Friday, April 29, 2016

Series Spotlight: The Selection Series - Kiera Cass

I am a firm believer in everyone needing some down time.  I remember reading a baby book that told parents to watch out for their new child's needs, keeping in mind that as much as we cherish our alone time, some babies do, too.  It stuck with me.  I started noticing how much I needed alone time, mental break time, and physical rest.  Sometimes you just need some fluff.

I have a dear friend I go to church with who has anxiously been awaiting my reading of this series for over a year.  After some mandated down time in October, I figured it was time and reluctantly picked one up.  Two hours later, I was frantically searching through my friends to see who had the rest of the series so I could read it THAT NIGHT.  

Two days later, and not only had I read the four books in the series, I'd researched when the new book was coming out, read all of the novellas, and laughed at myself for delaying my downtime with this series for as long as I did!  I give you - The Selection.

The Selection is an interesting concept.  Part "The Bachelor", part The Hunger Games, the girls are competing to be the prince's bride.  It's no secret that girls from better sectors have a better chance, but their challenges are not only date-related, but have to do with decorum, likability, intelligence, and intrapalace politics.

The first book introduces us to this new world on the American continent.  While the changes and the time has made it nearly unrecognizable, relying on a caste system to maintain order and determine who could marry whom, the main character America is thrust into a world of cameras, higher caste assignments,  and isolation, despite being in the public's eye all the time.  She is unsure of whether she wants to love anyone other than her childhood sweetheart, but knows that her presence in the competition is helping her family.

The Elite, oh my.  Prince Maxon has narrowed his choices to eight ... is America still the favorite of the people?   Will her outspoken attitude hurt her chances with her beloved?  And is that beloved still her childhood friend, or has it become Prince Maxon?  Setting the Bachelor-esque parts aside, the true instability of the current regime starts to manifest.  Attacks upon the castle and upon the Elite increase, drawing everyone closer and causing a sense of urgency to drive the plot.

The choice has been made.  Up until now, I won't lie, this was a guilty pleasure series.  Okay, it still is.  but the final book truly showcases how far Cass has thought out the story.  While at some points I was tempted to shake the book and shout "Use your darn words, dagnabit!!" at the characters, the underlying political unrest and subversive underground movements come into the forefront of the series in a dazzlingly breathtaking and unexpected way. 

It's been years since the last Selection, and Princess Eadlyn finds herself in the unique position of being the first woman to rule the nation -- after her father steps down.  In an attempt to appease the upswell of discontent, she and her family agree to a new Selection - one where this time, the princess selects her groom. She has the support of her father who had to make brutal and life-changing choices, but does she have the strength to make her own?

I quite enjoyed the series.  It was exactly what I needed at a time my brain needed something fun and light. Is this something I'd give to someone who needs to write a critical analysis on a novel they choose?  Nope.  But would I hand it to the same reader after completing their paper?  Yep.  This is a toes-in-the-sand kind of series.  Grab a yummy, cool drink, your favorite shades, some sunscreen, and enjoy!

Series Rating: Three and a half stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  There are some pretty intense kissing scenes, some milder cat fights among the contestants.  The conclusion to The One is brutal - much more so than I would have anticipated.

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