Talon: A Book Review

Book: Talon (Talon #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon, #1)

Blurb:

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

My thoughts:

I sat down to write this review almost a week and two posts ago. That should give you an idea of just how difficult I found it to review this book.I may dislike writing negative reviews but I really, really hate writing disappointed reviews.

It’s hard to believe that this book is written by the same author who wrote the Iron King series and the Blood of Eden series. They were so good and this is so…not. At the same time, I can see that Ms. Kagawa tried to copy some of the elements which made the above series so compelling into this one. The keyword here is tried.

She tried taking the manipulative and violent nature of the fae and putting it into the dragons. And though the punishments in the book were certainly draconic in nature, the character themselves did not feel like dragons; they felt more human than anything else- too kind, to naive, too noble and too boring.

She attempted to duplicate the air of secrecy, double-crossing and back-stabbing that had us flipping the pages as fast as was as physically possible in the Blood of Eden but here too she failed. Can I just say, I saw it all coming from miles away?

The characters didn’t dazzle me or delight me either. You know they’ve been written badly when you feel completely detached even after 413 pages of reading. Part of it was the main character’s fault. She’s one of those annoying characters who aren’t really that special but has everyone tripping over their feet trying to kiss hers. Her twin brother (though promising in the beginning) barely made an appearance at all. To excuse his lack of presence, we were constantly told something like He went water-skiing with the guys’. And their relationship? Total fail. Ember constantly tells us she loves her brother, but honestly I can’t really see the love. She forgets about him all the time, constantly whines at him and resents him for the most pointless of reasons. Having a twin was more of a plot device than anything else. The secondary characters were just as bad. They appeared sporadically to be boy-crazy, make bad boy-decisions, push Ember at one of the boys and give her dating advice. They were totally inter-changeable and one dimensional.

The romance? Where do I start with this one. First of all, it’s a love triangle. I don’t get why YA authors think we like love triangles. We don’t. But we can tolerate them if the rest of the book is good enough. Or even if the love interests are interesting and different enough (take Puck and Ash from her Iron Fey series, for example). If it’s not already pretty obvious, the rest of the book wasn’t good enough.
There are two love interests- the dragon  and the dragon-slayer <cough, cough Firelight by Sophie Jordan cough, cough>. In both cases, it’s a case of ‘forbidden-love’ and star-crossed lovers. In the dragon case, the dragon is a rebel and an outlaw. In the dragon-slayer case… hello? dragon- SLAYER here. But other than these two things, the love interests are pretty inter-changeable. Both of them are emotionally-distant and stricken with a serious case of insta-love. Both of them are non-human (I’m of the opinion that the dragon-slayer is a robot; he certainly acts like one). Both of them are boring. Blah, blah, blah.

If this book was more about dragons and less about the romance, it could have been salvageable. But it’s not. I still have a hard time believing the book was about dragons and not about humans occasionally turned into lizards with wings. Where was the treasure-hording? Where was the fiery and angry nature? Where was the freaking worldbuilding?
The blurb looks really interesting but don’t be taken in by it. There’s no moral dilemma or a struggle to understand different species. There’s only cheap, bland romance between robotic, self-obsessed characters who come with pre-written scripts.

This book suffered a massive case of blandness. It was extremely formulaic and seemed like it didn’t even try to get much originality in. There was no plot. No interesting characters. No hot romance. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Trust me, you won’t miss anything if you don’t read the book.

My Ratings:

Cover: 2/5

Plot: 1/5 (Plot? What plot?)

Characters: 1/5

Romance: 1/5 (I really want to give this thing a zero)

Plotholes: 1/5

Ending: 2/5

Overall Rating: 1.25/ 5

Will I read the next book: No way. Dragons will turn generous and caring before I read the next book in the series again. And, no I don’t mean the so-called dragons in this book. 

Book like this: Firelight by Sophie Jordan (more draconian dragons, an actual plot ,better sibling relationships, hotter love interests, -go read that instead)

6 Tropes That YA Would be Better Without

I love young adult fiction. I really do. I love reading about people my age, who face similar things but react so differently. I love the way it’s so easy to slip into their characters and into the amazingly detailed worlds. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there), I can admit that the young adult genreisn’t perfect. Some messages that some young adult books convey…well they’re unhealthy (not to mention completely untrue) to say the least. I’ll be touching on some of them in this post.


