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Book: The Elite (Selection Book Two)
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Dystopian Romance
Medium Read In: Hardback
Rating (Scaled 1-10): 7
Why I'm Reading It: I'm not sure why, honestly. The first book and the mid-quel weren't too awesome or anything, but for whatever reason I feel compelled to continue reading about these characters and what is going to end up happening to America and Maxon (and kind of Aspen). Plus, we get a ridiculously gorgeous cover (look left). I'm obsessed with this mirrors/dresses theme going on!
Summary: (Mild spoilers for the end of Book One) After the dangerous rebel attacks that occurred in The Selection, Prince Maxon sent all but six of the contestants home. These six are a group of girls called "the Elite." The Elite begin their princess-training while still competing for Prince Maxon's heart- and his crown.
America remains conflicted between her emotional feelings for Maxon as well as Aspen, especially as the Selection becomes more competitive. She is determined to figure out who her heart belongs to, while discovering more about who she is.
Review: The Elite has many improvements over its predecessor, The Selection. First and foremost, we actually met the antagonists during one of the rebel raids. The scene was brief, and I was left a bit confused as to what in the world was going on, but it still shows an attempt to bring the "dystopia" side of the novel to the front. This, of course, is where the novel needs more trying. I can't really tell you why it is a dystopia. However, the romance remains strong, and the main reason I stuck my nose into this book.
The romance elements are strong and very, very there. However, as the main focus of the novel, I was sort of disappointed by America's flip-flops. I just wanted to scream at her, "Fickle Mer! Don't you see how awesome Maxon is?" every time she went back to Aspen. She remained pretty focused on Maxon in the novel, but she got pretty angry at both him and Aspen at various points. I'm just waiting for the day Maxon realizes that his favorite girl used to date her main guard… DRAMA.
I'll also say I like how Maxon is finally taking control of his own life. As per The Prince, he normally lets his father do things for him and is walked over plenty. In The Selection, he sort of let America make the decisions in his relationship with her. But within the novel, Maxon begins to connect with the other girls and go on dates with them as well as America. She gets slightly upset over this, but I honestly think it is really good to see Maxon striking out on his own against his father and America and not being held down while he waits for others to make up their minds.
There is some slight character development in other characters as well, including America. To emphasize it the author has America's father send her letters with her attributes spelled out for us. Shoving it down our throats is not the right way to go with that kind of thing. Yet we still get to finally understand some of the background characters, the queen being the first one who we haven't ever really seen. She is very calm and doesn't seem to exert much authority, but the little time we spend with her makes me enjoy her prescence in the novel.
Another character who we saw some more of was May, America's little sister. I really liked her from the first novel, so seeing her and her sister together again was a lot of fun. There was plenty of tension with Celeste, one of the main rival's for Maxon's heart. The interesting Frienemy-ship that developed between Kriss and America also is something to look forward to, should you decide to read it.
The most surprising moment came after their Halloween party when Marlee ran into some trouble. I won't reveal what happens, but it shows lots of improvement in the plot as far as actually affecting characters lives goes.
Overall this novel should be taken for what it is: a nice, fluffy romance novel. It isn't the next Twilight or Harry Potter, but the plot is fun to read and the romance works for a YA. There are some mild improvements over the previous novel, and so it is worth reading to some extent. To read, you can get it here. Happy reading, and see you later!