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The Elite/The One BOOK REVIEW

This is a double book review. I read them pretty fast, and I really don’t have that much to say because it kind of felt like I read the same book twice. SO…

Spoilers are ahead! These books came out EIGHT YEARS AGO! Come on!

Premise of The Elite: America has to decide who she wants to pursue: Maxon or Aspen. But while she’s deciding, Maxon starts to give his heart away to another girl.

Premise of The One: America has fallen in love with Maxon, but can’t bring herself to say it. They learn the rebels may not be the enemies they think they are, and must convince the king to change before Ilea goes to shit.

overall thoughts:

  • OKAAAY, these two books disappointed me. I did enjoy the first Selection book. America ended as a strong woman who felt confident in seeing where both relationships went. And then she… disappeared? She turned into someone OBSESSED with her feelings and it’s all we heard about.
  • I still really like the premise of these books. But everything fell flat when everything just “turned out okay.” We didn’t really see America go through hardship in a way that changed her character. Since she was a woke 5 from the beginning, there wasn’t anywhere for her to grow. She had a temper, but it was always just because the things OTHER people were doing was wrong.

THINGS I LIKED:

  • I always want to start with the good stuff, so here we go. I do like that America wants to do what is best. She puts herself in harms way time and time again for her friends, I just wish she had seen real consequences from the king for it. It would have been hard to read, but seeing her whipped for something the king didn’t like would have made me root for her in a way that I didn’t before. It seems like she stuck up for people but didn’t see any consequences for it, so it didn’t seem that sacrificial.
  • Look, I said it before, I’ll say it again, I LOVE the dresses in these books. They are the best
  • The plot with the rebels in book three was intriguing, but it felt a little too easy. I guess the argument was that they couldn’t know Maxon would be more open until the rebels saw him like America in the Selection, but I wish more story could have been built around them.
  • I liked seeing the women becomes friends in book three.

STORY ISSUES

  • Look, ultimately this book had two main things that happened the exact same way: A giant party (the party they threw for royals in book two and the tea party in book three) and then the leadership decision (the Assignment for The Report and then having to send someone to jail in The Convicting). WE. WANT. SOMETHING. DIFFERENT. America shined in all four in an unexpected way.
    • I think what would have helped with this is if they were allowed to go outside the palace. We saw the palace, with a few exceptions, for two books! I want to see more! It would have livened up the story and just been more interesting.
  • For all of the second and third books, Maxon and America were CONSTANTLY fighting. I get if book two they were fighting, but it just would have been nice for them to have gotten along. Even if she was afraid to tell him about Aspen after what happened to Marlee, hell that should have been more of her reason for being afraid to tell him, she should have not yelled at him so much! He shouldn’t have constantly gotten mad at her for breaking expectations! It was EXHAUSTING.
  • I didn’t feel like she learn anything from her father’s death. It made Maxon change her mind about him, but it didn’t give her the courage to tell him the truth and do what her father would have thought was right. That bummed me out.
  • Maxon completely overreacted to her not telling him about Aspen. SHE. SAW. HER. FRIEND. PUBLICLY. SHAMED. She should have told him, herself, from the first time she saw him, but I get why she didn’t. I would even get if he broke up with her over it, but how ANGRY he gets really pisses me off.
  • In general, the excessive talk about feelings took time away where we could have seen more happen and build into other characters/aspects of the story.
  • Okay, this is a spoiler for the end of the series. You have been warned.
    • Maxon was PISSED when he found out about Aspen that after telling America he was going to marry her the night before, HE IS GOING TO SEND HER HOME IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, is a snappy baby when she tries to talk to him, but then TAKES A BULLET FOR HER when the rebels come in and almost dies for her.
  • WHY DIDN’T MAXON GIVE AMERICA THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ONCE? She had JUST told him that she loved him, which was huge for her, and I get why it feels like a betrayal but like HE WAS GONNA MARRY HER. Also, would he REALLY, after being so pissed, took a bullet for him? Seems like he could at least have been a little nicer to her right before. It felt like whiplash, them loving each other or not. IT WAS ANNOYING.

characters:

  • King Clarkson/Queen Amberly: Look, it’s great to have a villain. I wish Clarkson was more of a villain in book one. I wasn’t opposed to that, but I couldn’t think of the queen as a good guy in the way the author wanted me to. HER SON WAS ABUSED BY HIS FATHER. KING CLARKSON WAS A DICK. It was a step too far for me to have any pity for the queen.
  • Celeste: I liked her turn A LOT in this book, but it felt slightly unbelievable. I wish she was like publicly humiliated, she was seen crying I guess, but just something else obvious that made her turn over a new leaf.
  • Kriss as a rebel: I liked this A LOT too, but it felt like it happened too late. I wish we had known more and could have had a little more Kriss/America rebel shenanigans go on. Would have LOVED to see this.
  • Maxon: At the end of the day, it was hard for me to root for a guy dating so many women at once, and I think he was really hard on America, so I feel kind of blegh about it. I wish we had more of them being happy together at the end because I think I would have liked it more.
  • Aspen/Lucy: I really liked the idea of them together, and I wish we had ALL OF BOOK THREE to see this grow rather than like two pages at the end.

Look, I feel like I have aired my grievances with these books. The problem is I had SUCH high hopes after remembering how much I loved them after reading it four years ago, but my book opinions have changed and also, I am in a healthy relationship now, so this just didn’t read for me like it used to. I think there were a lot of places and ideas the author could have explored but she chose not to. I’m still a Kiera Cass fan, can’t wait for the Betrothed, and these get 3/5 Bog Berries for me!

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