The Elite – Kiera Cass
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Kiera Cass
First published: 2013
Blurb: America Singer is one of The Elite and Prince Maxon only has eyes for her.
If she wins the competition for his heart, she will leave her pre-destined life for a world of luxury. But the outcome is less than certain; the threat of rebel violence just beyond the palace walls is escalating into war and bitter rivals are ready to take her down.
And as America’s feelings for Maxon grow stronger, ex-lover Aspen waits for her in the shadows. Where do her loyalties truly lie?
History of my copy: I bought this book only 2 days ago after a day at Plymouth university. Having read The Selection (review here) only a month ago, I was dying to get my hands on The Elite.
Anyone who knows me will know that 2 days is a very short time for me to read a book. I’d say I’m an average speed reader, but I like to have many books on the go at once. For me to leave a book for months is certainly not a bad sign, but rarely am I in the right mood to read a book in only a few days.
Plot: The Elite continues on from The Selection, with only a few girls left. In terms of diminishing the competition, this book sort of fails as only two girls sent home. However, this book delves into the caste system, and each of the remaining girl’s personalities more. With only a small number left, it’s much easier to set them tasks, such as the project towards the end of the book. The Elite also allows us, the reader, to explore Maxon’s relationships with the other girls more too. Understandably, America is upset by his closeness with Kriss and Celeste, despite it being expected. I also side with Maxon in all this – he has given America everything, yet she has done little but throw it back in his face and instantly think the worse of him.
Setting: The Elite continues to be set in the palace, but Cass’ description of the different settings, especially the receptions and the devastation after the rebel attacks, still keeps you immersed in the world.
Characters: Many people dislike America, and I am starting to see why. Whilst I adored her in The Selection, I feel that in The Elite she lost her five-ness, and became a bit more of a spoilt brat. Whilst she has other fantastic qualities, I will admit that there were a few occasions when I wanted to slap her for how hypocritical she can be. She complains at Maxon dating the other girls, something that, although horrible, is part of the competition and something he is allowed to do. Whilst he’s doing this, she is seeing Aspen behind Maxon’s back, which, as we see with Marlee, is treason!
Maxon, on the other hand, I am starting to fall in love with as a character. The Elite explores him more, and we get to see the man behind the impassive Prince face. He tries so hard to please America and to be honest with her, whilst still partaking in The Selection. He also has compassion, something his Father really lacks. Although I feel that the whole abuse thing is a little cliché, it just makes me ache for Maxon more.
To read or not to read: Read. This book isn’t really my usual style, but it’s light reading and ridiculously addictive. I would recommend The Elite and the rest of the series to anyone, especially those wanting something more than a typical YA love triangle. Whilst The Elite does contain one, the extra complication of all the other girls makes it so much different!