Top positive review
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Great extras for fans of the series
on March 1, 2014
Several reviewers have already commented on both of the two stories in here. I will still discuss them briefly, but mainly I will focus on how this version differs from the e-books, since I have both e-books as well and was wondering if the extra features in this paperback were worth getting.
The Prince is from Maxon's perspective, and the original e-book version begins with Maxon's birthday, which is shortly before the start of the selection (I believe that from the way it's written, this would actually be sometime after the paperwork process started for the selected girls but clearly before they arrive at the palace), and goes until Maxon initially meets all of the selected girls for the first time (and America for the second). The extended version continues from this point, showing Maxon making the first eliminations and continuing until his first date with America. It was interesting to see a little bit more of a scene that occurred "off-camera" in the books and to see a little more of Maxon's perspective of America, and how their first date affected his feelings.
The Guard is from Aspen's perspective, and apparently is exactly the same as the e-book version of the story. It goes from the day after the Halloween party in The Elite, when Marlee and Carter are caned, until shortly after Aspen finds America in the woods following the rebel attack that occurred while the girls were outside preparing for the foreign visitors. Personally, I still prefer Maxon, but I do like Aspen a little more after reading The Guard. The highlights for me, besides the insight into Aspen's character, are seeing a bit of the relationship between Maxon and his father through Aspen's observations, and getting to know a little more about America's maids (including some additional bits of Aspen/Lucy interaction, although it's not like The Elite didn't have any hints of a possible Aspen/Lucy pairing).
The sneak peek of The One is 3 chapters long in this paperback- you only get 2 chapters with The Guard e-book (although if you don't get either of these, you can go to the author's website and see a video of her reading part of Chapter 1). Basically, in the first two chapters, America devises a scheme to get Maxon's attention that has entertaining results. In the third chapter, another political development occurs, showing the tension between Maxon and his father, and Maxon tells America his plan to try and gain his father's approval.
The other special features in this book include a Q and A with Kiera Cass; a list of the Selected; a list of the professions in each caste; family trees for America, Aspen, and Maxon; and playlists for The Selection and The Elite. The Q and A appears to be a mix of questions that are answered on her website and questions that do not appear there. The lists of the Selected and the castes can be found on her website, as well as the playlists, but the family trees are new information as well. They include the former family names for the ancestors of America and Aspen, the castes to which the ancestors were assigned and the castes of the descendants leading to the current generation, and brief narratives discussing each of the three families. This feature was really interesting to me, as it gives a bit more insight into the society that Gregory Illea started and how the people were affected by it, as well as into the character of King Clarkson (which you might be able to guess to some extent).
Just to recap, the extras that are in this book and not available elsewhere or in the e-books or the author's website include the extended chapters of The Prince, the third chapter sneak peek of The One, some of the questions in the Q and A with the author, and the family trees for America, Aspen, and Maxon. Personally, I really enjoyed the extra material and don't regret purchasing this paperback even though I had the e-books of both stories, but not everyone may feel that these make the book worth purchasing if they already have one or both of the e-books. Hopefully this information will be helpful if you do own one or both of the e-books and are trying to decide if you want to have the paperback.