Tag Archives: Kiera Cass

The Heir by Kiera Cass

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heircoverThe Heir by Kiera Cass, hardback novel, 346 pages, published by HarperTeen in 2015.

Twenty years down the track from when America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, they have been implementing their plans for the country; disbanding the caste system and quieting the rebels, yet not everything is peachy. The populace is restless, discrimination is rife, and an uprising may be coming. Illea also has a new heir to the throne, Princess Eadlyn. The responsibilities and pressures of running the country will one day become hers, but her parents think she would do better with a companion by her side. The search for her true love would also be a convenient distraction for the public, hence a new selection begins. Thirty-five young men all vying for Princess Eadlyn’s affections in the first male selection. Might Eadlyn find her happily ever after?

Okay, so I got sucked into the world of The Selection with America and Maxon and Aspen, and I enjoyed the time I spent in Illea. So it made sense to me to read the fourth book in the series. Overall I did like reading The Heir, but I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first three books in the series, and this mostly had to do with Eadlyn. She certainly was no America. I really liked America, she was impetuous and occasionally reckless, but she was also endearing, kind and compassionate. Eadlyn, however, comes across as aloof, condescending and even sometimes cruel. She is constantly telling herself that no one is more powerful than her, which is probably meant to be a self-confidence booster, but is just vain and arrogant. She is rude to her maid, Neena; insulting her for being a maid, and never saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. She thinks Neena is great at her job, and she needs her, but Eadlyn has never praised Neena in this way. She is always thinking about herself, even attempting to interfere with her brother’s happiness just to keep him by her side. She couldn’t even share one of her hundreds of tiara’s with Kile’s little sister, Josie, even though wearing the tiara was obviously making her happy, and it was just as obvious, to everyone aside from Eadlyn, that Josie idolises her. I found Eadlyn to be selfish and spoilt, and not very likeable. There was some character growth by the end of the book, and I can see that she can change, but it hasn’t been enough yet. I really hope she continues to improve in the next book.

Of the men that arrive for The Selection, most of them were pretty average, though I didn’t approve of Eadlyn being so dismissive and aiming to embarrass and demean them. I quite like Henri and Erik, but it must be weird to try to date someone with a translator involved. I was pleased Eadlyn seemed to deal with this strange situation better than she did most of her other potential suitors. I also like Kile, but it is curious that he grew up in the palace, alongside Eadlyn, practically like her brother. It adds an interesting element to their relationship. Still I like him. He’s a little quirky, and will probably be good for Eadlyn. And if he didn’t enter himself, then who put his name in the barrel?

All of these books have been pretty easy reading, including The Heir. It is light entertainment that doesn’t require much thinking, great for right before bed. It is kind of compulsive though, so it’s also a fast page-turning read. The writing is good and the plot somewhat predictable, yet serviceable. I want to stress that I was entertained; a book doesn’t have to be brilliant to be entertaining, and The Heir is just that, entertaining.

I do find that I have a need to discover the outcome of this historic selection despite my feelings towards Eadlyn, so I will be reading the next book in the series, The Crown. Surely Eadlyn will learn from her mistakes and become a better person.

The romance is fairly tame, just a bit of kissing. There is also a small amount of violence, so The Heir is suitable for high school students and up.

The One by Kiera Cass

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theonecoverThe One by Kiera Cass, hardback novel, 323 pages, published by HarperTeen in 2014.

There’s only four girls left vying for Maxon’s heart. It seems obvious that he prefers America, but his father is not impressed with this choice. And so The Selection continues. There are more tasks for the girls to complete, and more uncertainty as to where Maxon’s affections truly lie. As the rebel activity increases, so too does security, with the whole of the palace restricted to staying indoors, placing even more pressure on the girls. America isn’t really one to conform, but will her

The One is the third novel in The Selection series. It is a light entertaining read that I knocked over quite quickly. It is dystopian romance crossed with reality TV dating. This series is much heavier on the romance than I often read, but I found it to be engaging. There was more action in this book than the previous ones, which was great. While the plot was easy enough to follow, it was solidly written, and there were some good twists.

As the series has progressed, Maxon and America have developed significantly as characters, and for the better. They are more complex now and I have come to like them a lot. America is loyal and passionate, though a little indecisive when it comes to Maxon and Aspen. Mind you, so much of her indecision was fueled by Maxon continuing to spend time with and even to kiss the other girls. They both spent time hedging their bets, which was a little frustrating! Maxon has grown on me immensely. He seems much more real now than at the beginning of the series.

This was my favourite of The Selection books so far, as it explored the rebels situation more thoroughly. We learnt more about the two factions, the Northern and the Southern rebels, and their differing goals. I had been wondering why these groups were attacking the palace, and what their ultimate aims were, especially the Northern rebels. They were attacking, but not killing, so what were they after? After learning more about Gregory Illea in the second book, I wondered how much of the real story did Maxon know and what might he do with such information. Finally some of these questions were answered.

The One is suitable for high school students. I recommend you read the first two novels in the series (The Selection and The Elite) before this one.  There are more books in the series that I am looking forward to reading soon.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

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theleitecoverThe Elite by Kiera Cass, paperback novel, 323 pages, published HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2013.

The Elite is the second book in The Selection series, following on directly from the first book. Prince Maxon has cut the cohort of girls vying for his affection, and the throne, down to just six. These girls are now known as The Elite. Life in the palace is complicated by increased rebel activity, and the other girls are still fighting hard for Maxon. America seems to have Maxon’s heart, but he is still spending plenty of time with the other girls, which makes America jealous. Her feelings for Maxon are escalating, but with Aspen still nearby, who will she choose?

After reading The Selection and enjoying it so much, I came back to read the next book in the series, and I liked it just as much as the first. The Elite was an easy, quick  and entertaining read. This book delved more deeply into the history and politics of their dystopian world, and there was more about the rebel forces. I found this quite interesting. The development of the competition itself was also interesting, following the girls’ rivalries, friendships and time with Maxon.

The Selection series is fairytalesque, so of course, the Prince should fall in love with the heroine. Yet, it is not your simple prince meets girl, prince marries girl story. America actually has to fight for him, and Maxon has to fight for her too, as she doesn’t exactly fit the usual princess mould. And they get to do it with the whole nation watching. There was conflict within the plot and some twists, and romance, combining to make for a captivating read.

I felt that Maxon came out of his shell in this story. He wasn’t so meek, and he even argued with America, not letting her have her own way all the time. I liked this development. He also started learning more about his country’s history and the way that the lower castes live. America is certainly opening his eyes to many things. For her part, America is impulsive, generous and fiery. I like her. She is changing as she gathers more knowledge about how the country is run, and how she could change it from the inside. At the same time, Aspen is changing as he serves as a palace guard. They are diverging, yet there are still sparks between them. They have both grown up a lot since we first met them. All the characters gained more depth through this story.

The Elite is suitable for high school students. I’m looking forward to the third book in the series, The One.

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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theselectioncoverThe Selection by Kiera Cass, paperback, 336 pages, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2012.

In a post-apocalyptic world, the land that was North America is now a Monarchy. The King and Queen rule over a rigid caste system, where ‘ones’ are royalty and ‘eights’ are the homeless and vagrants. Each caste has its own place in society, and moving between classes usually only occurs through marriage. America and her family are ‘fives’, making a paltry living through the arts. She is desperately in love with Aspen, who is a ‘six’. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Maxon comes of age and needs to find a wife, kicking off “The Selection”, where a girl from each province is selected to compete for the Prince’s hand. America is chosen, and moves to the palace with the other selected girls, leaving part of her heart behind. She may find refuge, friends, and even love in the palace, but she may also find friction and danger.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure this would be my sort of book. There had been a lot of hype over the series though, so I decided to see for myself. I was pleasantly surprised, and powered through the whole book over the weekend. And now I want to read the rest of the series.

The Selection is a light and entertaining read. I found it good bedtime reading. The plot is fairly simple, and easy to follow, without too many surprises. It made me think of a TV show I’ve seen advertised, The Bachelor. Finding love through reality television seems unlikely, and I have never felt the desire to watch shows like that, but I actually enjoyed reading Prince Maxon’s version. It probably had a lot to do with the characters, which I quite liked, despite being somewhat predictable.

America has character. She’s a bit fiery, had a desire to be non-conformist and frank; in fact she came across as rather rude sometimes, and doesn’t make friends easily. However, she’s still playing the game, no matter what she claims to feel about it. Aspen was harder to get my head around, he was more complex and darker than America. Handsome, of course, proud, and a little broken by his station in life. It will be interesting to see how his character develops in the next book.

Every time Prince Maxon said “My dear”, an image of a grey-haired, bespectacled man wearing a maroon cardigan with a rumpled dress shirt underneath, came to mind. I’m not sure that was the image the Prince was really going for! He is meant to be young, strong, handsome, but once that image popped into my head, it stayed there. He has been thrust into a position of power and must bear it the best he can, seeming brittle and strong on the outside, while really being rather shy and inexperienced at life. Since he doesn’t get out of the palace much, it’s not such a surprise.

The Selection is suitable for high school students. I will be reading the second book in the series, The Elite, to see how things progress.