Genre: Fiction, Romance, Dystopian
Book Jacket Synopsis: “The time has come for one winner to be crowned. When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.”
Review: Well, I have good and bad news. The good news is that The One was a certain improvement over the previous Selection series installment, The Elite. The bad news is that it still wasn’t enough to return this series to the relatively high note it started out on. While the disastrous love triangle was toned down enough to actually bring some merit back to the main characters, I became easily frustrated as Cass spent more time discussing the rebels of Illea. Due to the unfairness of the caste system, the citizens of Illea are largely divided into three groups: the general public, the Northern rebels, and the Southern rebels. Both the Northern and Southern rebels launch periodic attacks on the palace throughout the novels, but their methodology differs; the Northern rebels appear to be searching for something (as evidenced by completely ransacked rooms and a relatively intact staff), whereas the Southern rebels are out for blood and regularly slaughter anyone they can get their hands on. This rebel plotline has many merits, but ultimately fails in execution. In fact, I believe that it is this exact plotline that has caused many critics to draw parallels between the Selection series and the Hunger Games series. However, the actual extent to which the reader empathizes with the rebels and understands what they want is vastly different from the Hunger Games. In The One, Cass completely failed to make me care about the rebel cause. She also failed to paint America as an appropriate heroine for solving Illea’s many problems. Ultimately, Cass needed to either fully commit to doing the rebel cause justice or she should have just stuck to a straight romance novel.