Let me start off by saying that I actually liked the first book in this series, The Selection. It wasn’t absolutely captivating, but it was nice enough to get through easily. This book, however, is completely different. I found myself forcing myself to get through it in order to give it a fair review. Let me explain.
What I enjoyed about The Selection were the characters. I knew when I read on the back of the book that it was a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games not to expect anything serious. This lowered expectation actually made the book fun. I liked seeing all the girls in one setting and interacting with one another. It was cute and quirky in its own right.
Now, in The Elite, there are only six girls remaining. The fun element was sucked out with nothing to replace it with – just more drawn out drama. The only characters I liked in the book were Marlee and Carter. I found myself wanting to know more about them than America and her troubles. I don’t understand how this book could be around three-hundred something pages with basically nothing going on. It’s pages and pages of the main character, America Singer, crying and complaining. America has become such an annoying character with her indecisive and impulsive nature. She is seeing two guys at one time, and yet she has the audacity to get mad at Maxon for trying to give the other girls a fighting chance. Yes, because what you’re doing is completely different, America.
That’s not to say that I like Maxon all that much. Sure, I was all over Team Maxon in the first book, but he becomes a lot less likable in this installment. I get that he has a lot on his plate but using people to feel loved? That’s pretty low. And then there’s all the secrecy. I don’t get it. Did I miss something? Why does he have to keep information from America? I feel like it was just a device to keep us wanting more, but it ended up feeling like a confusing mess.
Although I am not overly fond of love triangles, I can accept and learn to like them if they are written well. This was not the case with The Elite. America keeps having make out sessions with Maxon and Aspen, and yet I don’t feel as if she feels guilty for her actions. Maxon doesn’t even know she’s cheating on him with Aspen, so it’s unfair of her to be upset with him seeing the other girls. It’s what he’s supposed to do. That was the whole point of the Selection, remember?
The world-building is just horrid and rushed. It makes absolutely no sense, and I don’t buy it for one second. How could a country founded on the basis of liberty so easily accept a monarchy just because the guy has money and doesn’t know politics? No way would a whole country just submit to a king like that. For that reason, this novel feels like a romance novel that’s trying a little too hard to go with the current young adult dystopia craze going on. The world doesn’t feel developed or thought out. It just feels rushed and superficial.
In conclusion, I was really disappointed with this book. The writing itself was actually good, but the plot just fell short. There’s no excitement. You don’t feel sympathy for the characters – rather, you find them annoying. I think I will be reading the next book in this series just to see how everything ends. I’ve stuck around long enough to read two of the books, I might as well finish it up. Who knows? It just might get better.