In The Selection, Prince Maxon of Illea is looking for his bride, and according to his countries customs, he must choose her from a set of 35 women brought to the palace. Each woman is from a different province and they are all ready to fight tooth-and-nail for the prince. All of them, except for Lady America Singer of Carolina, Five.
The country of Illea is built really well. I understand the provinces and the rebels seem truly terrifying, though I am wondering how it is they get in and out of the palace grounds. Through a brief, but well-written history lesson, we get to see how the country is formed. The most interesting part of this world is the caste system. Flash back to reality for a minute and remember this isn’t the first time humanity’s seen a caste system. Hell, India still functions with a caste system. It’s miserable. There are people dying over social stratification issues just like this. It’s very difficult to raise your station, and there is a lot of discrimination when it comes to the lower castes.
Back in Illea, there are 8 castes, Identified by their number. Ones are royalty. Twos are Celebrities and Military. Threes are the teachers, scientists and inventors. Fours are merchants. Fives are artists. Sixes are indoor servants. Sevens are labourers. And we don’t talk about the Eights. All of the castes technically have equal rights (except Eights), but the larger number you are, the less you make for the job that you do. Many families from the lower castes make attempts to marry their daughters up (presumably the couple takes on the caste of the boy) so that they may live a more comfortable life. Once you’ve moved to a different caste, you’re expected to take on an appropriate role for your new caste. I found it to be well-developed and believable. It gave a lot of insight into how society is structured, what is valued most, and where our characters fit in the grand scheme of things.
Speaking of characters, America is an idiot. She continually makes bad choices she knows she shouldn’t. For example, verbally abusing a prince, on more than one occasion, is not only grounds for her dismissal from the Selection, but if he were any less sweet, he could actually punish her. As in a whipping or making her an Eight. Also, her and Aspen need to keep it in their pants for the same reasons. Most of this comes from the fact that she’s stubborn, but it’s not endearing, it’s just an eye-roll.
Character development, as a whole, was not good. For anyone whose read the book, can you name more than one or two personality traits per character? Let me try.
America: stubborn, modest
Aspen: proud, brooding
That’s all I got, and that’s a problem. How can anyone relate to a character with no personality?
A piece of literary art, The Selection is not. But that doesn’t mean it was all bad. It had some really dopey lines that I had to laugh at. The pacing was great and it was a fun read. I look forward to reading The Elite.
- 4/5 Stars
- The caste system was realistic
- Poor character development
- Fun, frivolous novel