Monday, May 7, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch:  Fives?  They're the artists.  Singers, painters, sculptors.  Sixes?  They're the laborers.  Eights?  Untouchables.  Ones?  Royalty.  Yeah, in this dystopian story, your main character, America Singer, a five, is in love with Aspen, a six.  Sorta forbidden, sorta not.  But mostly? Forbidden.  Sixes have to work really hard just to put the food on the table.  If America marries Aspen, she'll go down a notch to a six. The Selection is announced, where eligible young women fill out a form and are entered in a drawing to become the next princess of Illea, marrying Prince Maxon Schreave.  Aspen insists America fill out the form, and the rest is the story of America's journey to and at the palace.

Verdict:  Not gonna lie, I bought the book for its delicious cover.  Doesn't it make you drool?  Thing is, after I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.  It's a fast read, an engaging read, well-written and carried me through the story without stumbling.  I have no complaints about its content.  In fact, for a book that has a degree of hot and heaviness in it, it's remarkably clean.  No language.  No sex.  No drugs.  Not really any violence either.  Nothing graphic.  But everything pulling you in with strong emotion and making you want more.  Did I say you?  I meant me.  (see that was my subliminal attempt to make you read it which I just outed myself by telling you in parentheses, lame)

The narrative and characters came together to give me a great read that I heartily recommend to you.  In fact, I'd be happy if this series was the next super-duper-awesome blockbuster series to follow-up Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games if only for the fact that I finished book one and I have no idea if I'm #TeamMaxon or #TeamAspen.  NO IDEA!  That never happens.  I'm firmly on the fence between the two camps and can't make up my mind.  Which means... I've been thinking about this book since I put it down!  I want to demand that everyone I know read it so that they can squee as much as I did and help talk me off the fence and into one of the camps.  Plus, no major technical beefs... a rarity among squeeable fic.

The dystopian element was also pretty awesome because the whole situation is not explained to you.  You only know what America, as a five in the caste knows.  The reader isn't offered any extra information to help him/her figure out what's really going on with the government or its opponents.  So that left me with about seventeen gazillion questions at the end, none of which I even have enough information yet to properly process. Frustrating?  You bet, just frustrating enough for me to want to dive right into the next novel... due out sometime in 2013 I'm sure.   I have to wait a whole year?  Say it ain't so!

There were some scenes that made me think "Hunger Games!" but with a twist.  They were similar, but not the same by any means.  And the premise is similar, but not the same.  I mean, there's a drawing and you go on to assume your fate.  The Selection is just much more glamorous, much less violent, about the same amount of starvation, I'd say.  Fans of Asian history, dystopian romance, and The Bachelor are bound to enjoy.

Connect with author Kiera Cass on Twitter or YouTube or on her website, and find the hardcover at an Indie store near you.  Oh yeah, and last week?  It was #9 on NYT Bestsellers.