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The Elite (The Selection) Paperback – May 6, 2014
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“Deliciously entertaining.” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Back Cover
The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.
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In "The Elite" I was looking forward to seeing more of the rebellion, seeing the characters develop and make strong decisions and stick with them--deal with the consequences of those decisions. I expected more of the background story to develop with the maturity of the characters. What we got was a simpering America who ended almost every plot movement with "I just don't know who I should pick", which was so narrow-minded and contrary to the 'girl-power' and social awareness she demonstrated in the first book.
I was very disappointed in that "The Elite" seemed to cater to its very young readers focusing on a 'he loves me, he loves me not' love story that was quite artificial. The plot was reduced wholly to America's misunderstandings of other's intentions, childish, selfish, and naive misunderstandings to which only those of a very young readers group could possibly relate, and her very foolish reactions to those misunderstandings. I couldn't believe the number of rhetorical questions America asks, without any answers offered.
From chapter four and continued throughout the whole novel...
It was impossible. I had to choose. Aspen or Maxon.
But how was I supposed to decide between two good possibilities? How could I make a choice that would leave some part of me devastated either way? I comforted myself with the thought that I still had time. I still had time.
Cynic warning--the only reason she has or even needs time is to sell more books.
While in "The Selection" the story was interesting enough to keep me captivated and to see past the cliched and generally non-dimensional plot construction, "The Elite", if it was possible, becomes even more cliched and even less original.
In short, it seems that it was fully a money-making filler to extend a simple series. I have no doubt that anyone could skip this book in its entirety and pick up the third without missing a step. Of course, I'm stubborn and have been sucked into the trashy love-triangle, so I will read the third (hence why I said this book was "OK" rather than I hated it), but I was still scratching my head wondering if there were any other redeeming qualities to reading it besides my innate curiosity of how the story finishes. There aren't.
*Also on Goodreads*
There is no plot in this book. Characters just kind of walk around doing pointless things because they need to fill pages to get to the next book and sell more books in between. America, our “heroine,” and I use the term loosely, goes back and forth between her “ex” boyfriend Aspen and Prince Maxi-Pad, sometimes within a page of each other. The prince wants her to start picking out furniture, but she keeps cheating with soldier boy and to see how long she can drag this out. She’s got more flip flops than a house of pancakes.
Aspen dumped her in the previous book so she wouldn’t live poor with him as a husband, then was drafted into military service and ended up as a palace guard. Then he told her she isn’t fit to be a princess so that she would be wracked with self-doubt and run back to him every time Prince Maxi-Pad does something stupid. Now they smooch on the sly even though that’s considered treason and can get them *ahem severely punished*. Do you understand that? Good, because neither of them do.
Prince Maxi-Pad is so in love with America. She’s the only one for him, but has hot make out sessions with the other ladies because has severe daddy issues. That’s an excuse, right?
Marlee is doing the same thing that America is doing with another guard, but they get caught. There was going to be very bad punishment, but thanks to Prince Maxi-Pad, the penalty was reduced to just bad punishment. She’s expendable, just like all the other contestants in The Selection. She’s the character who gets actual consequences to prove the situation is serious. Natalie’s sister dies to show that this dystopia thing is real, and is sent home to remind you that America *could* get sent home, so maybe you should worry… but not really.
King Clarkson occasionally does very bad things. You’ll totally forgive him for that when he tells off the whiny America, though. It’s called satisfaction, a feeling you won’t get from any other part of this series. He’s not cheating on anyone right now—as far as we know, wink wink nudge nudge.
The Rebels intermittently attack the palace for no apparent reason whatsoever. If they were smart, they might take valuables or food. Maybe they should try to get on television and broadcast their message to the people of Illea to further their cause, but you’re assuming they have a cause. They just continue to break through the worst security since Star Wars storm troopers to mildly vandalize the royal residence. They’re in it for the lulz.
Gregory Illea is Not In This Book. He’s the only interesting character in this entire series, which is why you’ll never hear anything about him again. He left a diary full of answers to important questions, but you’ll never get to see the whole thing.
Bonus Picayune Nitpicking Section:
His Royal Debonaireness Maxi-Pad, Crown Prince of Illogica
*Sigh* The prince would not be addressed as "Your Majesty." That's for the king and queen. The prince would be addressed as "Your Highness." Also, generally you don’t become a king just by marrying your daughter off to a prince. That’s not how it works. That's not how any of this works!
The first king of Illogica was probably not the only one keeping a diary, and more books than the ones in the palace survived the wars than that. Getting rid of books wouldn’t happen so easily. You can ban books, you can burn them, you can have cause a lot of grief for having them, but that only makes people cling to them that much more. There are underground libraries out there, private citizens with huge collections, and people finding them in abandoned old houses and such in this marshmallow “dystopia.” Not to mention people are going to set up printing presses and start spreading the word, and let’s not even get in to how people will keep on printing and distributing the bible. I guarantee it.
You've Got Internet!
The same goes for the computers. If you’ve got dystopian computers, you’ve got dystopian techies who know how to maintain and repair these things. They’ve deconstructed and analyzed the hardware and software, and they’re building more. The chances of computers being that rare are slim and none. And once somebody copies the palace hard drive, all that “top secret” stuff is OUT. All it takes is ONE copy. Whatever the motivation is to keep history top secret, these people are living on borrowed time. Geeks + computers + phone lines = INTERNET. The information age is reborn, people figure out they’ve been had, and there’s another American revolution. I can’t suspend my disbelief when the author ignores such gaping plot holes like this.
Be 78% of What You Can Be
Women are not even serving in supportive roles in the military? Is *everyone* in Illogica holding the idiot ball? You don’t go through World Wars III and IV, plus the ongoing Laff-a-Lympics with the Rebels, without efficiently using able-bodied citizens when and where needed. Unless of course you really want to lose.
I don't always lift things up...
Aspen thinks the rebels are stealing the books from the palace for kindling. Are you kidding me? That’s like breaking into the White House to steal Post-It notes for making kindergarten mosaics. Why would anyone do that? I know the guy is dumb as a rock, because everyone else in the book is, but that is beyond the threshold of incompetence. He is not Secret Service/Kingsguard material.
Overall, reading this book was like squishing a spider. You know it’s going to be really gross, but you *have* to look. You could skip it and not miss much because it’s filler—you’ll probably want to know about Marlee’s punishment and the Italian princess and her phone number, but I’m sure those things will be sufficiently explained again in The One. I liked this book, because it was an easy afternoon read, everything is better with royals, and I like garbage. However, *it’s garbage.* Look elsewhere for plot, depth, meaning, substance, or something that moves from point A to point B. Three stars for 323 pages of not going anywhere…
But I have glanced through the spellbinding conclusion, Buttercup, and there be arms deals and weddings afoot...
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