Friday, May 30, 2014

Will She Be the One?

Oh, the Land of the Beautiful and Frilly Dresses! It is funny, because these dresses are what drew me to this series, but I also fear they might be what keeps people from reading this interesting story. In The One by Kiera Cass, The Selection series comes a final conclusion as Prince Maxon must choose his final bride.

For America, the Selection started just as a means to better life for her family. All girls in the Selection move up in caste and their families get compensation that could mean the difference between abject poverty and food on the table. So, despite the fact that she cared deeply about Aspen, a boy who was a caste below her, she did her duty and joined the Selection. What she didn't expect was to care deeply about Maxon. And Aspen's appearance on the guard in the castle made things confusing for America... at first. It became clear fairly quickly that America wanted to be with Maxon. For the other girls, the crown was the goal, and Maxon was the means to get it; for America, the crown was just a hassle that came with the man she truly cared about.

Unfortunately, the path to the crown was not so easy. it was clear the king did not feel the same about America as Maxon and his mother did. She did not bow to societal pressures. She would not allow people to be punished beyond their crimes of necessity, like feeding their children. Despite the needs of a princess, America had been brought up to stand up for what she thought was right, and she would let no one, not even the king, intimidate her. She had everything to lose and everything to gain, but America wouldn't be scared away from doing the right thing.

OK. This started out a puffy, goofy story for me, but quickly, in the first book, I new I loved America. This girl had a metaphorical right hook that would knock you on your butt. She was a lot of fun and still a very strong young woman despite her years. I loved her. I also really liked Maxon. He grew up under a tyrant, and he would not let that control the person he was destined to become. I know the premise of this book was a love triangle, but I think if you read the first two books, you would agree with me that Maxon was always going to be the clear winner in our hearts, and I am quite simply OK with that! Don't get me wrong, I liked Aspen and respected that he cared about America, but she and Maxon were wonderful together. In fact, she had the ability to make Maxon rise to the true king he was destined to be.

I still think the story lacked real world-building, but my love for the characters overshadowed that need for me. It was more important for me to hear about the amazing people they had all become, even Celeste, the stereotypical mean girl in the competition! There were so many back stories to the girls and transformations, that it really became a character driven story and even if there was a rich world around it, that world would have quickly faded into the background. I loved the final conclusion, and I will miss this series. It might have started with the frilly dress, but it ended with the revolutionaries who won't settle for a broken world that harms its people.

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