On The Cover: Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.
Published: May 2015
Format: OverDrive E-Book
Why I Chose It: After reading The Selection trilogy I was definitely curious about this fourth and unexpected installment!
Other Books In This Series:
Before reading this book I saw a lot of negativity on Goodreads, mostly centered on the main character, Eadlyn. Once I started the book it was easy to see why. Eadlyn is self-centered and horribly spoiled. Yet despite that, I actually really enjoyed the way in which Eadlyn’s character is presented. Eadlyn grew up in the heart of luxury, and she has come to expect such luxury because she has never known anything else. She also has an over-the-top self-importance – but for a very good reason. She has been training her entire life to become the next ruler of Illéa. She is the first female ruler, and the first to inherit a caste-less kingdom. Her entire life has been consumed by proving herself to be a strong and competent leader. Yes, she is spoiled, but she is also incredibly naive about life beyond her own gates. This story is largely about Eadlyn discovering who she is outside of her titles and roles, and exactly what power she holds. Luckily, there are some essential moments throughout the book where Eadlyn recognizes that others view her as spoiled and self-centered, and in those moments learns about herself. Though there was not a lot of character development throughout this installment, I am very curious to see where Cass takes the character and the journey that Eadlyn will travel.
Throughout this book I found that there were some very smart decisions made by Cass. The story is told from Princess Eadlyn’s viewpoint rather than the men competing for her hand. When I had read the first three novels, I was definitely curious about Maxon’s experiences from the other side of the Selection process. Now, Cass could have easily written the entire Selection story from Maxon’s perspective and re-published her story that way. I am eternally grateful that she did not. This is also not an outright copy of the first Selection – there are marked differences, largely due to Eadlyn’s character and changes to the Selection process. I thought Eadlyn’s story was a creative way to move forward the story of Illéa yet still tell the story from the other side.
I also seriously enjoyed the transparency of the political motivations behind the Selection, and Eadlyn’s direct role in making these motivations a reality. This book does a fantastic job at covering both the romance story and the political situations outside of the palace, something I found lacking in the first three books. Eadlyn is constantly on top of her game, making the Selection a successful political tool while keeping up the appearance of frivolity. I enjoyed Eadlyn’s thought processes, how she constantly tries to balance her work with the events of the Selection, and the difficulties that presents for her.
I’m not trying to convince you that this is the best book out there. Cass’ writing has some serious flaws, and the criticisms of the book are not unfounded. But outside of that, this novel accomplishes one very important goal: it entertains. As a quick, light read with a sweet little romance story, this book works. If you were not a fan of the first three books, you should probably skip this one, as you won’t find any drastic improvements or stylistic changes. But if you did like the first three, I think you should check this one out: to meet Eadlyn; to see more of Maxon’s and America’s love story; and to continue the tale of Illéa.
Rating: 4 / 5
“Mom reached across the table and put her hand on mine. ‘No one would be doing anything to you. You would be doing something for your people. You’d be giving them a gift.’
‘You mean faking a smile when I’d rather cry?’
She gave me a fleeting frown. ‘That has always been part of our job.’
I stared at her, silently demanding a better answer.” (OverDrive 2015)
“It was one thing to be expected to rule, to hold the weight of millions of people in my hands. That was a job, a task. I could check things off lists, delegate. But this was much more personal, one more piece of my life that ought to be mine but wasn’t.” (OverDrive 2015)
“‘Would you suggest that I fall in love with thirty-five young men at once?’
He raised his eyebrows. ‘Well, when you put it that way…’
‘Exactly. I only have one heart, and I’m saving it.’
I heard sighs around the room, and I felt I’d gotten away with something. How many more lines could I dream up over the following months to keep everyone entertained and at bay? Then I realized, I hadn’t planned those words. I really felt them, and they escaped under pressure.” (OverDrive 2015)