Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Well, I read this one in a matter of hours…This author always lucks out with gorgeous covers. Really, I can’t take my eyes away from this one, again. I was kind of hoping this would be a book series of 2 books because I knew having to wait on Prince Maxon’s final choice for a third book would be unbearable. Alas, there will be one more in the series, and I now have some serious waiting to do.
The Elite immediately follows the actions of The Selection. Prince Maxon is down to the elite of his girls. There are six left, including America. The competition is tight at the castle, with girls resorting to all sorts of behavior. America, as before, is ever indecisive of what and who she really wants. Also, the rebel attacks have been becoming more violent, and more frequent.
America is always asking the men in her life for more time. Does she clearly love both? Yes. Does she know if she can be a princess? This, she doesn’t know. Maxon is still enamored with her, no matter how America pushes him away. And Aspen has become a worthy opponent in the love triangle, always attempting to get a moment alone with America and remind her of the wonderful past they had once shared.
There’s more challenges, more parties, more hiding from violent attacks on the castle, and so much more world–building! America gets her hand on a historical diary and with this book, the history of her very disturbing, yet also believable caste system becomes explained. There’s a lot more politics in this one, a lot more history, and a lot more drama!
A lot of the book is about America realizing that no choice is perfect and that no one is perfect either. We learn a lot about Maxon and his evil father. And we learn a lot more about the remaining selected girls. There’s terrifying confrontations, rebellious live TV moments, dancing, debating, and one terrifying moment that actually caused me to step back in shock. I was crying for these characters and I was fighting against them too. What it all comes down to for America is not just who she loves the most, but how willing she is to make a difference.
This was definitely an interesting sequel. A lot was learned about this world in turmoil. A lot was learned about Maxon. And a lot was learned about America and what she is capable of handling and accepting. I sort of had a love/hate relationship with America though. What I loved most about her was that she was always willing to hear all sides of an argument. She listens to the hired help as much as she listens to the queen. She gets all sides of an argument before making a decision. This also caused me to hate her for stringing these two young men around for so long.
I also found myself on multiple occasions kind of wanting to slap some sense into America. Yes, she was always listening to everyone, acting as the one moral compass of the entire cast of characters. But, she changed her mind too often, all the time. Aspen would piss her off and she’d run to Maxon. Maxon would allow some atrocity to take place, and she would ache for Aspen. I just don’t think love works this way. I think it’s clear which boy she loves more. She’s just letting so many other things get in her way, and maybe rightly so.
I guess my major problem with America was I just kept hoping for her to be tougher/stronger. I wanted her to come to the realization that she could change things for the better much quicker. I want her to want to be queen. I want her to want to change the horrible world she lives in. And above all else I want her to stand up to the king! I kept hoping for the book to take a more rebellious plot turn, but it never really went there.
I get that it’s a far step from musician to leader, but America has all the things a great leader needs; I just wish she saw that. Maybe she comes to this conclusion in the final book? And maybe all the things I keep hoping for, will all come to pass. I’ll have to wait and see.
I enjoyed all the wake-up call moments for America. The hardest one was the unfair treatment of a close friend, and while this pulled at my heartstrings, I also see how this can act at the turning point for America and it needed to happen. I also like that Maxon came off as much more human in this one. He’s not just prince Charming any more. He has a lot of serious flaws. I also love how important books and history have become here. The rebels were stealing books!
And of course there is all the Bachelor-type drama that happened in book 1. It is so addicting, reading a book that reads like a reality show. It’s an easy read (though slightly more intense now). It’s fast paced. There’s a love triangle to end all love triangles. There’s rebellions and politics. There’s dances and fear. I give it a 9/10. And I’m dying to keep reading. Please hurry, Kiera Cass!

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