When I first read the Selection trilogy I was pleasantly surprised by these books. They were romantic, the writing was sweet and fresh, the main characters were sympathetic and the events were fun to follow. It was as if I was watching a real-life show about a prince looking for his princess. When I heard the trilogy would get a two book sequel serie about the daughter of the two main characters I was really curious if the writing would sweep me of my feet yet again. Unfortunately the fourth book in the Selection series failed to convince me. Before I tell you why, I will first tell you what this book is about (for those of you who don’t know the series).
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.
The first three books ended with Maxon and America getting married and abolishing the caste system that divided the people of Illea into different classes with different rights and privileges. In this fourth book the people are starting to rebel against the monarchy because the promise of equal rights and opportunities that the abolishing of the caste system entailed, wasn’t upheld. Poverty, discrimination on class grounds and general unhappiness are abounding in the kingdom. King Maxon has no idea how to counteract the dissatisfaction amongst his subjects, but to win some time he decides to use his daughter as distraction. She will have her own selection where 35 boys will compete with each other to win her affection.
In my opinion this is a rather unlogical solution. Imagine that you are the ruler of a kingdom where loads of people have no home, no food on the table and little hope of improving their circumstances. Now imagine that these people are starting to show signs of mounting a revolt. In short, your country is a bit of a powderkeg just waiting for someone to strike a match. What would be the first thing you would do to appease your people? I’m betting it is not hosting a reality show where a spoiled princess holds parties to win the hand of a boy. Especially not since everyone can now see how much food you, the king, have on your table , how much money you can spend, and how selfish and arrogant your heir is.That’s like lighting the match under the keg yourself (with you the king on top of it). IT MAKES NO SENSE.
If we overlook this illogical (read: political suicide) policy and pretend that holding a selection to appease the people is a sound decision than you can assume that the princess, who loves her parents dearly and has a great sense of responsibility ahum, will do everything in her power to help keep her kingdom stable and her people happy. Yeah, keep dreaming. Eadlyn doesn’t give a shit about anybody else. She wallows in self-pity, tries to sabotage the selection at every turn and acts like an arrogant, spoiled bitch the entire time. Don’t get me wrong. I get that she is pissed that her parents force her to participate in a ritual that requires her to choose a husband out of 35 complete strangers. Anger I get, but her constant whining and the way she treats everybody around her, including the people she supposedly loves the most, I really don’t get. Especially since she agrees with her father that the people need a distraction and makes him promise that she doesn’t have to marry anybody if she really can’t find a boy to fall in love with. She has literally nothing to lose. If the selection doesn’t work out she kept her people at peace, and if it does work out she will have a man she loves to help her rule her subjects. So, why the attitude? Because Eadlyn doesn’t like to be told what to do. Because Eadlyn doesn’t like to be vulnerable. Guess what? No-one likes to do things they don’t want to do but life isn’t always nice and pretty and often we have to do things we really, really don’t want to do. This is no less true for a cleaner, a baker or a clerk than it is for a princess.
Besides her many characterflaws Eadlyn also behaves like she’s 12 instead of almost 18 years old. Usually 18-year-olds don’t run around crying over every little setback, all the while complaining about everything and everyone. Eadlyn seems to have stood in the back of the room when the Personality-Fairy bestowed all the kids with some redeeming character traits, because she seems to have none…
At times the writing is really over dramatic. Like when one of the boys looks at Eadlyn in a certain way and he touches her without her permission. The event is written as if the poor girl is viciously attacked or raped or something. The dude touched her arm for Pete’s sake! Because of this he is knocked out cold and thrown out of the palace… Talking about adding fuel to the fire of the people who think the monarchy is made up of spoiled, uncaring royals… Another of these melodramatic instances is when one of the boys gets mad at another boy because of some stupid cooking contest that wasn’t fair according to him. The boys slap each other a little and push each other around. But Eadlyn is in the same room and she’s really scared of these savage beasts of boys and when she gets knocked to the ground (or trips over her own feet or something) her fragile emotions can’t handle the stress anymore. She runs to her room and starts weeping because she is so scared!!! Because with three brothers and a palace full of guards she never ever saw someone fight in her whole life… Because everyone she knows is really prim and proper… PUHLEASE.
Near the ending of the book Eadlyn finally seems to understand that she’s not the most important person in the world and that not everything revolves around her. It only takes her twinbrother leaving and giving her a letter and a dramatic event involving her mother to open her eyes and start her slow brain to grasp that maybe, just maybe, her people and kingdom are more important than her own pity-party.
I’m really hoping that book 5 will make up for some of the annoyingness of this book. Hopefully, Eadlyn will grow up a bit and act like the damn future queen she’s supposed to be.