The end is finally here. America Singer was pressured into joining the selection, a televised competition between young women vying to be the next princess of Illea, and now she and Prince Maxon must sort out their feelings for one another as a rebellion intensifies in violence around them. Will America win Maxon’s heart or will she be going home heartbroken?
In The Selection, America Singer was chosen as one of 35 young women all competing to win the heart of Prince Maxon. However, her heart was still yearning for Aspen, the boy she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. Instead, America finds herself immersed in political controversies and catty women, all for a prize that she doesn’t even want. The Elite picks up when there are only six women left, and Maxon is pressuring America to finally decide whether she is ready to commit to him. Can she let go of Aspen and accept the responsibility of becoming a queen? Or are the savage realities of being a royal just too much for America to handle?
The Selection has been described as a cross between the Hunger Games and The Bachelor. The story begins in a country called Illea, a monarchy that stretches throughout most of North and South America. The prince of the nation is of age and needs to find a wife, and thirty-five young women are randomly picked to compete to be the new princess. However, Illea is embroiled in war and rebels are attacking the castle. Can America Singer, a lowly 4th caste, possibly manage to survive this competition? Will her broken heart be mended by the prince, or will she forever be unable to love again after her lover Aspen abandoned her? Will she ever learn to stop being the worst protagonist imaginable?
I have tried to write a review of The Selection several times, but it’s a book that I find difficult to analyse. Actually, let me clarify: it’s a book that I find nauseatingly terrible (despite it being a bestseller), and I have too much to say about what I don’t like about it. The protagonist is selfish and irritating, the setting is implausible and makes little sense, and the plot is basically non-existent. Being that there are many other reviewers who have taken a shot at reviewing this book, I decided that I needed to be a bit more creative with my commentary, so instead of my usual style of review, I’m writing a letter to The Selection about its world building choices. One of the benefits of a political science degree is that you get really good at assessing whether a fictional dystopia is well-constructed, and I use these skills to talk about how Illea just shouldn’t logically exist.
It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken is a graphic novel that came highly recommended. If one searches “top graphic novel lists”, Seth’s piece is a common addition. Plus, it was one of Drawn and Quarterly’s bestselling books, and I usually love what this publishing company produces. Combined with the fact that the story takes place in Canada and deals with the coming of age of a disaffected twenty-something, I figured that this graphic novel would be a staple of my library. As it turns out, I loathed it. I hated the story, the characters, and the overall themes (though the art is really quite nice). Even after reading the reviews of other people to see if I missed something and giving myself a lengthy period of time to contemplate my thoughts on the piece, I’m afraid that I can only give this book one star.