Rant and Rave: The Elite

Image courtesy of HarperTeen

From 35 potential princesses, the stakes are higher as only six of these girls are left. Illea, a post-apocalyptic monarchical version of the United States, almost has its future princess but will Prince Maxon Schreaves, its future leader, make the choice for his heart, for his reputation, or for his country? America Singer is stuck in the whirlwind mess of it all in the sequel to Kiera Cass’ The Selection series, The Elite.

The Elite is the second book in this trilogy, told in the point of view of America Singer, one of the six girls who are left in the competition to win both the Prince’s heart and the crown. Despite rebellions instigating in both the North and South of the country, along with wars in “New Asia” and alliances forming with the “German Federation”, “Swendway”, and other countries, the main problem of the story is still who the Prince chooses, and by extension, who the Prince is allowed to choose. For majority of this novel is America’s constant confusion between her continuously growing affection for Prince Maxon or her lingering first love with Aspen, a boy who had then been of a lower caste but is now working in the Palace as her guard.

For a post-apocalyptic novel that seems to be primarily rooted on wars and politics, there seems to be little to no concept of a constitution or any kind of stipulation that Cass knows anything about governance or political science at all – which would be necessary, given the premise of the world she has created. Apparently, the United States was so indebted to China that China decided to invade and conquer the country and name it the “American State of China”? The rules for the setup of this world seem to be constructed as the story progresses, which seems to be the state of the book in its entirety.

The characterization of America has improved from the first book, given that she has an actual personality now. The other characters however, aside from Prince Maxon or the evil Celeste, are lace trimmings on a bridal gown: necessary, pretty to look at, but forgettable and easy to look over. More layers are added to the already layered character of the Prince, and the surprise personality of the King was a refreshing, if painful, turn of events. In terms of plot, the narrative has no build up or kick as it resembles more of a stream of consciousness than a well-structured plot. Despite that fact, however, the novel is intriguing and nearly impossible to put down because of the elegance in terms of fluidity. There is always something to keep it going, and there is a certain drive in the words to keep readers going for the next page.

Despite the flaws in terms of world construction, there is an evoked compassion within the words that somehow makes readers care for the confusion of America, for the plight of Prince Maxon, and for the state of Illea’s government, to be precise. The politics in this fictional country is so wrong that it is begging to get fixed, which is the premise of what America is trying to do. The additional glances into the castes and of America’s relationship with her father humanizes the story and gives readers something more to care about. This series touches on a few bigger issues such as public education, legitimized social structures, and miscommunication. There is much more meat on the bone of this book, compared to its thinner predecessor, but it is still missing that punching climax that should hit readers where it hurts. Still, the series retains its potential to be quite good.

The Elite is a fanciful novel and a good sequel, despite the questionable premise of the series and its characters. It is a light read with plenty of fast paced action and drawn out tension that will leave you wanting an ending for the series, clamoring for the next and final book in the trilogy, The One.

Rating: 2.0
Jonnah Dayuta

By Jonnah Dayuta

17 replies on “Rant and Rave: The Elite”


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