It’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Week according to Goodreads. So allow me to recommend one of the most whimsically bold fantasy reads I’ve ever had the privilege of enjoying in the world of YA fantasy… Kiera Cass’s The Selection, a trilogy that later expands into a five-book series, beginning with the adventures of one-of-a-kind heroine America Singer – a Five in an eight-caste system and, you guessed it, a singer – as she reluctantly enters a nationwide competition for the heart of Maxon Schreave – a One given his Royalty status – along with the other ladies of Illéa.
Of course, America would rather be with her soulmate Aspen Leger, but she joins the Selection anyway to save money for a married life with Aspen. What follows later is her unforgettable journey at court that makes all the novels worth savoring like a delectable chocolate cake.
At a glance, the glossy, enchanted covers make The Selection look like just another bland fantasy, despite their elegance. That was actually my initial opinion, but thankfully my BFF Cindy found it refreshing and encouraged me to give the series a shot. And she was right. I was so charmed that I ended up sticking with the series all the way to Eadlyn’s reign – featuring an all-male Selection full of smart, desirable guys and the first of its kind.
The Selection explores a variety of topics such as friendship, intelligent romance, female independence, Illéan history and family relationships. The whole explanation of the caste system gives the story a dystopian touch. You’ll meet a cast of characters that are varying in personalities, from the kind-hearted Prince Maxon to the determined Aspen but also complex ones like Celeste, who fits into the role of a mean girl really well but as the plot progresses, a deeper layer within her is revealed. Marlee as Miss Perfect who becomes fast friends with America also has a hidden life. Plus King Clarkson and Queen Amberly’s story are worth following, as are America’s three maids Anne, Lucy and Mary with their own subplots. Separate novellas are available as companions, providing us with the POVs of most of the cast (Maxon and Aspen in The Selection Stories and almost all integral characters in Happily Ever After that’s also filled with grand-looking sketches).
The delicious world of The Selection isn’t complete without America herself, who’s very much like Katniss Everdeen in the way she approaches everything. Even though she looks like a carbon copy of Katniss herself, I do enjoy the fire and drive in her character, and she never backs down from throwing a punch in defense of her friends and loved ones. Now that’s honorable!
Collect all of The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir and The Crown along with The Selection Stories and Happily Ever After and treat yourself to a royal feast. Here’s to America Singer!
Fun fact: The Selection was adapted into a pilot for the CW Network, but the show failed to get green-lighted. Hopefully it’ll see better days in the near future. It’s much too great and queenly not to make it on the silver (or big) screen.