Thursday, 24 March 2016

Book Review: The One by Kiera Cass

The One – Kiera Cass
*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Previous reviews: TheSelection; The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperCollins
First published: 2014
Cover: Paperback

Pages: 323
Blurb:    When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

History of my copy: I bought The One, along with Lady Midnight (review here) and Winter to make the most of the postage I paid to receive Lady Midnight on release day and, after loving The Selection and The Elite so much, The One leapt to the top of my TBR list.

I have just realised that the covers of The Selection series are blue, red and white, coincidentally the colours of the American flag, and I can’t help but wonder whether this was done on purpose or not, especially as the main character is called America.

Plot: I can’t help but feel highly disappointed in the final instalment of Maxon’s Selection. The story itself had so many little twists that had the potential to become something fantastic, but were wrapped up much too soon. The alliance with the Northern rebels could have been developed so much more, giving an interesting side plot to the story as Maxon and America worked against the King for a different IllĂ©a. Furthermore, the attack when the pair sneak out of the Palace also could have been a bit more dramatic and a lot less confusing, with perhaps one of them getting kidnapped. And what even happened to Paige after that?
         In terms of The Selection process itself, the book focusses on the remaining four girls: America, Celeste, Kriss and Elise. However, they don’t seem to do much. In fact, most of the book is Clarkson being harsh on America. The only vaguely interesting development was the Convicting.
         And then there is the ending itself, and the events leading up to it. C’mon, if you’re going to have a massive attack, make it interesting! Make it good! It seemed much too rushed, much too sudden and much too quickly brushed away and replaced by the wedding.
         Then there’s the matter of character development and the way Cass used the characters for different things, which I shall delve into later.
         I also feel as if having both the King and Queen dying in the attacks was a bit too strong. Yes, she died for him, but it just seemed a bit too sudden and a bit too much. Plus, Maxon didn’t even seem too bothered about it. I know he was a jerk, but he was your Father and your Mother was nothing but an angel. Show some respect.

Setting: Admittedly, Cass kept the setting up. I still want to go to the Palace and see how beautiful it is for myself. Maxon’s room sounds amazing. I also enjoyed how, when America went home, there was that contrast between her old home and her new one.

Characters: My first problem regarding the characters is the way Celeste entirely changed. For some reason, Cass decided to show a ‘nice’ side to the girl who had been a right bitch throughout, and the other girls seemed to forgive her? Why? Oh yes, just so that when she gets shot the reader is supposed to feel something for her. Sorry, didn’t happen. Celeste was more interesting as a mean girl, and the change in her character did nothing for me.
                Then there is America’s father’s death. Not sure why that happened either, maybe just to send America away from the Palace over Christmas, despite how beautiful any festive scenes between Maxon and America would have been? Oh and yes, of course, Aspen had to give America away at the wedding, a little symbol of their relationship between them. Didn’t like that at all, it felt like his death was just to show that, and to show that he was a Northern rebel. But it was nice to see why America had that name.
                And now to Maxon, who I did love but now I hate. His reaction to Aspen and America was ridiculous. At least give the girl a chance to explain! Jheez, grow up, don’t act all petty just because she had a previous romance and you didn’t.

To read or not to read: Don’t read. I know, if you’ve reached this far you just want to get to the end of Maxon and America’s story, but this book is such a disappointment compared to the other two. Sure, read it to finish this part of the series, but don’t go expecting much. I almost wish I’d finished The Elite and decided that I could imagine them ending up together and how it happened without picking up The One.

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