February 14, 2014

Audio Review: The Selection

This cover - LOVE it!

Title: ‘The Selection’
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperAudio
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Time: 8 hrs. and 7 min.
Source: Audible.com

I was searching Audible for something new—something YA with a bit of a twist. I have listened to several dystopian novels, and I tend to really enjoy them (as long as I enjoy the reader).

I have to say, I was not prepared for what was to come with this audio.

Summary (from Goodreads):
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Thoughts:

When I posted on Instagram that this was my latest audiobook, I had numerous readers tell me who much they loved this book.

One put it like this: it’s the Bachelor meets dystopian YA.

That is the perfect description of this novel.

The plot of the novel is engaging. From the moment I entered the world Cass has created, I was taken in. Sold. No need to even think twice. This was a world that I could tolerate. A new dystopia full of beautiful gowns, likeable female characters, danger, etc.

Of course, this story is so much more than that. It is a story of one girl’s journey to discover her own heart—her love for one and her possible love for another.

America Singer. Oh what a name—and what a character. I really enjoyed Cass’ development of America, a girl whose dream was to marry her one heart’s desire; a girl whose dream is shattered with the call of her name; a girl whose dream changes as most assuredly does she.

But America is much more than that. She is not like the others in the Selection. She is talented beyond words, has a gentle heart, a solid head, and possibly the only member of the Selection who can save their world if she is chosen to be Maxon’s princess.

And what of Prince Maxon? He is not at all I expected. I figured that Cass would develop his character slowly, to allow readers to grow with him. This was not what happened—from the moment he was a part of the storytelling, I was sold on his character. While America is there nursing a broken heart, I am rooting for the mending to be at the hands of Maxon, a boy growing into a man searching for a  wife who will be his true partner, not just his princess.

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a dystopian male character like this since Peeta. I want to marry Prince Maxon.

This story is not all wonderment. There are 35 girls vying for Maxon’s heart. Well, really just 34 since America is there for the food. But that will soon change when she meets the man behind the prince, the one who really wants to rule the country fairly.

Since there are 34 other girls involved in the Selection, expect drama with a capital “D.” Readers will find it all: mean girl(s), sweet girl(s), blooming friendship(s), alliance(s), jealousy, revenge. Most of all, readers will find an engaging, fun story that brings dystopia to a new level—one where love is meant to be the center, at least for the public’s sake.

I must also include the rebel attacks. After all, this is a dystopian tale, and while Prince Maxon’s hunt for a wife is the intended focus, the true focus is on how the world around Maxon is falling apart, and how America can help him keep a clear head while Maxon decides which ladies will suit him the best.

I cannot wait to read the sequel, which I’ve read a lot of complaints about. Mostly that America cannot make up her mind as to who she wants the most—and while I haven’t read ‘The Elite’ just yet, let me say this: she is a teenage girl searching for the truth in her own heart. Of course she will have doubts; of course she will go back and forth on where her heart lies; this is a series and if America and Maxon both picked right away, there wouldn’t be more story to tell. I plan to just enjoy and see where Cass takes me, but I am hoping it leads America right into Prince Maxon’s arms because that is where she belongs.

Team Maxon!

With all of that said, I want to add a word about the reader. She was fabulous. She breathed life into all of these characters, transporting me to the world Cass created without reading it on the page. This is the ultimate goal I expect from audiobooks. The reader sells the storytelling almost as much as the writer, and for me, Amy Rubinate captured all of these characters for me.

I loved her.

What’s the best audiobook you’ve heard in a while? Share below—I am always looking for great audios.
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator