Categories
books & reading reviews

Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

26074181The Crown by Kiera Cass (The Selection #5)

Page Count: 278

Published: May 3rd 2016

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Note: If you are new to this series, make sure you start at the beginning: The Selection by Kiera Cass is where it all began. If you haven’t read the other books yet, I don’t recommend reading this review because spoilers.

You have been warned.


I hummed and hawed a long time before finally picking up the final book in The Selection series. I know I am not alone in my disappointment with book four, The Heir. How the daughter of America and Maxon could be so unlikeable was shocking. I think I actually took the blow of Eadlyn’s personality flaws better than a lot of readers, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read book 5 if there wasn’t going to be a lot of character growth, you know? So I put it off.

But this series is so addictive and I really wanted to know how it all turned out and eventually I fell into one of those reading slumps that can only be cured by a favorite fluffy series. A series that pulls you in and owns you until the last page. The Selection has always fit that bill.

I was so relieved to find that The Crown totally delivers that character growth that Eadlyn desperately needed. She comes out of her comfort zone, grows up a lot and even falls in love.

And here’s the honest truth: I think we all have a tendency to be a little self absorbed and oblivious to the actual world around us, especially as teenagers. And usually we grow out of it and start to notice the needs and feelings of the rest of the world. Eadlyn just happened to be extremely self absorbed and grew up in a life designed to spoil her and coddle those tendencies. So let’s be real – she’s pretty normal. She just lives in the spotlight and you know how we love to judge people in the spotlight.

If anything, this character flaw made for an extremely satisfying reading experience for the last book as we get to see her grow and mature when the stakes are high and blossom into a pretty awesome person. Add to this some family drama, some political intrigue and even better: a love story.

So if you are also sitting on the fence with this one, allow me to reassure you: it’s worth the read! 

Categories
books

BOOK REVIEW: THE ONE BY KIERA CASS

fangirlingjen

the one by kiera cassI first read The Selection back in July 2013, in nearly one sitting. It was a feverish love affair from the start and I think it took me less than three days to finish it. I downloaded the following book, The Elite and her novella, The Prince before even finishing the first book and devoured them in quick succession. I then basically had to sit on my hands and pout for almost an entire year before finally getting my hands on a copy of the final book in the series (not including a novella or two), The One.

I am not alone in my struggle to wait patiently and I was totally like a kid at Christmas when I finally purchased and began to read the beloved and much awaited final installment. Before I get to my review, here’s a quick description from goodreads:

For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.

Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

So. A year later and nothing has changed for me. Like the previous books in this series, it was addictive and completely sucked me in. Not only did I literally set aside the book I was currently reading for this one, I stayed up way too late and ignored a few chores during the day to enjoy it. There is just something about Cass’s writing style that lends itself to binge reading. It’s not a matter of long flowy descriptive chapters to make English majors swoon or complex plot developments though there are a fair share of those. It’s more like that incredibly compelling show on tv that you wait for all week and love in a nearly guilty pleasure kind of way.

The thing that truly makes these books succeed is the character development and the compelling plot. Cass does a great job making you truly CARE about these people and their futures. It has a compelling love story (or two) and enough tragedies and intrigue and action to keep you coming back for more. And it boasts a dystopian story that manages to feel fresh and avoid seeming over done and cliched. I’m sure on a number of levels that it does play off of other dystopian stories but it doesn’t feel that way while you’re reading it.

In some ways the end of the book felt a little too easy, as though half the obstacles facing the characters throughout the series just sort of magically worked themselves out so that everything could be tied neatly with a bow. But overall I think this is actually fitting. Sometimes when one thing comes together, everything else falls into place and frankly some story lines and struggles don’t necessarily merit the same amount of follow through – the book might have felt cluttered and overdone if Cass had taken the time to hash everything out.

One thing I was struck by was the feeling of hope and optimism that radiate from this story, which is rare for a dystopian story but I think much needed. Though America and the rest of the characters certainly deal with their fare share of tragedy, heartbreak and a bit of teen angst, they seem to come back to a feeling of hope and a belief that they truly can change the world which I think is much healthier than “everything sucks and everyone is corrupt eventually” – a sentiment that I’ve felt pretty firmly in a lot of the other dystopian books lately.

In short: LOVED. LOVED. LOVED.

This review is cross blogged at Jen’s personal blog.

Categories
books

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

the selection I have been eager to read The Selection by Kiera Cass since I first laid eyes on the cover art. Reading the description, I was hooked enough to buy a copy stat. Of course then it sat on my bookshelves for awhile waiting for me to be in between book club books and other books that had simply grabbed my attention first, but then finally it was time to read The Selection!

“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.”

So the story is sort of  like The Bachelor but set in a dystopian future society in which America (the country) is almost unrecognizable, with a new name and new leaders (royal ones) and a new way of life involving a caste system which determines what jobs you can have and how much money you’re likely to make doing it.

But every time a crown prince is of age to marry, they hold a Selection that women from all over the country, regardless of caste, can enter for a chance to woo and marry him. The whole thing is televised and publicized and very much in the public eye – because of course a futuristic America would do that!

So the only thing that kept this from being a five star read for me is that the writing itself is not quite up to par for me – but it’s a book written for tweens and teens so I think that’s likely the reason. This is almost completely made up for by the fact that the story is really good and the characters are fantastic.

This book sucked me in and refused to let go until I was finished a dizzying two days later. If you know me, you know that that is an absurdly fast time for me to read a book. I literally spent all day Wednesday with the book by my side, reading it any chance I got until I finished it that night. It was that good.

Really, it’s the love story which makes this book compelling for me – give me a good love story and I will follow it until the end typically. Add in a sassy heroine who refuses to just do what society asks of her and really makes an excellent narrator as she is very hyper aware of everything going on around her – and two love interests that are equally compelling for different reasons. I downloaded the sequel to the book and a novella short story featuring the Prince before even finishing book one. It was that good.

How long does it typically take you to read a book?