 

  1.  Boys and girls can never be just best-friends.

    This is not entirely a Young Adult fiction phenomenon. In fact, in real life many people seem to believe this too. But I’m going ahead and starting my list with this thing because it happens all the time in young adult fiction. It usually goes like this: Boy and girl have been best friends since they were babies, one of them develops romantic feelings for the other, they refuse to tell their friend because they don’t want to ‘ruin things’, inevitably they wait too long and a new romantic interest shows up, they get jealous and they end up confessing their love and boom- instant love triangle. I’m serious this trope has been overdone (that’s why it’s called a trope).
    Characters stuck in this trope: Gale and Katniss from the Hunger Games, Simon and Clary from the Mortal Instruments (at least for the first few books)
    Books which managed to evade this trope: I’m going to be a little more specific- I want  male and female main characters who are not related to each other (and neither of them can be a LGBT for this to work) but who still don’t have romantic feelings for each other, no matter how much you tilt your head and squint. Not surprisingly, this lowers the list quite dramatically and the only thing I can think of off the bat is Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes (and even that comes with a whole set of other problems). In it Sarah has a great relationship with her best friend Sydney, who is male and has his own girlfriend.


     

  2. No matter what your ‘soul mate’ does, you should forgive them.

    Stalking you, scaring you…hurting you– we’ve all been taught in real life that we should never be with a person who doesn’t respect you as a person or who scares and hurts you. It’s called abuse people. And no matter what the situation is, it is unforgiveable. So why did we forgive  Four so easily for taking a part of Tris’s ear off with a knife (on purpose) in Divergent or Patch trying to scare Nora into leaving him alone in Hush, Hush? And before you feminists get all superior- it’s not just the men who hurt women. In the Hunger Games, Katniss toys with Peeta’s emotions and pretends to love him before revealing it was all just a sham. And what does Peeta do? He just swallows his pride to play the part of the not-so-star crossed lover for the sake of the Capitol and Katniss’s family? Sure, it’s  different but at the end of the day- it’s just another kind of abuse.
    Books stuck in this trope: Like I mentioned above, Divergent, Hush, Hush and the Hunger Games all fall into this category
    Books which are totally against this trope: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard deals with emotional abuse,  Bitter End by Jennifer Brown and But I Love Him by Mandy Hubbard deal with physical abuse.


  3. Parents and  teachers (basically all adults) are incapable of fully understandin and helping you.

    Like my English teacher would say, a huge part of being a teenager is wanting to show that you’re self-sufficient and independent. In other words, we teenagers would like to believe we don’t need no grownups. So in books like the Iron King by Julie Kagawa, the parents are the last one who are let into the loop. Because they wouldn’t need to know that their son is being held hostage by the fae and has been replaced with a changeling, would they? Nope, not at all. Even the Harry Potter series is not safe from this trope. Dumbledore, though a great man is eventually shown to be fallible and most fans believe Harry would have been better off never trusting him in the first place.
    I can not, and I repeat- can not think of a single young adult fiction book in which there is a reliable adult around who the main character trusts and tells them about everything.



  4. Whining can be endearing.

    Bella Swan from Twilight is perhaps the most well-known for this trope (boo-hoo, i’m not pretty, it rains so much here, my boyfriend won’t turn me into a vampire, he wants to celebrate my birthday, and it rains so much here *sob*) but there are others too. Zoey from the House of Night series and Cassia from the Matched trilogy, I’m looking at you. Authors, there’s one really important thing you need to know about teenage girls: Most of us are not whiny and none of us find whiny people endearing. If you need to give your narrator’s voice a little bit of oomph, then whininess is not the way to go.
    Some books without this trope: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman- all three are great books with non-whiny heroes who have excoriating circumstances thrust upon them but still rise to meet the challenges with minimal self pity and whining.


  5. Love at first sight exists

    This trope exists in so many forms. Of course there is the ‘You don’t need to walk by again, I believe in love at first sight’ but perhaps the most common form in young adult fiction is ‘I had never seen that boy before but I felt an instant connection’. The ‘We met in a dream and that’s how we fell in love’ one’s pretty common too. All so different but they have one thing in common- they’re all annoying.  Not to mention unrealistic.
    P.S. the ‘We met in a past life’ one counts too. Cheaters *sticks tongue out*
    Character stuck in this trope: Ethan and Lena from Beautiful Creatures, Daniel and Luce from Fallen
    Books without this trope:  The Gallagher Girls and Heist Society by Ally Carter. I’m not sure if Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan gets to go in this category or not. After all, Kami and Jared have never met but at the same time they’ve been each others best friends (even if each of them thought the other was imaginary).  But it’s so good, I’m going to go ahead and put it here.


