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Reaction to... The Elite by Kiera Cass

Honestly, I was a little bit worried about the cover design for THE ELITE. I guess it was the hair and how weird-shaped the model’s head looked on the smaller computer image, but in person it’s just as pretty and eye-catching as it’s predecessor’s. Maybe they’re too much alike and only a little different and maybe my thoughts on THE ELITE are slipping into my cover thoughts as well.

SUMMARY: The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Iléa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

‘Kay, so remember how in THE SELECTION, there might as well be A TON of girls for our lovely, awkward prince to choose from. Now there are only five girls remaining, and our prince is having a tough, frustrating time determining the best choice as America Singer is the one causing problems. With America teetering unsteadily toward the end of THE SELECTION, it was easy to see on which end she was most likely going to fall. That decision seems to be intact but only after loads of drama, half-hearted rebel attacks, and a plot that has wavered and become riddled with tension, misunderstandings, slow-moving tactics to pique the interest of THE ELITE’s reader.

The setting of Cass’s story hasn’t changed since we dropped out of THE SELECTION. We’re still in the glam of the palace, soaking up all that royal riches can buy, from fine food to good help, and, frankly, it gets to be a bit tedious. Though the tension grows thicker, it’s like a weak sapling dying under falling snow—it struggles to make its presence known but ultimately fails—unless you’re an optimist, which I’m pretending not to be for the sake of this image I’m trying to create. It’s not a weak attempt on Cass’s part, just a failing one.

Same goes, if not more, for the plot. With THE SELECTION, I found it okay for Cass to slowly and teasingly introduce the rebel squad she’s got working, but to do it in the sequel just made me want to roll my eyes every time the people of the palace came out of hiding and found the very ambiguous and threatening “WE ARE COMING.” I was a little spooked in THE SELECTION, like an anxious mare anticipating a storm, but after THE ELITE that mare has since found a more interesting-looking predicament, like how to reach that apple. What I’m getting at is the tease is half the fun in an introduction to a series, but one of the top reasons one waits for the sequel is to be satisfied—in answers, you perverts.

Cass made a wrong turn, as she kept dangling that shiny new thing expecting me to give chase, only when I got a closer look I realized it was the inside of Twix wrapper.

Oh, Greek deities above on a mountain, everyone was all over the place in THE ELITE! And not in a good way. In many respects, THE ELITE showed the absolute worst sides of all the characters combined, America especially. Between all the blubbering, self-doubt, wishy-washy decision-making I wanted to smother her under all those pretty dresses her lady’s maids were slaving over. In THE SELECTION, I found her uncertainty both believably practical and emotional and now I see that Cass has failed in amassing more sympathy for America because my supply ran short after the first third of the book. I didn’t see America as irrational and silly, initially, but then she started doing all these THINGS until she landed in the neighborhood of emotionally afflicted stupidity and childishness. One moment she’s saying how she’s sorry she’s hurt Aspen so much then the next she’s realizing he messed up everything, one moment hates Maxon with the power of a thousand suns and the next she gets why he’s done what he has. I got her insecurities, but I hated her indecisive stance, unable to leave the Selection but not sure if she should stay while countless girls ARE competing and are maybe even winning a little…

Then, toes below Maxon gets to be a piece of work. Most times I would only find that irritating on the behalf of the FMC not so much the author’s part. But I couldn’t help but question the organic-ness of his small changes. Cass made me believe the Maxon that THE SELECTION showed us, and the actions of this Maxon don’t coincide with the Maxon I’ve come to know. I want to say that that may have been the point BUT it felt forced and artificially incorporated for the sake of Second Book Tension. I didn’t buy it even as I was raging at him, I didn’t buy the sudden revealing of some dirty secrets he’s been keeping.

Aspen, though, needs to just go home! It doesn’t even have to do with his influence on the romance, but more his input feels useless, unnecessary, and eyerollable. He’s there solely to make America conflicted, and always has been, which is why I’ve probably been so frustrated by his character. I mean, deep down, who doesn’t love a good love triangle? But as the third point, he weakens the overall shape just by existing to exist.

I’m really disappointed by these three. And the fact that, while Cass was busy complicating matters of love with drama and angst, she didn’t give nearly enough depth to characters I’d hoped to cling to by the time I finished THE ELITE.

  1. Maxon Dancing with America

The real deciding factor on my feelings on this book is summed up by the fact that I skimmed a little over a third of this book after the first third. And the only reason I wanted to pay full attention to that last bit was to ensure I wasn’t missing anything I wanted to bask in. Because in spite of my disappointment and mild rage, I am cracked out over Maxon and America no matter how pissed I am at them. Yeah, I didn’t enjoy this one, but is that going to stop me from finding out how this pairing turns out? Uh, yeah no.

Hardcover / 323 pgs / April 23rd 2013 / Harper Teen / Goodreads / $17.99

I received a copy from mah moms.


Princess Ash said...

I still don't know about this series, I have read so many different opinions, but it does seem to be enjoyed by most!

And I just saw over at Heidi's blog that you will be at BEA - so will I - YAY!

Princess Ash said...

Oh, yes, this series has so much controversy behind it it could make your head spin. Not to mention the dramalama that lay in the wake of its publication. But all that aside, THE SELECTION is FUN. And I think that's the key to enjoying it, not taking it overly seriously and kind of going with it.

The thing about THE ELITE, for me, though was that Cass took away that fun and damaged what I cam to really enjoy about the series. So meh points for her.

And I've commented and tweeted already but I'll say it again: DOUBLE YAY! I'm so excited to meet you. Because I will be hunting you down. :P

Marathon said...

I couldn't put this book down! I shall be sleep deprived tomorrow
because I stayed up into the wee hours just trapped by the words
spilling out with drama and hope. I cannot wait to see what happens
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