Having a copy of The One waiting for me on my bookshelf and it having been over two years since I read The Selection, I decided a re-read of the first book in the series was in order. I bring you my unorthodox re-read review of Kiera Cass’ The Selection in list format, detailing the top ten lessons this reality-show-dystopian-hybrid conveys.
1) Pay your debt, lest you be taken over by wealthier countries. This was an aspect of the book I really found interesting, perhaps because the fate of America (now known as Illéa in this series) isn’t too unbelievable…
2) Dystopian societies thrive on caste systems. I think this is how this book often gets compared to the Hunger Games, only instead of geography determining your profession/social standing, caste does. It’s an interesting concept, and seeing how the professions rank in this series (with artists only one step above servants but teachers above merchants) is interesting to compare to our society today, which while not caste based, often have strong correlations between certain professions, economic and social standing.
3) Dystopian societies also rely on strange names. Sure you have the conventional names like Elise and Natalie, but you also have Bariel, the Tuesday, and America. (Oh, the irony). I will admit I have a secret love for book characters with strange names, so no judgement here.
4) There will always be a mean girl. Oh, Celeste. I’m hoping her character will be more developed and complex- villains are always more interesting when there are things to like about them!
5) Yelling at your date upon first meeting (especially if he’s part of the aristocracy) is a sure fire way to get him to like you. Plucky protagonist America has some qualities I admire, though sometimes her actions are a little over the top, too obviously intent on bucking the status quo.
6) When juggling two love interests, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your mind about how you feel. The love triangle was interesting (and challenging, I can’t quite decide who I’m more for) although at times I wanted to see more decisiveness from America.
7) The public always likes a good reality competition. Especially when it involves royalty and romance. I’m just as sucked in to the outcome of the competition as the citizens of Illéa. It’s tuned into my secret liking for shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Joe Millionaire.
8) Rebels will attack frequently and with vague intentions. The “rebels” were almost non-entities that no one knew anything about, and apparently can just walk up to the castle front doors any time of day?
9) It’s important to remember where you come from. I found America’s experience as a Five to be one of the interesting aspect of The Selection, and to see how she brings different perspectives to the other girls of higher castes and even to Maxon himself.
10) It’s all about the dress. Even if I didn’t enjoy this book (which I did) I’d be hard pressed to pass up that cover. It’s gorgeous and my favorite color, and looks oh-so-pretty on my shelves.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5