Friday, 9 May 2014

[REVIEW] The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass
Published: May 2014
Age Group: YA
Series: The Selection [end]
FINALLY The One's released. This is probably my most anticipated book of the year and one of the many series that are coming to an end in 2014 as well. 

The One concludes the story of America and Maxon and the revealing of the winner of the Selection: "The One"

The story picked up with the same atmosphere as the second one ended with. The rebels are attacking the palace and people are running around trying to find safety. The remaining girls each have their own personality and how they deal in dangerous situations which is very consistent of their behaviour throughout the series. I like how the story didn't waste time reintroducing characters and went right into the story line. The only downfall is that I'm sure there will be many who will find themselves very confused if they haven't read the first two because there is no re-introductions or explanations. Past events and thoughts start showing up and if you forgot what happened before it makes it really hard to continue reading the book. I found myself in that situation at first. Granted it was around 2AM when I first started the book so perhaps my brain was already taking a long time processing information but I had to pause and take some time to think through the situation before continuing. Simple things like a mention of America's stint on the Report may leave readers confused. One of the many pivotal scenes in the Elite, America's presentation at the Report is the reasoning for many of the changed character's relationships and dynamic. Without understanding what she started with that results in not understanding how the society is changing and turning into this revolutionary place.  

The story was very focused on the romance. I liked the transition of America's main goal. At the start she's still very dedicated to her goal - eliminating the castes and freeing society from the current oppressive king. But subtly throughout the story the focus shifts. No longer is America so concerned about how the people must feel but more focused on her relationship with Maxon and if she's willing to take that final plunge into finally declaring her love to him. Of course her concern for the citizens is still there but not in the forefront anymore. 

I was always rooting for Maxon but he becomes less and less admirable. I didn't like him in book 2 and that detest continues into the third book. He use to be so innocent, so endearing. But then it's like the closer we get to the end of this the more he starts to grow up and take on that ruler role and his behaviour changes. Of course there are still glimpses of the old Maxon from the Selection but they are few compared to the times he's not. 

The One was like a crescendo. It started up slow and soon the story took off, which I suspect is Kiera Cass' writing style. No complaints here. I love fast paced stories. The ending was very predictable though. Satisfying but predictable.  It was a classic happily ever after. I do question some of the author's decisions and I won't explore these in depth just because I want to make this a non-spoiler review. 

I also question whether this series should be marketed as dystopia lit or as romance. The Selection was more leaning towards the romance side whereas The Elite was very dystopia  heavy. The One though makes it very clear which side this story stands on. It's a series that borrows the dystopia landscape and platform to tell a love story. The ending and the character development has hints of dystopia in it but at the end it's a ending geared towards the romance side. 

I have a lot of unanswered questions. Mainly because certain facts or scenes are used for one purpose and that's it. It makes the story very stagnant in my opinion when there isn't any further development or reveal. I think if the story was written in a way that everything contributed to a giant surprise at the end I would appreciate them more. It's like the end to a great mystery or magic trick. Why was this person a part of this group? Why was this person there at that time saving this person and where are they now? Why would that person be involved and to what extent are their behaviours influenced by their affiliations. I'm a rather curious person and question a lot of things but I find that unanswered questions stem from incomplete stories, to say it bluntly.  

Overall The One left me content. I think this is a very good series. The finale didn't live up to it's predecessors but then again they were really really good and hard to match let alone beat.


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