I gotta be honest here. I went into this book fully expecting it to be awful. The cover appeals to me on a very basic level (the level that likes shiny and poofy things), but my experience with the last book left me convinced there was no way Cass could possibly write a third book that was in any way satisfying, or even well-written. I was somewhat surprised to find that I liked this book more than #2 and just a little bit more than #1. It was still pretty awful, but at least it was a more fun and interesting kind of awful.
The One is the final book in The Selection trilogy, featuring a supposedly ‘dystopian’ story about how the United States is gone and invaded by China or something in a couple hundred years, and now it’s a monarchy, and all the people are divided into strict castes. Only that’s not really what it’s about, just the flimsy and incredibly stupid backstory/reason Cass constructed for having such an absurd premise. Hat tip to authors: if your premise is absurd, embrace it, don’t try to legitimize it. It just makes you look dumb.
The actual thing this series is about is wanting to be a princess and get married to a handsome prince and live happily ever after, and also winning televised reality competitions.
And that’s fine! I just wish all that other shit (that Cass is NOT good at writing about–politics, war, strategy, history, etc.) hadn’t been there at all. She kept trying to make things serious and legitimate, but she can’t write politics, her characters are cliched and predictable, and pretty much everything about her understanding of the way the world works is pretty juvenile. And she kept trying to talk serious anyway. The parts with America and Maxon were okay most of the time, eyeroll worthy in parts, but in the spirit of fun princessyness all the same. But for most of the series ALL of the secondary characters were completely worthless. It was only in the last half of this book that I started to care about them. And I will admit, she did surprise me once with something that happened, but it wasn’t a happy surprise, and I ended up resenting it.
Long story short, unless you are a masochist (or a preteen) you should probably stay away from this series. If you choose to read it anyway, just skim-read the second book. Seriously, not worth it. Filler, idiotic dialogue, piss poor writing. This one is okay though, and the ending did get to me a little.
And I’m out.