The Elite by Keira Cass continues the story of America Singer and her participation in the Selection to win the heart and hand of Prince Maxon. In this book America must deal with the consequences of her being torn between two men, she learns more of the political reality of Illea and makes a dangerous new enemy. My reading of The Elite only served to consolidate my thoughts on the series as a whole.
What I liked
The concept. I continued to enjoy the Batchelor/Hunger Games idea behind the story. In the Elite, the number of contestants has been reduced considerably, so we really get to know the main candidates. I found it interesting that Cass gives the impression that America might not necessarily be the best candidate for the role, at least in terms of maintaining the status quo. Clearly though the caste system is being portrayed as inherently flawed, and America is likely the best candidate to change this.
The world. I enjoyed what more we learned about the world. As part of their Elite status, the remaining candidates are introduced more and more into the politics of Illea. This necessarily involves a widening view of the world outside. I am interested to here where America’s connection with the foreign princesses will lead. We also get to see a little more of the rebels and America’s encounter with the rebel girl is one of the most interesting hooks for book three for me.
The characters. America and Maxon continue to be interesting and engaging characters. I loved what we learned about Maxon in this book and what that means for his character development. Although America is a great character, at some points her naivety did frustrate me at some points in this book. Often I felt she was uncertain about what she wanted from the situation in which she finds herself and even when she seemed to know, her actions were not necessarily the best chosen to further her aims.
What I didn’t like
The narrator. If the ebook rather than the audiobook had been available from my local library, I would certainly have gone for that rather than the audiobook. I really felt that Amy Rubinate’s narration added little more to the book than Amazon’s text to speech.
The America/Maxon relationship. This really annoyed me in this book, but it was believable. The lack of open and honest communication between America and Maxon really frustrated me. It seems so much of the conflict in this book could have been avoided by a good discussion between the two.
Aspen. I really disliked this character in this book. He claims to love America, yet his actions consistently put America in real danger. This danger is highlighted by Marlee’s storyline. It really angered me that Aspen seemed incapable of keeping it in his pants for the few weeks that the Selection will last to preserve the girl he claims to love from severe consequences. It also frustrated me that America was incapable of seeing the discrepancy between his words and his actions.
All in all, though, I really enjoyed The Elite and gave it four stars out of five.