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Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Elite

(The Selection #2)
by Kiera Cass

Genre: Alternate History, Dystopian
Hardback: 323 Pages
Publication: April 23, 2013 by Harper Teen


Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

◆ A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review ◆

I was looking forward to reading this book because I loved The Selection so much. However, it fell flat for me and was not at all what I was expecting for the second book in a planned trilogy.

Mysteries were introduced in The Selection with the rebel groups and political intrigue of life at the palace. There was much potential for The Elite to explore the world and set up the plot of the "final battle." Instead, it focuses on America's love life and how torn she is between Maxon and Aspen. I know that she entered the Selection following a bad breakup with Aspen, and it's understandable that her heart is in turmoil. However, it wasn't what I wanted to see in a dystopian. And, while she doesn't mean to play with their feelings, she ends up hurting both of them with her indecision, and watching her do this to them, to herself, made me lose some of the respect I'd built for her. She also nearly wrecks her chance of being with the one she truly loves because of her inability to open her heart and trust in what's happening between them.

I really didn't see much purpose in Aspen chasing America all the way to the Selection. (I was actually a bit creeped out... it's almost like a crazy ex-boyfriend stalker scenario. And he was a really big jerk about breaking up. Who is he to start talking about how great they were when he's the one who didn't have the confidence to make their relationship work?) What America says to him at the end, however, has me wondering if there is some greater role to his presence at the palace. Hopefully there is because I'd hate to see him serve the sole purpose of adding a spice of forbidden romance to the whole affair. I'm not a big fan of drama-filled love triangles, especially when it causes the plot to stagnate.

The world building was also sadly lacking in this novel, which was my biggest grief. For me, I expect the second book in a trilogy to thicken the plot and make preparations for the epic ending that's to come in the third book. While we do learn more about the history of the world in The Elite, it isn't much. There is still so much more being kept from us. I was also expecting to learn more about the rebel groups, but nothing much happens here other than a couple more incidents. I'm not sure how the rebel plotline can be wrapped up satisfactorily with only one more book left in the trilogy.

I do want to know how the Selection wraps up, so I'll be reading the third book. And who knows? While The Elite ended up being a letdown, maybe I'll end up loving The One as much as I did The Selection. After The Elite, however, I don't have as high expectations for the trilogy as I did before.

  1. The Selection
  2. The Elite
  3. The One
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6 comments on "Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass"
  1. Sorry you didn't like this more. My daughter is really looking forward to reading this. Me not as excited. I'll have to see what she thinks of it before deciding whether to read on.

    1. Thanks, Natlie. I understand the sentiment. I hope your daughter enjoys this book more than I did. From what I hear, I'm actually in the minority that didn't like The Elite.

  2. Goodness, sad to see it disappointed you so badly. I hated all the indecision and back and forth. Maxon and America both disappointed me :( However I still liked it because there were some good scenes and there were some cool elements. I do (definitely) agree that The Selection was much better though. Good review!

    1. I agree that there were some good scenes, though I also hated all the indecision. I'm still not quite sure how America made up her mind about who she wants to choose (or if it really is made up at all).

    2. I don't really think she did! I really hated it: Maxon fell from my graces and I found myself liking Aspen a little bit more, but I was overall disappointed with the characters :/

  3. I got this book after reading The Selection for a book club I am leading at the school I teach at. The first book made me want to know what happened so I got The Elite. The book is an easy, very interesting read. Great for high school aged girls!
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