Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Selection by Kiera Cass // Shallow, artificial, and hardly a dystopia

Title: The Selection (The Selection #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Romance
Rating: 1 star
Goodreads Review | Book Depository
I predicted from the beginning that The Selection and I just weren't meant to be, but I wanted to give it a chance before I dismissed it for another romance masquerading as a dystopia.

I'll start by saying I've never been a fan of stories about royalty. To me, all of them can be summed up as: a court of catty airheads + poor new girl + Mr Oh-So-Dreamy making her forget about the boy back home (case and point: Red Queen). And although I tried to go in with an open mind, The Selection had every one of the above qualities.

Honestly, it all seemed very shallow. Everything about this book screams artificial. Half the girls in the country seem prepared to marry a stranger just for his looks and fame rather than to support their families financially, apart from special snowflake America who is so superior to everyone even though she insists she doesn't know it. I just cannot believe that everyone aside from our protagonist could lack that kind of self respect.

All the girls criticise each others appearances (one girl even tried to tear someone else's dress off out of jealousy, which is quite frankly stupid), and America is no better. For someone who claims not to care about looks, it's literally all she talks about. Even before entering, America's main worries consist of her appearance, clothes, makeup, and secret boyfriend, whereas if her world were as bad as she made it out to be I can't understand why she wouldn't be doing more to support her family.

As for the world, it was incredibly weak. I not once sensed America's suffering. It was mentioned a couple of times how difficult it was to be in one of the lower castes, but it was never really shown.

America has no curiosity when it comes to the rebel attacks that were dotted throughout the book when the pace was going particularly slowly, nor did she seem to acknowledge there being finer and more complex details to palace life. Sure, the plot is so weak that there isn't much to talk about, but it's like she has no goals or interests, which makes her worse than the other girls. At least they all have the motive of wanting to marry Maxon.

Every single one of the characters felt bland and two dimensional. I would have accepted the lack of storyline if the characters were interesting or if the romance wasn't such an exhausting generic love triangle where not one of the three characters had any appeal.

Even the higher powers seem really dull and idiotic. Maxon's theory about the rebels is so obviously correct and yet his father refuses to believe him. I cannot understand how their country survives when the king is more stupid than a prince who creepily calls everyone 'my darling'.

This book had two rebel attacks with no explanation of motive and people actually compare it to The Hunger Games. To me, The Selection is nothing more than The Bachelor in a castle and has nothing more to it. No substance. Nothing. It can barely count as a dystopia because there's no world building or sufficient information. It drags itself out over no story and still somehow feels like it ends in the middle. The only praise I can give it was that the writing wasn't painful, otherwise reading this would've been sheer torture.

An ebook copy of this book was provided to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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