Overall rating- 2 out of 5
Brief Summary- Will not contain spoilers!
This is the fifth book in the renewed Selection Series by Kiera Cass. The first three books explored the relationship growing between America Singer and Prince Maxon Schreave during a selection. A selection is when eligible candidates are brought to the castle to court the prince until he decides which guest is a suitable bride. Fans were ecstatic when a fourth book was announced after this series was thought to be finished.
In the book that preceded the crown, Eadyln Schreave, the princess born to America and Maxon, began the process of her own selection. In this book, her selection comes to a close as she chooses a husband. Alongside the romantic setting, strong political themes comprise the selection series.
Brief Review- Will not contain spoilers!
I was actually really disappointed with this book. The first three books were phenomenal. Even the fourth book, the first book that featured Eadlyn, was strong. However, this book lacked a connection to the first book. It felt as though the author just randomly picked a boy and steered the story in that direction the last quarter of the book. Feelings were not able to be developed for the final suitor as he only came into play near the end. Furthermore, the book was highly predicable. It was also disappointing that current political issues were brought into this book. When I read, I want to go into a different world. I do not want the tragedies that plague this generation prevalent as I am escaping reality. I loved the new perspective these books offered and this book did not maintain that edge. This was definitely a bummer for me as I really was a Kiera Cass fan.
It felt as though one thing kept this book afloat- the strong connection readers maintained with America and Maxon. There are several aspects of this book that I feel are worth mentioning for good and bad reasons.
- The theme of the royals- It was obvious that the king and queen were fried from their position. Instead of plowing onward, Maxon anointed Eadlyn as queen until he could return to his duties. This was extremely profound as he knew when to step away from the buzz to focus on what really mattered. However, naming Eadlyn as queen permanently was far fetched. If Cass maintained the team of Maxon and Eadlyn I believe the situation would have been more realistic. Certainly Eadlyn could have taken over permanently. But her father should not have just completely dropped the reigns. The democratic monarchy was a brilliant choice of ending as it provided a much needed surprise and satisfactory solution.
- Kile- This was probably my biggest pet peeve of the entire story. In the first book, Kile was such a huge supporter of Eadlyn and was a major influence on her development. I was certainly rooting for Kile because he cared deeply for Eadlyn, was extremely dynamic, and she certainly seemed to like him! Yet all the sudden he just vanished from her close circle. It is impossible to flip a switch as in the book with their relationship. Sure they were really close friends after which was sweet. But in reality, another character could have easily taken his ending if he was given the crown. They did love each other and it seemed as though Cass just did not come up with a surprise ending with him so she turned the story in a different direction.
- Erik/Eikko- All I have to say about him is where did he come from? The way he behaved toward Eadlyn strongly mirrored the actions of the other suitors making it very unclear as to why she developed such strong feelings for him. Several of the other boys treated her the same way he had yet she fell head over heels for him. There were not any emotionally gripping scenes that linked them together. The lack of foreshadowing forces me to assume that their was not a definite plan of action for this book. In the end, weaving stories in a series together is what makes an author an expert. It was also very predictable that the one boy that she could not have would be the one that she wanted.
- Eadlyn- I was extremely pleased to see how Eadlyn developed in this book. She was extremely relatable in both stories which made her transformation even more profound. Her stories just shows that all of us have the ability to change and even good people should always be working to better themselves. A cold, selfish girl turned into a caring and brave ruler. The only thing I would critique is the method of transformation. In the last book she was slipping up all the time but then in this book she maintained a perfect demeanor. I would have liked to see more of the developmental process.
- Cultural themes- It was upsetting to see the cultural theme turn from a concentration of those who were in poverty and dying (as in previous books) to those in same sex relationships. I understand that this is a growing issue but it would have remained timeless if the author did not incorporate this popular theme. I appreciated the new perspective the books had once offered- they allowed the reader to look at the big picture. PEOPLE WERE STARVING. PEOPLE WERE BEING BEATEN. These are the things that needed desperate attention as they were life and death issues. I just really respected the fresh view as it aligned my view of what the priorities should be in government. Nevertheless, I think Eadlyn handled the issue in a loving manner- it was not her place to judge or to make decisions. She just loved her friends and showed them grace.
As you can see this book had MANY ups and downs. The morality scale was much higher than the literary scale for the reasons explained. If you have not read the first three books featuring America and Maxon I highly recommend them. I would love to hear what you personally think of the story!
Morality Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
Kiera Cass has always maintained a classy script that blends reality with purity. It was refreshing to see characters that acted in nobility and respect for themselves and their partners. Mature teenagers should be able to handle this book- it has sexual themes but they are mentioned in an appropriate and contemplative manner. This is one of limited series that actual speaks of the beauty and rewards of purity. Younger readers certainly would not understand the themes being displayed and may need to be monitored or advised. I gave this book a 4.5 only because certain political views may not be held by everyone. In short, the characters are rewarded for acts of goodness and the reader comes away with some good role models.