Release Date: October 13, 2015
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Note: This book is a collection of short stories that is written as a companion to The Selection Series. It is the perfect book to pick up after you have read The Selection, The Elite, and The One when you are still wanting more from these lovable characters.
The first novella, The Queen, takes us back to the time of King Clarkson’s own Selection and shows how Amberly was chosen. Originating from a lowly caste number, Amberly’s ascension to the throne of Illea is reminiscent of America’s. They are both down to earth, kind, beautiful women. But Amberly is much more soft-spoken and gentle than her feisty daughter-in-law. She simply adores Clarkson, and has for as long as she can remember. I liked seeing her perspective of him as a young prince. Though it is difficult to see in the first 3 books why she loves such a hardened man, we are able to understand a little better why finds him so attractive and endearing in this short story.
The Prince, second of the novellas, was my favorite. Obviously it was the one I liked the best because it is about Maxon! The story picks up right before his Selection is about to take place. This time, we see everything through his eyes, and I might even prefer this perspective to America’s. Maxon lets us in to his emotions and we understand just how nerve-wracking this experience truly is. We get to know exactly what he thinks about America and how much she affects him. Even though I knew the story from beginning to end, I wanted to know everything that happened from Maxon’s point of view, which is a sign of a good story. I thought the writer wrapped it up far too soon, but loved every bit that she shared with us. Note to Kiera Cass: PLEASE finish writing the entirety of The Selection Series from Maxon’s experience!
It is only right that Aspen, the other love interest, should get his own novella, too. In The Guard, Aspen shows us a bit of his view of life at the palace. It opens with the horrific scene of Marlee’s public punishment for being caught with another guard, when she (as a Selection competitor) was supposed to be faithful to Prince Maxon. From a distance, Aspen does all that he can to comfort America in her pain, for she and Marlee were best friends. It is sweet to see his tender side, not just his strength. Aspen knows he will always care about America, but as he sees her feelings for Maxon grow, he begins to let her go. Only when he has let her go does he begin to develop new feelings for Lucy, her maid. Though we already know that they fall in love, it is fun to watch it happen.
And finally, The Favorite, is about America’s beautiful bestie, Marlee. During the Selection, Marlee and America bonded fast, and it was she who was the people’s favorite (just not Maxon’s favorite). And when Marlee is publicly punished, America is heartbroken and blames Maxon. But as we see clearly in this novella, Maxon is indeed being merciful to Marlee and Carter, the guard she loves. Their act of indecency should have cost them their lives, which King Clarkson was ready for, but Maxon pleaded their case. Not only does he save their lives, but he secretly gives them jobs at the palace after they have become 8’s, the very lowest in society. He also arranges for them to get married in private. Maxon does this because he truly cares about Marlee and Carter and wants her to be happy – but he really does it all for America. (What a classic Mr. Darcy move. Good job, Maxon.) Marlee is beyond grateful for everything Maxon has done, and even though she went from a 4 to an 8 in one fell swoop, she is blissfully happy to share a life with the man she loves.
This book is a fun compilation of stories that gives us more depth and color to characters we though we already knew pretty well. It even includes scenes, rather than short stories, about Celeste, Lucy, and even Maxon and America after 2 years of marriage (and it’s adorable). If you enjoyed the rest of The Selection Series, you won’t be disappointed in Happily Ever After.
Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: