Release Date: 23rd April 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles in this Series: The Selection
America Singer is one THE ELITE and Prince Mason only has eyes for her.
If she wins the competition for his heart, she will leave her pre-destined life for a world of luxury. But the outcome is less than certain; the threat of rebel violence just beyond the palace walls is escalating into war and bitter rivals are ready to take her down.
And as America’s feelings for Maxon grow stronger, ex-love Aspen waits for her in the shadows. Where do her loyalties truly lie?
Unexpectedly, I really, really enjoyed The Selection when I read it last year, even though I had a few niggles, and I've been anxious to get my hands on The Elite ever since.
Kiera Cass really stepped it up for the second book in her trilogy. There was so much more content in terms of the history of Illéa and development of Maxon and America, as well as a few other girls that are taking part in The Selection. Getting a glimpse into what led the world to The Selection and the caste system through the diaries and Maxon’s exposition really cemented the idea and gave it some ground to make it seem more like a possibility. The brutality of Illea, before and after, really came through and I understood the presence and threat of the rebels a lot more.
I loved that the tension was upped by the increasing fear of rebel attacks and that Cass included some attacks themselves. The Elite is a very relationship-dependent novel so it was a nice break, although they mostly did although for developments in said relationships. I have to admit to getting frustrated with the triangle in this instalment. I felt that America was being selfish and whiny and her playing with the emotions of Aspen and Maxon wasn’t fair at all; not that either of them was completely fair to her, however.
America kind of grew a backbone in The Elite when it came to her views on how her country should be run and how much she’d like to help restore it and I really wish she would have carried that over to her personal life. I was glad the Maxon didn’t take her messing him around and I’m looking forward to seeing her fight for him in The One. She’s a clever girl but her umming and ahhing over her feelings for Aspen and Maxon seemed to undermine that occasionally so hopefully that’ll come through more positively in the final book. The double standards held by the guys and the girls in the palace really didn't help the situation, especially when contrasted between the escapades of two of the girls in The Elite. It made me quite angry sometimes and I had to work to remember that it was part of the world and not the author’s views (hopefully)!
There’s so much potential with this series. The politics, the drama, the strength of the characters and their positions in the novel and I’m hoping that The One will finally break through and deliver what I think the story is capable of. Saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed The Elite and I flew through the book, desperate to know what was going to happen next. In fact, one of the notes I made myself while reading was: ‘I have fears and it’s stressing me out’; there were a few situations regarding the love triangle that I think could have been taken to the next step and really challenged the characters and the politics of the world.
Light, fluffy and fun, The Elite is a strong sequel and I’m really excited to see how America’s story ends. Will she become a princess? I hope so.
Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a copy for review.