I was so excited once I was finally able to buy and read this book with no distractions or anything getting in the way. It was worth the wait and every penny. I believe I can’t do this review without going into details so beware the spoilers.
First, I was very nervous about this book because in my experience the last book of a dystopian trilogy never ends the way I want to (i.e. The Hunger Games, Matched, Delirium, etc.). However, with this novel Kiera Cass did an excellent job of tying up lose ends, giving us a happy ending but also keeping it real about the costs of war.
Although there were many deaths there was also so much happiness and love that although I cried I still smiled because this was such a beautifully written book.
If you’ve never read The Selection series before shame on you. The series follows the story of a girl named America who lives in the Illéa, the dystopian version of the U.S., and is selected to be part of a competition to win the prince, Maxon’s, heart and the crown. It’s kind of like The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games which could sound like a train wreck but is actually really awesome.
As with many dystopian series with a female lead there is a love triangle but what’s interesting is how Cass produces it. America enters into the “selection”, the choosing of competitors for the contest for Maxon’s heart, only because her boyfriend, Aspen, tells her to, breaking up with her in the process. America thereby enters a contest, which ideally is based on finding the Prince his true love, with a broken heart. She already knows (or at least thinks she knows) what love is and now she’s lost it but has to pretend she hasn’t because her relationship with Aspen also went against the rules of her society.
Of course things get complicated when America and Maxon actually have feelings for each other and then get even more complicated when Aspen shows up at the castle where the competition takes place. Talk about an awkward situation. Throw in the fact that there are 34 other girls competing for Maxon’s heart and drama ensues.
Besides the love triangle(s) there’s actually real problems in Illéa. There’s rebels everywhere and the society is based on a caste system that does well for those in the upper castes (1-4) but is terrible for those in the lower ones (5-8). Needless to say there’s a lot of political unrest.
Fast forward to this newest book and the competition is down to only four ladies and rebels are getting even more rebellious. Besides that America has finally realized that she loves Maxon and is now ready to fight for him. However, they still have a lot of issues to work through, mainly trust. Seeing as how America still hasn’t told him her ex-boyfriend is one of his guards trust is something they really need to work on. Plus neither of them have the courage to say they love each other (even though it’s so obvious).
Again spoiler warning. If you don’t want to know how it all ends stop right here. This is your last warning.
Okay, here I go.
She chose Maxon. They’re married and she’s queen and everything is right. Except for the fact that Celeste died. And so did Queen Amberly. I don’t really care about King Clarkson but I mean it sucks that Maxon lost both his parents in one day. Also, America’s dad died and he was the best.
Still, I’m glad that Cass wrote it so that America and Aspen are still friends (family really) and they both found their true loves. The greatest thing about this is the way Cass wrote it, it’s not as if Aspen lost America and settled for Lucy. Instead he realized for himself that although he still loves America he wasn’t in love with her and it was the same for America. They both recognized that they would always mean something to each other but they weren’t meant to be. To me that’s how a first love should end.
Amongst other things Cass presented an ending in which there’s hope for a better future but also doesn’t exactly say that everything is perfect and fixed, not in Illéa or in Maxon and America’s relationship. America even says it:
But even now I know this isn’t a fairy tale. I know that we’ll have hard times, confusing times. I know that things won’t always happen the way we want them to and that we’ll have to work to remember that we chose this. It won’t be perfect, not all the time. This isn’t happily ever after. It’s so much more than that.
That’s my favorite part of this novel and this series as a whole. Cass keeps it real even within a dystopian, fiction novel. She recognizes that love isn’t easy. She acknowledges that a messed up society can’t be fixed over night. She points out all these things but still provides fans with the happy ending they look for in a fiction novel.
In summary, it’s brilliant and I loved every part of this series and the long journey that got us to this end. But then again is it really the end?
Now a days most dystopian novels come in the form of trilogies and it seems that Cass is following that tradition. However, on the cover of The One it doesn’t say, “The final book in The Selection series,” or anything to that affect. Instead it says, “Book Three of the Selection Series.” Wait, what?
Is it possible that this book isn’t the end of this marvelous series? Could there be more? So far Cass hasn’t said anything about that. However, she did announce that she will be releasing a digital novella about Queen Amberly’s selection process, explaining once and for all how the heck she ended up with a jerk like King Clarkson. Therefore we do have something to look forward to but if Cass is planning to continue the series so far she’s been quiet about it.
Personally, I’m totally satisfied with this ending and I’m not really sure where she could go from here. However, until she says it’s definitely not happening I’m open to the idea.
To put it simply, get this book and if you haven’t already, get all the books in this series. It’s awesome and I can’t wait to reread them all over again.
Favorite Line: “Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.”
Stars: 5 out of 5. I don’t think I can emphasize any further how much I loved this book.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! Buy every book/novella in this series and then reread them until the end of your days.