I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was a little bit wary going into this book as it seems to have really split reviewers, even those who loved The Selection. I’ve seen many comments saying that readers felt that the competition; the Bachelor-style element of this novel was lost in favour of focusing on the love triangle, but I have to disagree. If anything, the competition is more fierce – okay, it’s lost some of its formality, but that’s because all of these girls have begun to build real relationships with Prince Maxon. It’s tense, and the stakes are getting higher every day each girl stays in The Selection.
There were some questionable metaphors here which made me chuckle; “she was always put together…but today she looked as if her body was full of sand”. But then I put my judgey-reviewer hat away and I realised that this series is fun. It’s such a light, easy read; I’m generally a relatively slow reader, taking around a week to finish a book, but I read this in less than two days. It is a little fluffy in places but, still, it’s so entertaining and there were plenty of points that I didn’t want to put this book down. There’s a little more world-building in this second installment; the introduction of a diary which belonged to Gregory Illea gives America an insight into the history of the world she lives in, and the present danger of rebel attacks and war becomes more prevalent.
But, I did have one big issue with this book. While the writing was fun and the plot was well-paced, the main character completely threw me. There were times when she behaved incredibly selfishly; wrapped up in her own problems with no consideration for the world around her or the people she claims to care about most. [POSSIBLE MILD SPOILER] There’s a point where Maxon has to travel to New Asia with his father to placate the potential war going on, and America runs straight into Aspen’s arms. She tells the reader; “Maxon has gone. This changes everything.” Erm, he hasn’t abandoned you? He’s putting himself in danger to try to help your country. I was so perplexed I thought I must be missing something, as I don’t understand how she didn’t show an ounce of compassion or concern for the man she’s supposed to be falling for. [END OF SPOILER]
The only saving grace here is that America does eventually begin to realise the error of her ways near the end of this novel; “Oh. Wow. After everything he’d done for me, had I really never done anything for him in return?”. So I can only hope that this is a deliberate plot device for the author. Perhaps she’s simply trying to show that America is young and flawed – no one likes picture-perfect characters – but if that’s the case, she takes it a little far.
Either way, this book is light, entertaining and quite addictive. It’s flawed, but I still want to know what happens next.