did this have to be so vapid?!
Let's get one thing straight; dystopian novels are one of my guilty pleasures. This one's premise seemed slightly intriguing, even if the idea of a futuristic version of The Bachelor (with a royal twist) made me cringe a little (because I effing hate
The Bachelor). Sadly, however, where premise and good intentions fail, mediocrity prevails. This entire book is just silly. Shallow and completely meaningless....and nothing really happened. I get that it's the beginning of a trilogy, but the setup of a trilogy needs to be crafted in such a way that the reader wants to come back for more. After reading over 350 pages of America Singer's whiny inner monologue about how she can't settle on just one
devastatingly handsome suitor (on top of everything else she whined about which was...well, everything), I wanted to forget I'd read the first one. It doesn't bode well for the second.
To give Kiera Cass
some credit, her writing isn't terrible
. The problem is, it's not really good
, either. It's just sort of there. I couldn't develop any kind of feeling about any of the characters. They're all pretty much standard YA cardboard cutouts, going through the motions, hoping someone will take notice. I liked that America and Maxon are just friends at first, that there isn't an overabundance of slimy creamed corn in the forms of staring into each other's swirling, bottomless eyes, and soulful stares meant to convey their deep, deep longing for one another. It was actually rather refreshing that they were both so honest with each other. But my relief at not having to read about yet more game-playing divas was short lived. Eventually, America turns into another indecisive, jealous idiot. And, truth be told, Prince Maxon is kind of creepy. I guess that fits, though, since these people are obviously the descendants Idiocracy
warned us about...
The Selection process is absolutely ridiculous, the setting is over-the-top (while simultaneously vague), the dialogue doesn't make sense at times, and the overall story is boring. Girls get made up and parade themselves in front of a prince. Uh huh. And? Oh, the castle is attacked a couple of times. Look, America forms a friendship with her trio of quirky maids. That's cute, right? Right?
As far as comparing it to The Hunger Games
It just seemed like Ms. Cass was trying a bit too hard. I believe what she was shooting for with this story and what she actually managed are worlds apart. What could have been an interesting, exciting, emotionally jarring novel is instead a shallow and puerile rag for teeny boppers. It's like someone snatched a girl out of a mall somewhere, sat her down with a computer, and told her to write like George Orwell. In response, she gazed back, blank and empty, and said, "George who?
The cover is shiny and pretty and colorfully pleasing...and it belies the otherwise wasted space underneath.