Saturday, 16 June 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

In One Line:  Cinderella meets The Batchelor meets The Hunger Games (seriously!)
Genre: Dystopian Cupcake
The Gist:
In a society dominated by a rigorous caste system, America Singer (yes, that is our heroine’s name. Seriously.) is a Five, destined to a life of serving the upper classes through pursuit of the arts. Her family struggles, but not nearly as much as the family of her One True Love, Aspen, who is a Six and destined to always be a measly servant. But then the prince of the realm, Maxon, decides that he is in need of a wife, and the way things are done in this future-topia is for 35 girls to be upgraded in status and shipped off to the royal palace to partake in a televised process of selection. America is one of the Selected. So off she goes to the palace, to wear various pretty dresses and parade in front of the prince in the hope of one day becoming queen. But America doesn’t want that... or does she? 
The Cover:
I will admit something. When this book arrived I shoved it in my manager’s face and said “THIS IS THE GIRLIEST COVER I HAVE EVER SEEN.” To which he agreed, and then ran away. It is utterly unashamed, and I suppose I do have to give bonus points for that. One look at this cover and you know you’re not going to get a serious social critique. What you do know is that you are going to get lithe young girls wearing pretty dresses, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Yes, this cover is embarrassing, but if you are going to read this book then you’re going to have to just roll with it and embrace the tulle. 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • Pretty dresses! Handsome princes! Forbidden romance with the lowly servant boy! OH MY!!!
  • It follows pretty much an identical plot-line to the Hunger Games.You may think that this is a bad thing, but I think it’s a good thing. Because if you like the idea of the Hunger Games, but disapprove of young people killing each other, then you will LOVE The Selection, because instead of blood and guts and death, there’s girly bitchiness and snide playground banter. This book essentially IS the Hunger Games, but with no violence and more frou frou. 
  • Our heroine is fiesty, and a victim to her heart, and sees the good in people. She’s a good role model. And she’ll blatantly be a fantastic princess. 
  • Did I mention that there are lots of pretty dresses?

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • IT IS SO SEXIST I FEEL LIKE A WANT TO SCREAM. Because the girls are chosen to be one of the Selected based on their looks, and then they are pampered and preened and stuffed in ball gowns and expected to do the every bidding of the handsome prince in the hope that perhaps they may get to marry him. KILL ME NOW. 
  • This book is so predictable I bet that you can guess exactly what happens the entire way through. And you’d be completely and utterly right. 
  • It’s so darn silly and I can’t possibly believe for a nano-second that this idea of a future world is possible. The politics of the society, which are kind-of explained throughout the book, are ridiculous and hugely unsophisticated. The world-building is abysmal, I mean, how can a society based so heavily on a ludicrous caste system that dictates your career for you possibly succeed? And where does the palace wealth come from? And where do they get all the materials for the pretty dresses? *makes emphatic hand gestures*
  • Cliffhanger alert. And not actual literary device kind of cliffhanger. The book just stops. The story actually has no ending. I thought I was missing pages at the end. This made me angry. Well, more angry. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
I hold my hands up. For all it’s bad points, this book passed. This is an incredibly easy and fluffy read and a nice distraction from life. I feel so ashamed. 
Final Verdict:
This book is a literary cupcake. Once in a while it makes for a delicious, guilty-pleasure treat, but this is not a book to base a diet on. Mostly because it is incredibly silly and appallingly sexist. I knew this as I was reading it. I promise you I did, and the ardent feminist part of my brain was screaming at me to put the book away and never speak of it again. And yet. AND YET. I couldn’t put it down. I ate it up in two sittings. Does this make me a bad person? A little bit, probably. So my parting words on the case are going to be: you’ll enjoy it this one, but please, for the love of humanity and womankind, do not for one second think that if a prince buys you a pair of jeans (and lets you wear them, but only on Saturdays) that means you are destined to be his queen. 
Further Reading:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (read my review HERE!)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
To buy The Selection please click HERE!!!

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