Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review Wednesday: The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

BLOG SPOTLIGHT: As a new feature, I'll be periodically linking to some of my new and old favorite blogs! Today, I give you Jennifer Hawes, who writes at The Writing Game. I discovered Jennifer during the A-Z Challenge, which she wrote on the fascinating Hannibal, Missouri. If you're not already reading her incredibleness, head on over to her blog and check her out!

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

(DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually finished The One yet...but read on =) This is my opinion of the series so far.)

It's so funny...I originally started this blog for book reviewing purposes. I don't even remember the last time I posted a review. Go me.

I'm the kind of person who almost always finishes a book. Unless there is an f-bomb in every other sentence (shout out to Stephen King's Under The Dome--why, Stephen, why?! You're such a good writer, there are so many other words you can use!) or the writing is absolutely abominable, I will trudge my way through. It's curiosity mostly that grants me perseverance...I JUST have to see what is going to happen. I guess if you can make me interested in your characters, you can make me do anything. 

Usually, if I'm going to drop a book, I'll do it within the first half. After that, I won't be able to stop. 

I originally picked up The Selection because the cover was GORGEOUS. Yes, I admit it, I totally judge books by their covers. 

Unfortunately, the beauty of the cover far surpasses the beauty of the writing.

The Selection is basically the Hunger Games with frilly dresses instead of camouflage and cat fights instead of bow and arrows. Literally. But here is a more "professional" sounding summary of the first book via Goodreads:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Oh, pardon me while I swoon.

So since I've already been bratty about this book (I'm sorry, really trying to be good lately), I should throw out some positives before I get even sassier. Because, folks, it's gonna happen.

I really liked the characters, originally. Well, I should say, I found that they were very well-rounded and each was unique and realistic. The bad guys weren't totally evil and the good guys weren't totally good. The author started with an awesome cast of characters and I was excited about the potential of the book.

I was quickly disappointed, as the characters were the only well-done thing in it. And even that didn't last. *dramatic sob*

One, the plot wasn't totally original. For me, it felt a lot like The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (awesome MG book) with the whole get a bunch of local girls and turn them into princesses who vie for the prince's heart. Hale did it much better.

Two, there were plot holes. Lots of plot holes. It's pretty easy for me to believe in basically any story, but there were parts that even I was like COME ON.

Three, the plot felt like it just didn't move. I feel like it takes two steps forward and then five backward. You think something is resolved and that it isn't. I get that  can be realistic at times, but absolutely everything in the book was you-have-it-now-you-don't. And it's exhausting, honestly.

Four, I just started reading the third book in this series and the characters feel exactly the same as they were in book one. There are moments of development during which I scream YES YES THANK YOU PLEASE DO NOT REVERT BACK INTO WHO YOU WERE...but to no avail. Things happen to the characters, but for the most part, they remain the same. It's really sad, because they are so well developed and they deserve to grow...but nope, they're stuck, just like the plot.

Five, I just don't like the main character, America. I kind of did, originally, but now I don't understand her at all. She irks my soul.

That being said, one of the nastier characters has evolved nicely. She's probably my favorite part of the whole series. I'm kinda pulling for her to just ruin everyone's lives.

Like I said, I'm on the third book (pretty sure there's only one more left after this one). I'm not sure if I'm going to finish it. A Hunger Games/Divergent-like riot is going on...please. Can we be original for once?! There are more things to write about besides dystopian uprisings against the government.

That being said, I do want to know what happens. I have spent a lot of time with these characters...though I've spent most of the time being annoyed with them...but still. I feel kind of trapped. However, each time I pick up the book, my annoyance increases and it ebbs away at any intrigue that I might have once had.

So chances of me finishing are slim.

Should you read this series? I would say no, you shouldn't. Even if you're not turned off by the fact that it isn't original, the writing is not very good. I don't really understand the hype besides the fact that they are "glamorous" and easy to read and not very deep (none of which particularly appeal to me). Literary cocaine, as my dad says. Addictive and not really doing anything good for you.

And just one last note-- The Selection is a New York Times Best Seller. I have come to discover that just because you're a New York Best Selling Author does not make you a good writer. Which means that to be a good writer, you don't have to write a New York Times Best Seller. Does that make sense?

Have you read The Selection Books? If so, what was your opinion?

(I have no idea why part of this is highlighted, past the summary...sorry! Nothing I do is unhighlighting it, so we're stuck...oh well. Ew technology.)

(image found via,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNG4jXSyEkaS6uFRc3-nLXmFHoKUXA&ust=1430924134652173)


  1. The gowns are so beautiful. I'd probably pick one up and take a peek. Too bad they aren't as beautifully written as the covers. I couldn't get through the first book of 50 Shades. Felt like an outcast among my friends. They all loved them. Look at how long Survivor's stuck it out. Couldn't stand the show 15 years ago..

    1. Aren't they though? I totally want to read one. Yeah, never picked up 50 Shades for moral reasons, but I've heard that the writing isn't very good, either. And I never really got into Survivor either...thanks for commenting!

    2. Wear, not read! I definitely READ the books and wish I hadn't!

  2. I love your reviewing style - so in-depth and well thought out. Like you, I'm happy to go along with most plot lines, but sometimes I just have to stop reading.

    Thanks for following my blog. Once I've got IWSG out of the way, I'll pop back and read the A-Z posts I missed out on :-)

  3. I haven't even heard of the books. The covers are gorgeous. Too bad the stories don't live up to the covers. Thanks for your review.

  4. I haven't picked these up b/c the synopsis never begged to me- Read me! Which is kinda what has to happen for me to crack a cover these days. Just too many books, so little time! =)

    1. I feel you...I was definitely more attracted to the covers than the actual story!

  5. When I was a teenager, I LOVED Stephen King. And, yes, at that time the profanity always bugged me! This series is beautiful. It's hard to say what makes a bestseller. There are books like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl that simply get buzz. Often what happens is someone in Hollywood learns about the book and buys it, which generates buzz. With the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, what happened was that the author was a Twilight fan fiction writer and she had a following. Fifty Shades started out as a story about the Twilight characters and it had such a following, she made it into a book. By the time it hit bookshelves, there was an audience waiting to buy it. The momentum built from there.

    Point being--we just never know what went on behind the scenes to boost a book to bestseller status.

  6. I agree, the covers are gorgeous. I haven't read The Selection series, though, as I've always felt a little "meh" about them.