eldest child of America and Maxon, now the rulers of Illea.
The heir to the throne is forced to undergo her own Selection in a kind of combination public relations stunt and distraction for the masses, who are having problems adapting to the now-casteless society.
The first book in the duology, The Heir, ends in a major cliffhanger (Warning: Upcoming spoiler alert!), with Eadlyn’s younger twin brother and her best friend, Ahren, eloping with his beloved, French heir to the throne, Princess Camille, and Queen America having a sudden heart attack,
In this sequel, Eadlyn has to deal with the fallout of her mother’s condition, as well as take over her father’s duties, as he is too worried about his wife to leave her bedside.
As a side note, I’m all for true love, but doesn’t being a king mean having to think about more than just yourself? Maxon loses points in my book by being wrapped up in America to the exclusion of everything else.
Eadlyn also has to complete her Selection to win back public opinion, which isn’t in her favour.
I can’t say I blame the Illean public either, as Eadlyn is entirely too self-centred and inconsiderate for my liking, though she does improve slightly in this book.
A hiccup in the Selection process appears in the form of Marid Illea, son of rebels August and Georgia from the original trilogy.
At first appearing genial and friendly towards Eadlyn, the popular commentator proves to have more on his mind than just helping her out.
Of course, in the end, the focus for those who pick up this book will be who Eadlyn finally ends up choosing, or whether she will choose anyone at all.
While she quickly whittles the shortlist to five, ie the Elite, Cass tries to keep us guessing about whether Eadlyn will emulate her parent’s fairytale romance.
Cass also throws in a couple of whammies along the way to help eliminate certain candidates.
You might be able to tell by now that this wasn’t my favourite book to read.
I don’t like Eadlyn, and the way Cass has constructed the story with the lack of significant character development for the Select makes the story too shallow and rushed.
It does kind of feel like Cass just wrote this duology as fan service and, maybe, the money. By all means, though, if you are a fan of the series, you should finish the journey by picking up this book anyway.
As a final note, fans might like to know that Me Before You director Thea Sharrock has been attached to direct a movie adaptation of The Selection for movie studio Warner Bros.
Author: Kiera Cass
Published: HarperTeen, fiction