Thursday, August 9, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Selection (Like The Bachelor...or a prissier version of The Hunger Games)

Sorry I haven't been posting much.

I got a new job that requires me to move across the country.  Between planning new syllabi, searching for a new apartment, packing boxes, and dealing with my cats' psychoses caused by any major change, I haven't had much time to read or post.

I have, however, had the time to listen to audiobooks!

Taking a break from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I decided to listen to The Selection by Kiera Cass.

Appetizer:  America and her family are members of the caste of artists in their society.  This means they're better off than servants, but still sometimes go hungry when they are not able to entertain the richer members of the second and third castes.

When America receives one of the invitations sent to all female members of the society who might be considered to marry the prince, she immediately wants nothing to do with the selection of the country's new princess.  But her mother, a social climber that reminded me of Mrs. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice, and her secret boyfriend from a lower caste, Aspen, both insist she apply at the chance to improve her life.

America soon learns that she made the initial cut and is sent off to the capital with 34 other girls who wish to vie for the Prince's affections.  Uncertain if she can love the stuffy Prince Maxon, America's main goal to stay in the competition is to provide her family with a monetary stipend for her family and to recover from the surprising break-up with Aspen.  But, upon meeting Prince Maxon, she's in for a number of surprises and dangers.

I did have some initial struggles with the patriarchal nature of the culture depicted in this young adult dystopia.  Why do girls who get married have to join their husband's caste?  Why can't the betrothed of either sex change according to their preferences?  I wasn't crazy about the emphasis on the selected girls' bodies becoming property of the government or the emphasis on them needing to be virgins.

I also hated America's relationship with Aspen.  She "obeys" a few orders he gives and consistently follows his heads.  Boo.

On the plus side, I did get into the story.  From driving to the airport, waiting for planes and then driving to my soon-to-be new town, I listened to all eight hours of the book and decided to finish the book before finally crashing in bed.

I liked the fairy tale elements.  The Selection feels like a drawn out and twisted version of Cinderella.

*vague spoiler* Although I did feel vaguely annoyed that the actual selection is not made at the end of the book, the feeling of anticipation for book two is more pronounced.  *end vague spoiler*

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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