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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Book Review: The Selection Series

I have been doing a lot of re-reading these days. Mostly fiction, mostly Romance, but also some Young Adult (YA) books that are targeted more for the teen market. Recently I have re-read a series of books from Kierra Cass called The Selection. 

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Like the series I did a review on previously, this has a set of five books, with four spin-off novellas from the point of view of the other characters in the series.  I liked the one about the Queen since she seemed to be someone that was just featured in passing in the other books. Another book, The Soldier, would have been nice to have been set later on in the series, so that readers could have gotten an understanding why in the later books he ended up with who he was married to.

The first book, The Selection, is set in a future era where America is no longer the USA but another nation that is now ruled by royalty. It introduces the selection process where the Maxon, the Prince and heir to the throne, is to select a bride from a group of women who are brought to the palace for him to get to know. It is amusing to think that in some future world, the concept of The Bachelor managed to survive where (apparently) Halloween has not. 

The first three books revolve around the selection process, and the growing relationship between Maxon and America, who eventually becomes his bride despite the odds against them. The last two books then focus on their daughter, who must undergo the same selection process twenty years later.

I found that the first three books that were about Maxon and America more exciting than the last two about their daughter. I found the story of the of the former to be more high stakes compared to the latter. The first story was exciting since not only was not just about the relationship between Maxon and America. It was about the friends that were made along the way. It was about politics, intrigue and the complexities of their modern world and the utopia that Maxon was aiming to achieve for their future. 

It was moving to read about the things that the characters had to endure in the first three books. The domestic violence that Maxon experienced in the hands of the King was surprising considering how different he seemed to be in his youth. The punishment that one of the participants of the selection experienced when she fell in love with someone else was also jarring. Considering that it was set in a future world, it was a heartbreaking that the punishment was in the way that it was dealt. The fact that the author was also willing to kill a character who was finally redeeming herself, just when readers became emotionally invested, was shocking but at the same time a wise move. It made me as a reader feel for the characters and the stakes even more. 

The last two books, The Heir and The Crown, were for me a bit lighter fare compared to its predecessors. I felt that the process was not as difficult this time around. There were still rebels and there was still political intrigue, but as a reader I felt that the daughter had it easier than her parents. It was, however, nice to revisit the older characters and see how they were doing twenty years later. If only for that, I enjoyed the last two books as well.

It was not surprising that the books have been proposed several times to become a TV series. There have been a couple of pilots made for TV, but both have not pushed through. Recently however there has been news that it would become a movie (the first book at least) on Netflix. 
As disappointed as I am that the TV series never worked out, I am also happy about it because I know that if it was not executed in the way that the readers who loved the books expected, it would feel like a wasted opportunity. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Netflix would do a good job and that the movie will turn out to be a series of movies to cover the entire story.

This series is a long read, but if you have got the time and you do not mind reading Young Adult books, I would highly recommend this. 

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