I’ve been reading a couple of fairy-tale like series this month – princesses! – and instead of reviewing each book one by one, I’m going to do mini-reviews in a single set. No sense clogging up my blog with tons and tons of mini-reviews!
For Part II of these Happily Ever After minis, I’m reviewing the rest of the dystopian series that began with The Selection by Kiera Cass. While these aren’t the same as the romances in Part I – these are set in a world where Happily Ever After isn’t assured – I went into the series with a good idea of how the formula and plot-arc would unfold over the five books. Longer series like this are difficult to review without giving away spoilers from previous books, so I won’t be talking about plot at all, and instead will just give my reactions to each of the books as I went along.
While I enjoyed The Selection, I was a little put off by how close it stuck to the plot/details of The Hunger Games. Thankfully, The Elite branched away into its own story. I still had some issues – America’s extreme naivety was particularly infuriating – but for the most part, I found this a step up from the first book. At one point I actually found my heart pounding along with the characters’ in a moment of extreme stress. That doesn’t happen to me often when I read, so points to the book and author for that!
I’m in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed a big chunk of it and felt like the plot finally got going in stride. There were the beginnings of deeper characterization of the auxiliary characters, and a little more seen about the outside world. The ending, however, went through so much in such a short amount of time, though, that I feel very unsatisfied. There are some characters who deviated massively from their personalities, a lot of unanswered questions, more blindness and easily-solvable miscommunication, and some deus ex machina. I hadn’t realized that this book was the end of the initial series, and that the next happens further along in time. I’m hoping some questions will be answered/explored in further volumes, but I’m still left unsatisfied here.
Nope. None of my questions answered. This is basically the start of an entirely new series. It’s a good one, yes, but I still wish I had more from the end of the last book. Setting that aside, though, I enjoyed The Heir. I’m not a huge fan of the narrator, who seems very naive in many ways, but essentially this is what I was thinking would be interesting about the last book – seeing the Selection from the point of view of someone doing the selecting. I imagine Eadlyn’s experience is similar to Maxon’s in many ways, so it was almost like revisiting the books from a different point of view. The ending is very abrupt, though, and unfortunately I’m going to have to wait a bit before the next book, as the hold list is quite long at the library.
I got very tired of waiting for the library list to thin, and eventually used an Audible credit to get this one. I enjoyed the story very much, despite feeling like it was very predictable in places and still lacking in some of the world-building that I wished to see. It was a good end to the series, and the Happily Ever After is definitely what I needed right now. Oddly, I didn’t mind the audio either, read by Brittany Pressley, despite usually avoiding YA audios. Some of the crying-while-speaking was overdone, but otherwise, I liked how she kept all the different voices straight in a book that contained many, many characters.
– I’m very glad I waited until the entire series was out before I began reading. Back-to-back was definitely the way to go. Wish I could’ve gotten that last one quicker.
– I wish I could see a little bit more from Maxon’s side during the actual selection, particularly in being raised not just to choose from a pool of women, but to think it’s “normal” to seriously date many women at one time. As I said before, Eadlyn’s story showed this a bit.
– To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll remember much about this series beyond it being the princess dystopia series…