  6. Everything will work out (even if you do nothing)

    So here’s what happens when you’ve got a huge problem that stresses you out completely- a magical and amazing outsider will come in and wave their magical fairy wand and your problem will disappear forever. How often does this happen in real life? Once? Twice? Oh wait, I remember…never. You usually have to work hard to make your problems disappear. Even if they do disappear, it’s because you’ve matured and grown and thus have bigger problems to worry about. So yeah, I hate happy ever afters when the main characters do nothing to deserve them.
    In fact, there’s a fancy latin name for this whole trope. It’s called deus ex machina. Wikipedia defines it as a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. It also makes it pretty clear that this is undesirable.
    Books with this trope: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith and The Chemical Garden Trilogoy by Lauren DeStefano
    The exceptions to the rule: Lord of The Flies by William Golding- but only because I think if it went any further, I would have freaked out.


 

So that’s a list of some things I hate about YA. What about you?

The 5 Most Over-Rated YA Books

There are some books for which the anticipation of reading them is far better than actually reading them. You know what I’m talking about. Those books that friends swore up and down were great, brilliant and genius, the ones publishers touted as the book or the last book in a series which just falls flat. There are some books which surprise you in a good way but then there are those which shock you and make you  kinda understand what people mean when they say ‘I don’t like to read’.

Well these are mine. My disappointments, fails, whatever you want to call them. The top 5 most over rated books I’ve read or at least tried to.


 

1.)

The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

Book: Lord Of The Rings

Author: J. R. R. Toilken

Description:  Through the urgings of the enigmatic wizard Gandalf, young hobbit Frodo Baggins embarks on an urgent, incredibly treacherous journey to destroy the One Ring. This ring — created and then lost by the Dark Lord, Sauron, centuries earlier — is a weapon of evil, one that Sauron desperately wants returned to him. With the power of the ring once again his own, the Dark Lord will unleash his wrath upon all of Middle-earth. The only way to prevent this horrible fate from becoming reality is to return the Ring to Mordor, the only place it can be destroyed. Unfortunately for our heroes, Mordor is also Sauron’s lair.

Why it’s on this list: It was probably the writing. Did Toilken really have to drag and stretch everything out? If you thought the ooh-pretty-picture syndrome in Eragon was bad, then there are simply no words to describe the sheer over-description in this book. Does each tree need a rhapsody sung about it? Does each flower need a ballad in its name? Do you like it when world history is info dumped on you in annoyingly large chunks of poetry? Well, unless your answer is yes… then you won’t like the writing style of the book.

Another thing that annoyed me about this series (or book actually I didn’t get too far) was the insipidness and shallowness of the society the characters live in. It’s as if other than a few major players, no one in the world gets a personality; they’re just zombies.

I think this book put me off fantasy for quite a while.


 

2.)

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

Book: The Selection (The Selection #1)

Author: Kiera Cass

Description: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.


But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Why it’s on this list: You should read my review here. It’s practically a rant on what all I hate (a word that’s not nearly strong enough) about this book. The sketchy world-building with the awkward caste-system and nonsensical history was a major complaint. But that complaint was eclipsed by the shallowness of the characters and their interaction. Nothing about this story was smooth- from the dialogue to the plot. It all seemed very haphazard and thrown together. I’m not at all sure why this book was so celebrated. I mean, sure it had a nice cover but this book is the reason people say:  don’t judge a book by its cover.


 

3.)

Looking for Alaska

Book: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Description:  Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

Why it’s on this list: If you know me, you probably know my opinion on John Green’s books. If you don’t, well you can read it here.  And if you want my opinion on this book particularly you can read it here. This book was kind of an awkward read for me. There were several parts in the book where I was like : Wait, what? Why would they do something that stupid? The answer wasn’t clear to me by the end of the book. So this was a pointless read besides a boring one.


 

4.)

