Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Selection/The Prince, Kiera Cass
3 out of 5 so far.
This is the Bachelor set in a post-apocalyptic America. After America was taken over by China (because we owed them too much and couldn't pay it back and after we were defeated by the Chinese and they realized we were beyond bankrupt, they became the American State of China and were puppeteered by China), Russia attempted to invade both China's mainland and the American State of China in which Gregory Illea was able to lead to our independence from China once again. Not wanting the tainted name of America, the land was re-Christianed Illea. A monarchy state. The way it works is that any princess born to the royal family would be married to another country for alliance purposes (very old fashioned for such a futuristic time), the Princes when they become of age, have a lottery drawing of 35 young women within a certain age range chosen at random to come to the palace to see if they could become the new princess of Illea.
The society is organized by birthright into castes One-Eight. These castes determine which professions you are allowed to pursue and how much monetary gain you will most likely attain. Ones are royalty (and clergy). Twos are military and celebrities, Threes are the inventors, thinkers, teachers, Fours farmers and business owners, Fives classical musicians, artists, sculptors, Sixes are maids and office clerks, Sevens manual laborers, Eights are orphans who can't verify birth caste, homeless, drug addicts, and physical and mentally handicapped (this detailed explanation is found in the deleted material edited out for one reason or another but found on Kiera Cass's website).
America Singer, our protagonist is a Five. She is an accomplished classical musician who sings beautifully and plays many different instruments with passion. I like this. I can relate-since I am a classical musician myself :-) She's already decided The Selection is bogus and the Prince is shallow, but her mom REALLY wants her to go. For one, every week America is away as part of the Selection, their family gets a check of compensation. That money is badly needed. And for anther, if she can become the Princess, her whole family is elevated to the status of a One. But there's one glitch. She's already in love with someone else.
*sigh* So this book predictable STARTS OUT having a love triangle. I am so OVER love triangles! But if that is the POINT of these stories, then maybe I can handle it. The Prince Novella is basically the beginning of The Selection from Prince Maxon's viewpoint. Much the same what Midnight Sun is to Twilight. Many interesting things are learned from being inside the palace. Like just how everyone has a hunch that the Selection isn't as random as they think? Well, they're right.
But I AM curious to see how things play out. There are two rebel groups against the Royal Family. One that seems to be constantly looking for something (breaking into the palace and ransacking things but never taking anything) and one who just keeps attempting to get in. We (the reader) don't know what either group wants yet. I assume we'll get to know more. But we DO find out that as Maxon cares for America, his eyes are opened to the society outside his walls that he's been sheltered from. Because America's caste is so low, she is aware of everyone even lower. She describes the hunger that drives a boy to steal food-and then be whipped for the crime. Based on that, Maxon creates a new policy for a Food Assistance program for anyone in castes Five, Six, Seven or Eight, where they may go to get at least one complete meal in the evenings. So good things are happening. And I hope MORE good things like this happen because he will become more aware of the "working class."
I have Book 2, The Elite (the top 10 Selected....although there is a slight change to that number at the end of Book 1) on hold at the library and will get it soon. There is another Novella (The Guard....cuz you know it wouldn't be a love triangle if America's Love Interest #1 didn't happen to show up at the Palace right smack dab in the middle of the Selection where she was SO determined NOT to like Prince Maxon but found in getting to know him that maybe he's not so bad after all) so I'm gonna assume it's from HIS point of view, which I'll probably read after The Elite, and the final book in the series is The One, which comes out in May.
Decent writing and likable characters, I just think I'm turned off by the whole Love Triangle thing. I feel like it gives girls false ideals of how their love lives should go. Growing up, I was ecstatic when finally ONE BOY showed romantic interest in me. But because I never seemed to manage to get anyone else (whom I was also attracted to) to be interested in me romantically, I had a false idea that the ONE guy who liked me would be the ONLY guy to EVER like me. So I clung to that. Probably too hard. Luckily I met my husband (who happens to be maybe the THIRD guy to show true interest in me that was more than fleeting). But it still sometimes haunts me, because literature like this (not to mention the other media outlets of tv shows and movies, etc et all), show that beautiful, likable, lovable women are desired and pursued by at LEAST two men at the same time. So OBVIOUSLY if I never found myself in such a predicament where I had to be the one to CHOOSE which guy to be with, something was lacking for me in the beautiful, likable or lovable part of me.
BUT if you look at this book from a strict entertainment value, I stand by my 3 out of 5 rating still. We will see where it goes politically....