Archive | May 24, 2015

The Elite Kiera Cass,

The Elite Kiera Cass,
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Teens and YA.
Another fabulous cover! Well, we’re in the palace with the girls now and the action is heating up. The girls are veering between kind and cruel, all in the quest to be The One. America has discovered she has feelings for Maxon, their friendship has gradually become much more, but she’s uncertain if she’s suited to be a princess. She finds she hates it when he’s with one of the others and yet can’t still make up her mind if he’s for her. That’s not helped by the fact that Aspen is at the palace, called up in the Draft to be a palace guard, and he still wants her too… and they take some huge risks, especially considering what has happened with one of the others. Maxon knows she has feelings for someone from home, but doesn’t know its Aspen and he’s in the palace. There were times when I got irritated with her, she’s not really fair to either of them, though I understand in a way her confusion, but she’s playing with fire at times. Aspen too – he knew what he was doing was a massive risk to both of them, and yet he still put her through that – I’m not sure that’s a sign of love, more one of obsession. In contrast Maxon indicates if she says yes it could all finish now, but knows she’s not ready and agrees to give her more time.
Along with the girls vying to stay through the next round of cuts, some by whatever means possible, there’s the Rebels invading the palace. That felt a little overdone, it happened so many times that frankly palace security was just a joke. When they were so efficient in other areas its hard to understand why they were so hopeless at something as important as this. I enjoyed the tests set for the girls, the dirty tricks done by some of them – I love some “good” horrible bi tchs in a novel, and they were great here. I thought things were going well between America and Maxon til something shocking happened and I got really annoyed with her then. Maxon, I was saddened by his actions, not by what he did over the event, but after when America is so upset, In a way I understood that he needed to have a back up plan in case she finally said no, he couldn’t just place everything on her, leaving him with no-one if she declined. It seems a bit unfair to the other girls but it was clear many of them saw the Crown as what they wanted, not actually Maxon, he was a kind of by-product Winking smile He was right when he began to press America, they were getting numbers down and as he said, would she still be asking for more time when it was down to three, two….at some point he needed a firm decision before he lost everything. He has his father’s views to contend with too and he’s not a fan of America, from her background to her impulsive actions. We learn more about the countries history and how the whole Caste system originated. It was good to see more of the King and Queen, she’s lovely but the King – wow what an awful, selfish man he is. Its all a kind of eye opener for America, coming from a quiet country background but she’s had many weeks now to get to grips with it.
Stars: Five, it’s another fun read, with some great drama in it.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

The Selection Kiera Cass,


The Selection Kiera Cass,
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Teens and YA.
I’m an eclectic reader and like to chop and change genres, as I find that way each book feels fresh to me. I don’t read a lot of YA fiction, but sometimes I just want something easy to read, a story to relax and enjoy without too much deep thinking and a good YA provides that. Though I’m rarely attracted by a cover – put off very often… but not easily persuaded into reading by one, the cover on this one, those wonderful dresses, caught my eye and made me look further. It sounded a fun read and though its a trilogy all three parts are out. That’s always a bonus as I HATE waiting for further instalments, I want to read all the story back to back while it and the characters still feel fresh and real to me.
So, we meet America and her family, get an intro into the dystopian world this book covers, and get to meet all the Selection girls, along with Prince Maxon and his parents. Its a strange set up – girls between certain ages submit photo and info, and 35 are selected to stay at the palace for months until finally they’re whittled down and the Prince chooses one for his bride. It seems odd in a way, and yet there are still many countries and religions that rely on arranged marriages, and at least this way he has some choice. The girls too don’t have to take part. Even here in UK we like to think our Royals have freedom when it comes to romance and marriage and yet – they only move in certain circles because of security, and if by chance the heir to the crown wanted to date some everyday person, a waitress from a council estate for example, I have absolutely no doubt he’d be swayed away from her at the first opportunity, so there’s no realistic chance he’d marry her even if they could be perfect for each other, soul mates, in love….So then this doesn’t seem so far fetched.
The Caste system too is not unlike those in many countries today, and even in western “classless” countries there’s actually a real unwritten class system working. Jobs go on who one knows very often, old school and uni friends, men’s clubs, ladies groups, and though in theory all are welcome if one doesn’t fit the image then the welcome is shallow, and that person would probably leave realising that the group is not for them.
I enjoyed the story, felt for America in her dilemma of Aspen and the caste system, versus the fact that being chosen would bring a huge and very much needed financial benefit to her family, as the families of those chosen get money while the girls stay at the palace. There were times when even though her family were fives, three up from the bottom, they still had to choose between food and heating….and castes are fixed to what you are born into unless you marry down. Aspen is a six, they struggle constantly for money, work all hours, and if they marry she’ll be a six too then. Not something her family will like. So reluctantly she applies, gets chosen, and the story moves to the Palace, the girls, and the first parts of the selection. We learn more about the others, some are sweet, and some – the notorious Celeste, are outright cruel in their determination to be the chosen one. Maxon seems a bit stiff and stilted when we first meet him, it seems he’s been allowed very little freedom and the whole situation with girls is something he’s unused to. He’s attracted to America, but she’s still hurting for Aspen, and when she explains this to him they agree to be friends. He badly needs one, and they begin to see more of each other in less formal situations.
Its a fun read, easy to follow and with a typical teen/early twenties girl drama and jealousies. America finds that she’s becoming attracted to Maxon, which confuses her, and when he’s with one of the others she can’t help but feel a bit down. There’s some true Bit ch girl manipulations, and lots of angst and dramatics. I’m keen to read part two now, which fortunately I have on my kindle already Winking smile
Stars: Five, it’s a light and fun read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

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