Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: The Elite (Kiera Cass)

The Elite (The Selection, #2)
Title: The Elite
Series: The Selection, Book 2*
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Edition: ARC (releases April 23, 2013)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Told: First Person (America), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (sensuality, scary situations, a scene of medieval punishment)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illéa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

*          *          *

Cover: Almost as gorgeous as the first book. *pets*

Writing: Easy, breezy, refreshing. Kiera's style makes reading effortless, like you're not actually reading anything but simply enjoying a good story.

Setting: This dystopian future finds us in the country of Illéa, which appears to be an amalgamation of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and a few other nearby islands after some probable U.S. takeovers and wars. Technology has backpedaled and formed to fit the needs of the people (aka the government) - computers and phones are scarce, but television is everywhere (although mostly for propaganda). The exact location of the capital is murky but unnecessary as we never leave the palace in this book, the setting nothing more than a stage for the story - as it should be, in my opinion. The style of living, however, rises to the forefront as the subject of the castes - and their unjust rigidity - are spotlighted from many different directions. In this book we learn more about the history of Illéa and how it came to be, and it is most enlightening - and frightening.

Story: There is a little more action in this book than The Selection, but overall the story maintains a steady, constant pace that doesn't let up until "End of Book Two." The Selected have been whittled down to the Elite, the final six, and the competition rises to a whole new level as the girls battle for Prince Maxon's hand - and/or the power of the crown. America must now decide not only between Maxon and Aspen, but figure out if she has what it takes to be queen. But as she struggles to make sense of her emotions and tackle the tests as they escalate in difficulty, life continues to progress and alter around her. When shocking revelations about the history of Illéa and the Selection begin to surface, America must decide what - and who - is ultimately worth fighting for.

Characters: America continues to be a realistic and relatable character as she struggles with both her confused and conflicting emotions and her capabilities to wear the crown. Being with the prince means someday becoming queen, and with people telling her that she both would and would not make a good ruler, she must decide for herself. Along the way she triumphs and fails and can't help but make mistakes (several of which ultimately hurt her), but slowly she starts finding her strength of heart and self, earning my declaration of "Team America" for much of the book.

Maxon is...complicated. In The Selection he was the glowing image of the prince we all dream of, but in The Elite we begin to see how very human he can be - and it isn't always pretty. To my chagrin, Aspen's worth rose, even in my eyes - although probably not in all the ways he would have liked it to - and he remains an important face in the cast, as well as that pesky bottom left corner of the love triangle.

Relationships: Such a rollercoaster. I changed "teams" several times, and I'm not normally like that. Kiera does an excellent job of making us just as unsure of the boys - and America's feelings for them - as America is. At one point I couldn't stand one of them (no spoilers on who ;), but when America stopped being mad at him, so did I. My emotions connected directly with America's, and with each twist of her heart I had an equal twist as well. I found America's confusion and indecision, along the actions of the boys, realistic, and in some instances raw and maybe a little too human for the fairytale ending I'm hoping this will ultimately become.

Conclusion: I loved this book as much as The Selection, with its easy writing style, relatable characters, and realistic relationships. I cannot recommend The Elite highly enough, and look forward to Book 3 with great anticipation!

*My review of Book 1, The Selection, can be found here.

Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles


  1. Thank you for the review.. it was extremely helpful.

  2. Completely agree about Maxon, I wasn't sure I liked either Maxon or Aspen in the Elite.
    Great review!

  3. Aw wish I could have loved this book as much as you did! I hated The Elite (eek) but loved the Selection. I didn't like the way the plot worked in this one, but I agree with you about Maxon! Can't wait for The One!!