Matched (Matched, #1)

Book: Matched (Matched #1)

Author: Allie Coondie

Description: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Why it’s on this list: Yet again, it’s the characters which break this book. The world building wasn’t too bad. But only because the world was completely lifted off The Giver by Lois Lowry (fantastic read, by the way). The romance in this book was completely screwed up. We have a love triangle which features Cassie: the robot, Xander: the best friend and Ky: the ‘aberration’. So completely predictable. Forbidden love Romeo and Juliet-esque style follows and it is mind-numbingly insipid. But it makes sense because that’s what the characters are too. None of them have any sort of free thought or talent. I’m all for making characters ‘ordinary’ and ‘believable’ but this was just overdone.

 


5.)

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

Book:Twilight

Author/Authoress: Stephanie Meyers

Description: First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

When Bella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.
What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And it might be too late to turn back…

Why it’s on this list: A lot of you are probably wondering this. I mean it’s not like Twilight has a good reputation, so how can it be over-rated? It had a good reputation. Once upon a time. In 2009 or so? But here are the common list of complaints: Bella Swan is a boring,wimpy Mary-Sue based on the author, Edward Cullen is a creepy, blood sucking, sparkly stalker and the romance between them is unhealthy.  And that’s basically the summary of this 498 page fiasco. How could you possibly not say this book is overrated?


So that’s the list. Which book do you think is the most over rated?

The Hunger Games: A Book Review

Book: The Hunger Games
Author/Authoress: Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Hunger Games is one of the best known dystopian young adult books and I loved it. It seems kinds of silly to me, that I dedicated this blog to young adult dystopian books and I still didn’t have a post about the Hunger Games over here. I guess I took it for granted that everyone’s read the series (and loved it too) but recently I wished a friend of mine ‘May the odds ever be in your favour’ in and got a blank look in return. To minimize my self-humiliation I  prompted them- “You know, the Hunger Games?” and got a smile and a ‘I haven’t watched the movie yet’…
I haven’t watched the movie yet?!? <Shakes head in despair>. You poor, poor deprived person.

So, here I am, reviewing the Hunger Games not just for the sake of the people who think it’s just a movie but also for people who I know have read and loved it. Be warned, this may turn into a fangirling session.

Cover:2/5

I don’t really go for the minimalist style for book covers. So the stark black background with ugly white letters proclaiming that the book’s name was ‘The Hunger Games’ and watermarks of targets didn’t really inspire much enthusiasm for me. But I can admire how the background makes the mocking-jay pin stand out. It’s probably the most recognisable young adult series just for that golden shiny pin which appears in some form or the other on every single book in the series. And for good reason too, that pin is important. Every single event in this book eventually boils down to that pretty golden pin.

Characters: 3.5/5

Katniss: The main character that everyone loves and even if you say you don’t love her, you know deep down you really do. Ever since her father died at the tender age of ten, she’s been shouldering the full load of her family almost single handily. She learnt how to hunt with a bow and arrow (actually let’s be fair to her father, he taught her before he died) and hunts illegally catching squirrels and rabbits neatly in the eye as well as bringing bigger game down. Like expected from such a character, she’s not squeamish about blood or even that squeamish about killing human living beings. To her, they’re just bigger prey. She’s suspicious and mistrusting (even of her own mother) but once you have her loyalty or do her a favour, she’ll do anything for you and do her best to get out of your debt. And her way of classifying everyone into predator and prey- totally charming.  But she has her flaws too. Can there ever be a good character without flaws? Never mind, that’s a rhetorical question. Katniss is hot-headed and stubborn and while this makes her undoubtedly cool at some times, it gets her into trouble as well. Besides that, she has the annoying tendency to see everything in black and white and label everyone and everything as evil and good. She doesn’t see blurry lines and grey areas. Another thing that annoys me about her is her priorities- they’re seriously messed up.

Prim: Prim’s the kind of cliché sweet baby sister character who the main character has to protect. But Suzanne Collins is not content to leave her flat and two dimensional. With the help of memories and Rue, Ms. Collins manages to string together an amazing back story which not only shows just how gentle, kind and sheltered Prim is but her healing genius and  tough inner strength as well.

Rue: Rue was a fabulous character. Just small and innocent enough for Katniss to protect and wise, clever and skilled enough to stand on her own. Through her, we learn more about the Capitol and through her death we develop a hatred for it. I’m not ashamed to admit- this is one death scene I actually cried for.

Cato: Is it weird that I actually liked this brutal, brain-washed Career from district 2? His intense temper and smug arrogance made me laugh, laugh, laugh. Suzanne Collins, would you please do a short story from Katniss’s archenemy’s of the 74th Hunger Games point of view?

