Release Date – April 23, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.A prince, pretty dresses, and the chance to become royalty. Many would think America Singer has it pretty good as part of The Selection. As The Elite quickly shows palace life is not at all what it appears. The rebel forces are increasing their pressure and things are taking a sinister turn as the competition intensifies.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
The love triangle in this novel is heating up. It was the main focus of book one, and romance is heavily featured in book two. I see a connection with both guys, but I also feel that America’s character is not sure what she wants, never mind who she wants. She enjoys the company of each suitor, but I had a harder time feeling that she cared for either of them deeply enough to choose them.
Maxon, whom I really liked in this first novel, melted me in this novel. There is a pivotal scene towards the end of the novel where we make a discovery about Maxon’s upbringing that devastated me. He has had an insanely rigid upbringing, and being a Prince does not mean a perfect family environment.
Perhaps I missed it, or just don’t recall it being so predominant, but I didn't think Maxon’s father was so…intimidating. He’s much more involved in every aspect of Maxon’s life than I anticipated. I finished this novel with a completely different opinion of him than I originally had. I delighted in the more sinister feel to his character, and took much enjoyment in disliking him.
Marlee, the sweet girl who becomes friends with America in the first novel, is just as important to story in this novel. It is hinted that she has a secret in The Selection, and it all unravels in The Elite. Her secret has a profound affect on America. There is a haunting scene that shows not only the power and strength of love, but how horrible some current laws truly are. Change needs to happen, and you can't help but want America to promote those changes. I flinched for the entire scene and still shudder when I think about it.
The rebels storyline grows more interesting with each novel in this series. I hope it is the main focus of the third novel. The reveals behind what the rebels could be looking for, and how society got the way we see it currently in America’s story, raise plenty of questions. It’s this part of the story that has the most potential and had my mind whirling with theories.
The Selection itself is still going on, and there is more than just America vying for Maxon and the crown. The Elite shows that there is true competition for Maxon's heart, and ultimately American's indecisiveness could allow her to miss out on something she really wants. It comes back to the changes in her character. She was forceful, and knew what she wanted in the first book. She is confused, unsure, and scared in this one. The decision could be taken out of her hands, and it reminded me of how important it is to take those risks for what you really want.
I compared the last book to a cupcake because it was big on the romance and pretty dresses, this novel is darker, and more dangerous. The tone is definitely changing which each twist, and revelation. I could feel the heartbreak catching up with our character, and am fully prepared to be crushed by the finale.
The ending, while not a cliffhanger per say, it does leave you wanting to grab the next book. The stakes are higher, and America’s heart, and to whom it belongs, may be the least of what Kiera Cass has in store for the third book.