May 22, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass

 This isn't happily ever after. 
It's so much more than that.
-from The One by Kiera Cass

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Amazon | Goodreads

*This review contains spoilers for The Selection and The Elite, both by Kiera Cass*

In the highly anticipated conclusion to The Selection series by Kiera Cass, we find America Singer one of four girls left in the competition to be the next princess of Illea by marrying Prince Maxon. While America has struggled with whether or not she loves Maxon and belongs in the competition or not, we find her stronger and more intent on winning in this final installment. But with aggressive competition from the three other finalists and fearsome attacks from rebels affecting the castle more than ever, America finds herself fighting for more than what she bargained for.

It's no secret that I had some issues with The Elite, the second book in this trilogy; it was lacking in storyline and centered almost solely on America's vacillating feelings about Maxon. Well, let me tell you: Cass more than made up for the dull middle book with a gripping conclusion filled with action, romance and tons of drama. This book is so much more fast paced than the previous books giving the series as a whole a much more substantial climax and conclusion than I was honestly expecting.

In addition to the strength of pacing, Cass also gives more depth to America's story in The One. We watch America grow more into herself, instead of pacing around wondering how she feels about a boy, she begins to think bigger and focuses on how to help her country. Similarly, America's relationship with the other finalists matures which really gives a new dynamic to the superficial Bachelor-esque premise of this book. America blossoms into a girl who cares about all the relationships in her life, not simply whether or not she loves a boy.

America isn't the only person who matures. Maxon and even Aspen show new sides that perhaps we wouldn't have expected when we began this journey with them. Instead of focusing so heavily on Maxon vs Aspen, I felt like this book really centered more on Maxon vs King Clarkson, shedding light on how the country could be run in contrast to its current condition. There is a lot to be said about Illea as it is and what could be improved upon, and the consideration Maxon gives his father's reign in light of his relationship with America changes everything.

My only complaint is the stand off America and Maxon basically have over who will say the big L-word. At some point it gets almost as irritatingly superficial as the lack of action in most of The Elite. While I'm glad they're both responsible enough not to just throw out, "I love you" without thinking, it becomes more of a power struggle which didn't feel much like love at all. In the grand scheme of all the action, this wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but if you aren't a fan of all the time spent on romance then you might not be a huge fan (although, if that's the case you probably never picked up this series in the first place!).

While you might be able to suspect the end game to The Selection series, the route Cass takes you on to get there is anything but predictable. With everything that can go wrong, there are twists and turns throughout this entire novel to keep you thoroughly entertained. Fans of The Selection series will not be disappointed to follow along with America during this conclusion of her journey.

Bottom Line: As far as series enders go, this was one of my favorite conclusions! If you're a fan of The Selection you will not be disappointed! 5/5 Stars as a series conclusion.

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I was lucky enough to meet Kiera Cass on Tuesday night at Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles and she was a total sweetheart! I realized I'm probably too old for YA events now (as Kevin  Emerson put it: he's too old and surly to sit and write in coffee shops-- well, I'm too old and surly for the YA crowd!), but I'm glad I got to meet Kiera and get all of my Selection books signed! 

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