01 May 2013

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Hardcover: 323 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

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 Illea.

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.

While The Selection was an enjoyable read, The Elite turned out to be a lot better. Many things that bothered me in the first one, were improved in this great sequel and made me look forward to the next one. Even though America still struggles way too much to make up her mind between Aspen and Maxon, the author could distract us from America's rollercoaster of feelings with a better plot and more character development.

This time, the storyline was more varied, not only focusing on America's love life, but also on the other girls, on the war and on the struggle to do what is right for the country. The rebels' attacks do make the novel a lot more interesting, making us question what they are really after. Furthermore I found myself asking what is really going on with the war, and hopefully that will come more into focus in the next one. America tries to be  less passive in this novel and actually tries to do something for a change, which is try to change that, which she thinks is unfair in her country. Certainly that didn't work so well but once I did like the idea of America as a princess, even though Maxon deserves someone better. Mauree's storyline was also a nice addition to the plot.

Furthermore we finally get to know more about the other girls in the competition, which was interesting and weird at the same time because I ended up liking the other girls more than I liked the main character! But anyway, America's indecision is the biggest annoyance. She is always changing her mind and never thinking before running to the next boy. I don't think she has any chemistry with Aspen but the author keeps pushing their storyline. However, I was glad when we got to see Maxon giving other girls more attention and I believe that America has some big competition in the selection.

Overall, The Elite was a surprisingly good sequel. With more world-building and the romance becoming less monotone, the plot turned out to be very refreshing and less like an episode of The Bachelor. The Elite also ends in a great note, making us want to get our hands on the next one. How will America's altercation with the king change her participation in the selection? And the big question will finally be answered: who will she pick?

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing me with a copy for review!

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