Happily Ever After

Title: Happily Ever After
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, a companion
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen

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:

  

  

The Crown

Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, book 5/6
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

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Note: This post reviews the fifth book of The Selection Series. You may like to read the first four books in the series,  The Selection, The Elite, The One, and The Heir before reading this review.

Princess Eadlyn is down to her final few suitors in her Selection. Though she was very much against this “competition” in the beginning, she has begun to care about the remaining men.  She and her childhood acquaintance, Kile, are more than amiable at this point and we can definitely see the possibility of Eadlyn choosing him.  But she also sees potential in the others as well, including Erik – who is not actually a competitor, but only a translator.

In addition to the ongoing Selection, Eadlyn must assume more responsibilities of the Crown due to family crisis. This is her time to be there for her people, and to prove to them that she can be a capable and good leader for Illea. The pressure of ruling and choosing a man to stand by her side and help her weighs down on our heroine. Will she be able rule well? Will she choose wisely as the Selection comes to an end?

As I mentioned in my previous post, The Heir, I enjoyed this book and the way it showed the next generation. However, I did not love these books about Eadlyn the way I loved the first three books about her father, Maxon, and his love, America. I was hoping these two books about Eadlyn would be just as great and captivating, but they were not. By the end of the books, it didn’t matter to me who she ended up with – I just didn’t care. That’s a little disappointing to me, since I had been holding my breath until Maxon finally decided on America. All in all, I truly love this series as a whole! I just might have been okay if the last two books had never been written.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

  

The Heir

Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, book 4/6
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: May 5th, 2015

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Note: This post reviews the fourth book of The Selection Series. You may like to read the first three books in the series, The Selection, The Elite, and The One before reading this review. 

The Selection competition is about to begin again, but this time, everything is different. This Selection is to be held for Princess Eadlyn, heir to the throne of Illea and the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America. In the past, the Selection has always been held for the prince. Now, it will be the Princess doing the choosing – and unlike her father, she is not happy about it.

Meet Eadlyn – strong, capable, and powerful. And oh, does she know it. Growing up having anything and everything she could ever want, the Princess is spoiled. (And rude) But, of course, very beautiful. She agrees to go along with the Selection that her parents so desperately want her to do, on the condition that if she does not fall in love within 3 months, the contestants will be released from the palace and she can go on with her life. Let the competition begin.

The Selection proves to be a good experience for Princess Eadlyn, in more ways than one. Not only does she begin to (ever so slowly) let people into her heart, but she also sees how spoiled she really is and how little she actually knows about the people she will soon rule. Her eyes and her heart gradually open to the people around her, and she becomes a little less stuck up. (Thank God.)

I definitely enjoyed this book and the way it showed the next generation, but I didn’t fall in love with it in the same way that I did with the first 3 books. Maxon and America were such lovable characters right from the start, and Eadlyn was a character that I had to grow to like (by the end of the book). As a reader, I find it hard to be invested in a story when I don’t really like the character or feel any kind of connection. But I understand why Eadlyn is the way she is. First of all, Cass couldn’t have written her too similarly to her father or mother – which is why she is not down to earth at all – because it would have seemed like a repeat, and she needed something different by book 4. Also, it makes sense that Eadlyn would be spoiled and arrogant and aloof, since she has always gotten whatever she wants. Having said that, I still love this series as a whole.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

  

The One

Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, book 3/6
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: May 5th, 2015

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Note: This post reviews the third book of The Selection Series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, The Selection and The Elite, before reading this review.

(Can I just begin by admitting that I really want the dress on the cover? There, I said it. Now that we got that out of the way…)

Prince Maxon has narrowed the Selection competition down to the last four girls – Celeste, a 2; Kriss, a 3; Elise, a 4; and of course, America, our heroine, a 5.  Each girl left standing is there for a specific reason. Celeste, high and mighty though she be, is a solid choice, and the people’s favorite. She is America’s least favorite person in the competition, which is not surprising after all the horrible things she has said and done since the beginning.  Kriss is still there because she genuinely loves Maxon, and he cares for her, too. She is kind (enough) and would never do anything to sabotage another opponent, but takes the Selection very seriously. And Elise is really only there still because she has relations in New Asia, which makes her a good option politically.

And then there is America – Maxon’s favorite, our favorite. But not the people’s favorite, and definitely not the King’s favorite. Maxon decides his next move will be to make his people fall in love with her, just like he already has. If she is to be the future queen, then she must be accepted and loved by the people of Illea.

America has already made up her mind – she wants Maxon, over her first love Aspen. But here is where it gets complicated. Does he really love her, too? Is he really going to choose her in the end, or will he go with the safer choice, Kriss? Maxon, too, is on the edge because he thinks she could walk away at any moment, and he would have to change his mind, or else end up with no one. She is waiting for him to say “I love you” first, while he wants to hear it from her. And that basically happens the whole book.

I wasn’t disappointed in the conclusion to the Selection. Cass wrapped things up beautifully and certainly left me wanting more. I don’t want to give too much of the finale away, so I am going to leave it at that. What I will say is, this is one of my favorite book series, and I cannot wait to reread them. AMAXICA!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series: