Also by this author: The Selection, The Heir (The Selection, #4), The Crown (The Selection, #5)
Series: The Selection #3
Also in this series: The Selection, The Heir (The Selection, #4), The Crown (The Selection, #5)
Published by HarperCollins on May 6th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 323 •Format: Hardcover •Source: Purchased
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And 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 realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants. From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.
I have a very conflicted relationship with The Selection Series. I love the concept of mixing society’s obsession with reality tv, especially that focuses on relationships, with a dystopian, futuristic, post World War 4 America. I think the caste division is so interesting. I liked the idea of the ruler of Illéa marrying one of the people as a show of support to the country. Yet at the same time there’s something about these books that prevents me from really losing myself in them, at sometimes grow bored with them toward the middle. I feel the world building could be more in-depth, the writing more refined, and at times I felt as bored as America was being stuck in the palace with nothing to do but sit in the Women’s Room day after day. Yet despite these flaws, I found The One to be highly addictive toward the end, and deliver some plot twists that I truly did not see coming.
This book picks up very soon after The Elite leaves off, and there are still vestiges of the love triangle that have to play out to their bitter end in this installment (in case you were wondering, I am not an Aspen fan, no matter how many times he throws himself in front of a bullet for America). Yet I also was pleasantly surprised to encounter more character growth for the other members of The Elite. Readers finally see the girls begin to bond over their experience rather than as solely catty competitors, and that was something I was waiting for: to see the backgrounds and personalities of such different girls from such different castes. America’s family gets more fleshed out too, and I loved the opportunity to see her return home for the first time after her participation in The Selection, to see how much she’s changed and how she’s grown as a person and started to live a life defined by what she wants.
The “rebels” are on one hand more explained, and on the other hand still vague entities. While a lot more information is given (and some shocking revelations are made about who supports them) the rebels still seem like a disconnected entity from the rest of the book (especially the Southern rebels. How are there SO MANY attacks on the palace? How do they KEEP GETTING IN? I can appreciate the need for them as a plot device but the royal family’s security is laughable considering how the rebels stroll into the palace and cause destruction and mayhem on an almost weekly basis!) I really think the series would have been stronger if the rebel cause and background had been introduced earlier in the series and developed more, for it keeps the series from feeling like a serious dystopian.
There are several more “challenges” and “performances” The Elite must go through in this book in order to show how well they could handle the title of Queen, and one of them fascinated me: The Convicting. The girls are each required to hand down a prison sentence to a prisoner in front of the nation in order to prove how solemnly they uphold the laws of Illéa, and as a ritual showing the importance and integrity of the (undoubtedly flawed) law. I thought it was a fascinating concept to be featured in a dystopian, as it served to oppress the women of The Elite by forcing them to dole out punishment and show deference to the crown but also to empower them at the same time, by giving them the authority to act as a judge. It’s moments like this that make me excited for The Heir to see how Kiera Cass further fleshes out the world of Illéa through the use of rituals.
I will also admit that this book really surprised me at the end! There was a plot twist that featured many MAJOR character deaths, and since hardly any (if any, that I can think of anyway) characters died in the first two books, it blew me away that Cass gave some such a brutal end! (That’s the way of disgruntled dystopian societies though, I suppose). I was surprised as how upset I was over a few of the deaths, even yelling out loud when I read it, which goes to show that despite my issues with the series I did indeed become attached and The One really helped me feel closer to the characters.
Overall: The One was a strong ending to a series that at times seemed stagnant and lacked depth, with characters getting much more development and some truly shocking twists! It made me glad that I stuck with the series and excited for Cass’ potential to expand on the details and history of Illéa in her new book, The Heir.
Click here to read my review of The Selection.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge