I realized that I haven’t written a book review since April of 2020, and well I finished this series back in August of 2020 so many apologies for this late post. This series came highly recommended and I’d like to carry on the recommendation to you.
I absolutely loved The Hunger Games and so did so many of my friends. The Selection series was described as very similar but with obvious differences. After getting the recommendation, I added the series to my wish list on Amazon. A couple months later I received a Amazon gift card and purchased the box set. The books had been sitting on my shelf (like so many other books) for a while and when I finally decided to break into the series I was finished with all five main books within a month.
I have to admit it took me a little bit to get into the first book, but once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. I was thankful that I had the entire series already on my bookshelf because I don’t know how I would have done waiting for the next books to arrive. There are a few extra books, novellas, that I didn’t read so this review is based solely on the main five books.
The series premise is that the United States (now called Illéa) has changed back to a monarchy government and castes divide the common population. When the prince comes of age, tradition is that a Selection takes place for him to find a wife. Thirty-five girls are chosen seemingly at random and brought to live in the palace and court with the prince. At the end, one “wins” and becomes the soon-to-be queen.
America Singer, a young woman who is in one of the lower castes finds herself chosen, ripped from her home and secret boyfriend and sent to compete in a competition she wants nothing to do with. Her independence and sassy nature make her standout among the higher caste candidates. She makes it blatantly obvious she has no intention of becoming a queen, rejecting the gaudy dresses and jewelry and even breaking the strict formality standards when interacting with Prince Maxon, but perhaps that is what he found attractive.
Throughout the competition to win the Prince’s heart (and the crown) girls are dismissed, scandals occur and the rebellion force determined to over through the monarchy puts the entire palace in danger. America finds herself questioning her feelings for the life she left behind and how she feels about the life she’s currently living. The relationship she forms with Maxon is unknown territory for the both of them and they spend the first three books slowly falling in love. Of course, that love didn’t come easily but I won’t spoil the entire series.
However, in order to talk about the last two books in the series, I do have to spoil the ending of the main three…
The last two books, The Heir and The Crown, follow a new Selection but for America and Maxon’s daughter, the eldest of their children. Though a break in tradition, Princess Eadlyn, becomes the next in line for the thrown of Illéa and must find a husband in order to become Queen. Though America and Maxon have broken many traditions, the unrest in the country demands some form of normalcy to bring the people back together. Like America and Maxon’s unconventional path to love, Eadlyn finds herself resistant to the Selection process and facing many obstacles along the way while trying to please her mother, her father and above all, her country.
From America’s experience to Eadyln’s I really enjoyed the series. The dystopian young adult universe is always one of my favorite genres. I also really like novels that keep you on your toes and goes in an unexpected direction more than once.
I also really enjoy characters that are written in a way that’s truly realistic and believable. I find sometimes in novels characters are too perfect; they don’t have flaws, they follow all the rules and frankly, that makes them boring. America is only 17 when she’s selected and she lashes out quite a lot, which is a large part of her character and something that a lot of 17-year-olds would probably do in the same situation. Her daughter Eadyln, who grew up in a palace and knows nothing of civilian life, acts stuck-up and selfish and expects most people to wait on her hand and foot, but that’s how she was raised and realistically, that’s how she should act. And, it’s also part of her character and eventually plays into her character development.
The stories, the characters and the plot twists really kept me enthralled in the series and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Hungers Games or Delirium.