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

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.

 

The Prince, second of the novellas, was my favorite. 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. Even though I knew the story from beginning to end, I wanted to know everything that happened from Maxon’s point of view. 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. He 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. 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. 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. All because of his love for America.

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.

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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

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.

Mild spoilers. 

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. 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.

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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

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. 

Mild spoilers. 

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. 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.

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. Having said that, I still love this series as a whole.

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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

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.

Maxon has narrowed the Selection competition down to the last four girls. Celeste, high and mighty though she be, is a solid choice, and the people’s favorite. Kriss is still there because she genuinely loves Maxon, and he cares for her, too. 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 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, struggling to choose between Maxon and Aspen, has already made up her mind. But has she made her decision too late?

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!

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The Elite

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, book 2/6
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013



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

America is now one of the Elite of the Selection – one of six girls left to compete for the love of Maxon, Prince of Illea. While the other girls compete fiercely to be the next Princess, America doesn’t know if this is really the life she wants. She feels something for the prince, but does she love him? And though he is very interested in America, does he actually love her back?

Sadly, as Maxon realizes he may not be able to win over America, he starts to consider his other options in the competition. Now we have to see Maxon pursue and date other girls just in case America decides that she does not love him by the end of it.

To make matters more complicated, her first love, Aspen, has been chosen to be a guard at the palace. This means that he has been elevated from a lowly six to an esteemed two in the caste system, and is now able to see a future with America, where there was no hope before the Selection. America cannot get over what she had with Aspen, and finds herself drawn to him, even during the Selection when she is supposed to be focusing on Maxon. Will America make her choice before it is too late, or will she miss out on the love of her life?

This was an exciting sequel to The Selection, and I couldn’t put it down!

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The Selection

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series, book 1/6
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 24th, 2012

America Singer is a five. Reluctantly, she enters her name in the Selection, a contest in which one of thousands will be chosen to be the future Princess of Illea – and Prince Maxon’s bride. America is one of the 35 girls chosen to compete for the love of the Prince. From the beginning, however, she is convinced that she will not fall in love with him. She holds back because of Aspen, her childhood sweetheart, and has no room in her heart for this stuffy, boring Prince Maxon.

Happily for us, she is proven wrong about Maxon. Their relationship starts off as a solid friendship. America is honest about her lack of feelings for Maxon, and he decides to keep her in the competition anyway because her family desperately needs the stipend she receives from participating. Their friendship blossoms, and both of them realize that, whatever the future will hold, they will clearly be more than just friends. I must say, I appreciate the pace in which the writer allows their relationship to grow. It does not develop overnight like most classic fairytales, but instead progresses at a steady pace, becoming something strong and real.

I read through this book quite easily in one sitting – the sign of a fantastic book and a mesmerizing writer. I just couldn’t get enough of Amaxica!

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