Be prepared, readers. This is not going to be a rave review. A lot of The Selection, for me, was just o...more[review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
Be prepared, readers. This is not going to be a rave review. A lot of The Selection, for me, was just okay. There were elements I liked, but I never felt fully invested in the story. Let me explain because some of my dislikes might be things that might not bother you at all.
I have heard The Selection described as ABC’s The Bachelor mixed with a dystopia. I’d say that’s a fair description, and I’m a girl who is well-versed in the television version of back-stabbing women anxiously hoping to receive a rose. I was hoping for solid world-building where something like our country morphing to a King/Queen royal class structure would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I found the descriptions leaving WHY questions unanswered. I do think, however, that there was enough information to follow along with the story. There was a general sense of things, but I’m a girl who likes to really understand the details.
One minor detail that seemed to negatively affect me throughout the book was the choice of names picked for the characters. I found some were too similar. Some were too odd. There weren’t many, if any, regularly named characters. When there are so many, I suppose I expect a little normalcy so that I’m able to easily remember everyone. I don’t like having to go back to reference paragraphs because I cannot remember who a girl is. I found myself doing that quite a bit. (I will admit that all 35 characters were not fully developed. If you’ve read the Hunger Games, think about how we didn’t know all of the Tributes names.)
While it took me about 100 pages to embrace the world and feel more comfortable with the characters, there were elements of the story I did enjoy. America was a girl who was beautiful and possessed a musical talent. She didn’t come across as too perfect, too good for anyone, or too… anything. She was a bit quirky and she stood out to Prince Maxon because she was different. She was admirable, especially since she was leaving behind the love of her life, Aspen, to be part of the competition.
I didn’t feel connected to Aspen’s character. I am usually all for the underdog and fight for the the best friend to win the girl’s heart. I never felt convinced of America and Aspen’s relationship. It seemed incredibly physical and had less of a foundation. I felt like I could see right through all of the circumstances that were supposed to rip America’s heart into shreds, and I dislike predictability so much in a book.
Maxon was silly and a little over-the-top. I just had a twitter conversation with Bookalicious Pam about the over abundance of exclamation points (!!!) used by Maxon. He was extremely overzealous. However, he had some really likeable characteristics – he was super honest and I enjoyed the friendship America and Maxon established. He was kind and sweet. In my notes, I wrote, “These are the kinds of boys I usually fall for the hardest.” I knew there had to be more to him than his facade. Though I am Team Maxon and fighting for America to choose him, I don’t know where her heart is.
I will definitely continue to read the remainder of the series. I think this will be a good series for readers to follow along with. I am looking forward to the next book – it will feel like we’re just jumping into another season of The Bachelor. The crazy will still be waiting for us when we tune back in. (less)
** WARNING: there will be spoilers for Divergent. DO NOT read if you haven't read Divergent already.
I feel as if my hands are hovering over the keyboard, not quite sure where to start and what to say other than WOW.
I read Divergent days after its release date last year, so I knew I’d need to refresh because Veronica’s world is so dense and structured. I couldn’t have been happier that I decided to re-read it; there were so many details that I would have been questioning in Insurgent. Veronica springs right into action and doesn’t provide a lot of back story. I think it’s expected of her readers to be well-versed in the characters and story. (This is probably my biggest piece of advice. Re-read Divergent, your notes, a blog… something that provides the ins and outs of all the chaos that goes down before you begin Insurgent.)
Insurgent is full (FULL) of twists and turns. Tris makes a lot of decisions that I didn’t always relate to or understand, but I don’t think she always knew why she was making them either. She’s searching, relentlessly, to find out who she is. Is she factionless? Is she Dauntless? She’s never been very selfless, but maybe she should have stayed in Abnegation. Because of all these uncertainties, there was a lot of friction between Tris and Four.
I know. Friction?!
I wish I could say to expect only the hottest, steamiest goodness from these two, but they’re both packing a lot of baggage. As they each have their own issues, more depth and complexity introduced itself. Sometimes it was hard for me to decide if Tris or Four was right. They both presented persuasive arguments for why they felt one way or another. My heart felt so torn. Maybe shredded is more appropriate. Tris and Four had so much trouble connecting – they were very hit or miss. I must admit that this part was hard for me to read through; sure, it’s only logical that when faced with so much turmoil, the romantical parts of life might be less… romantical, but somehow in Divergent, they always found a way to have sweet, tender moments. (And yes, I hereby instate romantical as a useable word. Go forth and prosper.)
The ride Roth takes us on in Insurgent is intense. I felt as if I were making the decisions right along with Tris. Her strong, rigid exterior was completely broken after the simulation attacks. She emotes so much more vulnerability and mourns the loss of Will and her parents. She takes on what I’d like to call a “savior complex” and feels like she needs to sacrifice herself to honor those who died. There were times when I felt like I, as a reader, was intentionally kept in the dark, though. I’d have questions about the whereabouts of people or how certain things happened, only to have Roth brilliantly explain them later.
There are people, solutions, and questions along the way that constantly left me guessing. Who is to be trusted? Is X person manipulating Y person? What side is that faction really on? The debates are endless.
There’s no doubt that this was my most anticipated book for 2012. I tried to slowly read through it so I could cling to every ounce of goodness, but yet again, I feel as if I should re-read this soon because I couldn’t contain myself. Somehow Roth always stumps me with her impeccable writing and I’m left thinking, “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED THERE?” or feeling like I missed something big because surely that’s not the way that just went down. The ending, to be sure, left me flipping back through the final pages several times as I was quite flabbergasted.
I hope you love(d) Insurgent by Veronica Roth as much as I did. Please, please link up your review in the comments below because I need to FEEL and empathize with other readers.(less)