Book: The Elite, Kiera Cass,
Series: The Selection Trilogy, #2
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Oh, this book. I found it so difficult to read. Why was it so hard to read? One reason, really. America Singer. I really have to place her on my list of irritating protagonists. I don’t have many of those, except Pierce Oliveria from the Abandon Trilogy. They should get along together as they’re both so annoying.
I knew going into this that it would be a love triangle. I hate love triangles, so the fact that that was a major plot in this book made it so much harder to read. It wasn’t that the boys America’s pining over are bad for her in any way – in fact, I'd say the opposite is true. I think America is bad for them. She kept changing her mind between Aspen and Maxon - which I get; it was a love triangle – but it was the most infuriating thing I'd ever read. There would be times when Maxon would portray just how much he cared for America, and she’d swoon and realise just how perfect he was, but then she’d get paranoid because there were five other girls vying for his attention. So she’d push him away, and in swoops Aspen, with his solidarity and devotedness, and she’d realise that he, not Maxon, is the one for her. But then Maxon would swoop back in and America would get all confused again.
Oh! It drove my head against the wall. It started out so perfectly, I knew something had to go wrong. Which it did, multiple times. And then America would unfairly get furious with Maxon and push him away, but she could never give herself over to Aspen because she still cared for Maxon, and got super jealous when he got close to the other girls BECAUSE AMERICA WAS PUSHING HIM AWAY. Didn’t she realise it was her own fault that he started getting close to the other girls? He gave America his heart, and she wouldn’t accept it. No matter how many times he tried to show his devotion to her, she kept pushing him away.
Of course, this was also due to the fact that if America accepted Maxon’s love, she would have to accept what came with that: the crown. And America was an extremely insecure person, and didn’t feel she was the right person to eventually become queen. Although I felt America was an annoying character, I liked the way Cass handled this part of the book, because it was true. If you were used to being a very lower class member of society, how would you be able to handle becoming a princess, where everyone’s eyes would be on you constantly, waiting for you to screw up? Even though she had been living in the palace for a few months, America still wasn’t used to her high status and the possibility of becoming princess terrified her.
There was also the whole plot with the rebels (Cass’s sad attempt to remind readers that this book was, in fact, a dystopian novel). They aren’t really expanded in this novel, just that the attacks become more frequent and are very violent. This was mainly used as a way to make America feel that Maxon was hiding something from her, which I thought was ridiculous because Maxon isn’t perfect, and can’t tell her every single thing that goes on in his business meetings. Yet this is exactly what America expects, and gets all huffy and acts like a spoilt brat when he doesn’t, pushing him further away and toward the other girls in the Elite.
Speaking of those girls – I liked them, but they weren’t that important to me. I liked a few of them, like Marlee, because she seemed so genuine and Kriss. Even when Maxon gets close to her, I couldn’t bring myself to hate her, because she was a genuinely nice girl.
I liked America’s personality in the first book. She was independent, sassy in a good way, and didn’t try and let the Selection change her. However, she does change in this book. She becomes extremely insecure, paranoid and indecisive. What I did like about her most in the book though, (and also kind of hated) was her intense dislike for Celeste. Celeste is not a nice character. That’s not a spoiler by any means, and neither is revealing America’s dislike to her. While I liked that Cass made America hate Celeste so much (as it’s not something we see too often in protagonists), I didn’t like how she took everything with Celeste and made it really personal, and heightened her paranoia and lack of self-confidence.
This was such a confusing book! I liked the premise, I liked Maxon and how devoted he is to America, I liked the queen, and I want to know how it turns out in the end. I just don’t like America’s character anymore, and I hate how Cass made her change in this book. She seemed to become quite resolved at the end of this book, and I really hope that she becomes more confident in herself and in her feelings for either Maxon or Aspen, and finally makes a decision. I’m ready to finish this love triangle.