If only Rachel Lindsay could give America Singer some advice.
The Elite and The One by Kiera Cass follows America Singer as she competes a slew of other girls to win Prince Maxon’s heart. However, she also struggles with feelings towards her former love interest who is now stationed as a guard in the palace. America also faces the threat of invaders from the South who wants to kill all the girls in the Selection and their families.
After reading The Elite and The One so close together, their plots mesh into one for me. As a result, I decided to review them together since I found many similar positives and negatives in these two books. When I read The Selection, I was so entertained by the story that it allowed me to look over many of the problems in the book. While I found The Elite and The One entertaining as well, there were many more problems in these books that made them not as fun to read as the first book in the series.
I think one of my largest problems with these two books were the pacing. There were a lot of issues presented in the first book for America: her growing love for Maxon, the presence of Aspen in the castle, and rebels who wanted to kill her. All of these issues were paced so slowly that they scrambled to be resolved in the end. The first half of The Elite moved incredibly slow and seemed with filler chapters of the Selection girls completing random assignments. The Aspen issue blew up too late in the game that the character didn’t really have time to sort out their emotions. I think the last rebel scene, which I’ll describe in greater detail later, literally came out of nowhere. All the action rested in the last quarter of The One and I wished it was spread more evenly in the final two books.
Another issue I had with The Elite and The One would be missed opportunities. These were many opportunities that the author had to spice up the story, but didn’t take. There were other situations that really confused me because they seemed completely out of place in the novel. One example is America’s alliance with the Northern rebels. Their loyalty came way too easily and I expected some sort of deceit or treachery to take place to complicate the relationship, but nothing every really happened. On the flip side, the final attack by Southern rebels was too much for the novel (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD). I thought this part of the book was extremely graphic and violent and it seemed out of place with the rest of the series. Furthermore, even though many big characters in the series died during this scene, their deaths were simply brushed off or barely acknowledged. I thought this was an incredibly unnecessary part of the novel.
One aspect of the finals two books that I did enjoy was America’s uncertainty as Prince Maxon’s favorite and the growing friendships between the contestants. America could say or do anything to Maxon and remain his favorite, but this was not the case in the final two books in the novel. My only slight annoyance was when both Maxon and America questioned each other’s devotion and expressed their aggravations about the other person other other people when they exhibited the same behavior as themselves. I also appreciated the complicated relationships between the Selection competitors. While they became friends, they also were extremely hesitant since they all fought for the same thing. Their relationships reminded me of contestants on The Bachelor which made the characters seem more realistic.
Like I’ve said before, The Selection isn’t the best series that I’ve read by far. However, it is entertaining and enjoyable if you are able to look back several problems and some minor annoyances. Overall, I enjoyed the first three books in this series and plan on reading the next two books following America’s daughter. I give both The Elite and The One three out of five stars.