Plot:5/5

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Honestly, how could I resist this plot?  It’s like a twisted mix of awful reality television, a promise of lots of action  and a chilling dystopian world. Just what I’ve always wanted.

Worldbuilding:4/5

The strange blend with old fashionedness (trains and phones as a novelty) and modern technology (mutated, genetically modified animals and food appearing at the touch of a button) that’s so common for these types of books worked fantastically for this one. The world building begins on page one of this book and continues on ’til the last page of the last book. It’s slow, gradual and inspired genius.

Action:5/5

You would think that with 24 deaths, eventually all of the action will get boring. That’s not true. Not true at all. Right now I’m thinking of death by tracker-jackers. Definitely not a fun way to go.  It seems weird to compliment Suzanne Collins on the imaginative deaths she thought up for her characters, but I have to. They were really innovative and cool in a gruesome sort of ways.

Romance:1/5

Peeta: For some reason Peeta really annoys me in this book. Despite him starring in a major part of the book either directly or indirectly, I feel that we’re not really given much information about him. Even the information we are given is in the form of telling and not showing. What we do know about him: he bakes bread, he likes camouflaging, he’s selfless, he’s a good actor (or the Careers are really dumb, either one or maybe both) he’s been in love with Katniss since he was five, he remembers everything about Katniss, he was too shy to tell her that he loved her for eleven years until he announced it on national television, he refuses to let Katniss put her life in danger for his sake, etc. etc.

I think you get my point.  A large part of his personality is based on Katniss’s. So much so, he’s almost defined by her.  If you take her away, you get a kind of cowardly guy who bakes bread and likes art. Not the dreamboat everyone thinks about.

Gale: We’re only treated to him for a couple of pages and it’s already obvious where this is heading. He’s angry, rash, masculine (which means he’s not into baking or art),  anti-capitol and truly, deeply and madly in love with Katniss although she doesn’t know it yet. Other than that, he’s remarkably similar to Peeta.<rolls eyes> Oh boy!

Disclaimer: I am sick of love triangles in which there are obvious winners and carbon copy characters. 

Plotholes:3/5

Just look up, the love in this book is riddled with plot holes.

Overall rating:4/5

I am reminded again why I do not read young adult dystopia for its strong,  gradual and beautiful romances. But I loved the world building, plot, most of the characters, and the action of this book. I would recommend reading and maybe even buying this book.

The Selection:A Book Review

Book: The Selection (Selection #1)

Author/Authoress: Kiera Cass

Cover:3/5

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

 

The cover’s gorgeous but let me make it clear- it’s the only thing about this book that is. I guess it teaches me not to be lured in by fancy covers and false pretences. But if there was ever a time, I could be forgiven for judging a book by it’s cover- it’s this book. I saw a pretty but frivolous model wearing a pretty but frivolous dress on the cover and what do I expect? A pretty but frivolous book. Duh! What else was I supposed to think after this book claimed to be like the Bachelor? I expected a light fluffy read that you walked away from shaking your head but with a smile on your face anyways. As you might have guessed from my mini-rant, it wasn’t. Not even close. The selection was the kind of book you want to throw repeatedly at the wall until the cover which led you there fell off. Sadly, I wasn’t able to do this (I read an e-version of this book) so I’m contenting myself with writing a scathing review.

Plot:1/5

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself�and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

You know how people always say that satisfaction is the result of what you get divided by expectations?

I opened the book with very little expectations. I didn’t expect something profound and beautiful from the book. So how was it that what I got was even less than my expectations? I’ll tell you why.
Hmm… maybe it was the messed up plot? When I heard ‘the Bachelor’ heres what I thought of. Cat fights, makeup, eliminations, etc. And that’s clearly what Kiera thought of too but somehow she’s managed to mess it all up. I really couldn’t bring myself to care about the eliminations since I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters. The makeup thingy- oh we were totally ripped off. Despite America being adamant she was just ‘average’, she refused to get a makeover. The cat fights were shallow, frivolous and totally fake.

Characters:1/5

Our MC, America Singer (have you seen a more pretentious name?) spends the first half of the book complaining about her doomed Romeo-Julietesque romance (more about that in romance) and the abject poverty her family suffers from.  Pasta and apples slices for dinner, two full wardrobes- and she claims that she is ‘poor’? Forgive me for not believing you, America Singer.

What else do I hate about her? Well for starters, America thinks she is ‘average’. Of course we all know that in the young adult world, ‘average’ means amazing and modest. ‘Average’ heroines are the ones who are as beautiful as the sun and stars put together, the ones who know how to play a thousand different musical instruments and knows a gazillion different languages. They are the ones who are assured and reassured by their love interest that they are not just ‘average’- they are beautiful and smart and kind and… the list goes on. (Rolls eyes)

So what does our main character have going for her? Oh yes! She just happens to be just pretty and talented enough to capture the attention of dearest Prince Charming. She gets the chance to be in the most retarded game show ever to win the hand of the most eligible bachelor ever- the aforementioned Prince Charming.  But because Kiera Cass doesn’t want to make out heroine sound money-grubbing and opportunistic, she takes the opportunity to add some more tension to the mix and make her heroine dead set against the idea of even entering the contest.

But that’s only the beginning. This book is an array of shallow narcissistic one dimensional characters.

Our MC’s mother is an overdone version of Mrs. Weasely. Pushy, shovey, red-headed and not above bribes to get her children to do stuff they should have had the common sense to do anyways. Face palm.

Everyone in this book from Prince Charming to the ‘villain’ Celeste is a huge stereotype. If you plan on reading this book, don’t read it for the characters.

Action: 1/5

There were supposedly some raids but the main action in this book is Celeste demanding America give her her dress. Stupid, shallow and…did I mention stupid?

Romance:1/5

Aaargggh! A love triangle. Between Prince Maxon and a childhood friend  boyfriend ex-boyfriend palace guard Aspen. I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing over the names.
Maxon- Prince Maxon was seriously one of the most awkward characters I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. He’s a walking stereotype in the fact that he’s a typical Disney Prince- Perfrct, nice, naïve, calling everyone ‘my dear’ and completely boring.

And at the same time, he’s so contradictory. He claims to be bad with women but then proceeds to charm his way through all of the beautiful contestants. Apparently they found his awkwardness and creepiness endearing. Or something. (Personally I found it creepy) But then it’s possible that they were charmed by the glittering crown on his head.

 His behaviour makes even less sense. America wrongly assumes that Maxon is about to rape her then she proceeds to knee him where it hurts and then he doesn’t even care? Pathetic and weird. Then she tells him that she’s here for the food and in love with someone else so she doesn’t even want to be the damn princess. Well, I’m guessing any sane, non-pathetic guy would have eliminated her on the spot. Even if he’s kind and caring-especially if he’s kind and caring because he’d give the chance to someone who actually wanted it.

But we’ve established that Maxon’s neither kind nor caring. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when he threatened to kick her out when she claimed that one of the other girls was sabotaging the rest of the girls. But…talk about double standards and ‘for the sake of the plot’ moves.

Aspen- Aspen’s even worse.  He’s a chauvinistic prig who just can’t stand his helpless, dainty woman lifting her delicate, unmarred hands to get him some food. He throws an immature, prissy tantrum and breaks up with her when she makes him dinner. Dinner for God’s sake. Personally, I think the only reason Kiera Cass made the duo break up was because she couldn’t stand the thought of her pure, innocent little MC actually cheating.

Worldbuilding/Plotholes: 1/5

Kiera Cass you shouldn’t even have gone there. Seriously. Your world building sucked. I have no idea what ‘poverty’ in The Selection World is like. Unless it’s chicken, pasta, apple and iced tea. I have no idea why the Chinese would want to attack the Americans for having a massive debt. Waging wars are expensive. Neither do I get why they would want to use Americans for labour. For decades, Americans have been using machinery and cheap imported labour. They wouldn’t know how to do real labour if their lives depended on it. And I have no idea why America would suddenly consent to being named after a man who supposedly greatly aided them in winning them their freedom from the Chinese (they only gave George Washington a state and the capital). Or for that matter why they would accept the shoddy caste system in which they are all ranked from 1-7. As the saying goes: More full of holes than Swiss cheese

Overall Rating:1/5

So, if you can see past the obvious plot holes and if you don’t mind the messed up plot or the contrived, fake romance or the  shallow, self-absorbed characters or the utter lack of action… then you truly deserve to be lured in by the misleading cover into this horrible toilet paper thing that’s masquerading as a book.