Date Read: July 13th, 2015 (read it in one day)
I have mixed feelings about this book; I enjoyed it, but not really. The protagonists were annoying, the world was underdeveloped, and the ending was anticlimactic. Not to mention that the writing in and of itself wasn’t all that great. I like reading young adult books that don’t feel like they’re written for a younger audience and unfortunately, this one had that feel to it.
First, I just want to say that I want to believe that the characters are smart, but I feel that the author dumbed them down. They’re teenagers, not total morons.
I also do not like America or her name. America Singer, named after the former United States and…you guessed it, she’s a singer/musician!
Come on, all the names in the world, and that’s the one you go with. Not to mention, it really isn’t befitting for her either. She’s “America the Beautiful,” and everyone thinks she’s so pretty, but she refuses to think so. This got old after, oh, the first two times she mentioned it.
I was like, “Ok, we get it. You think you’re some kind of troll.”
Her self-worth is nonexistent and the self deprecation is ridiculous. I get that she’s seventeen and has all of the angst of a teenager, plus as a five, she’s looked down on, but apart from her older brother abandoning them to climb the caste system, I don’t see where it comes from. She has no reason to think so little of herself; Aspen loves her, her parents love her, and her other siblings adore her.
Aspen…he’s a tad too chauvinistic for my taste. Why else would he get all butt hurt because America saved her money that she earned and decided to make him a special meal? She’s only willing to marry down a caste to be with him. I get that he wants to provide for her, but there was a better way to deal with it other than completely breaking America’s heart. And don’t even get me started on where he ends up after America moves into the palace….too cliche for me.
Now Maxon. I’m pulling for him, I really am, but he’s too perfect and a bit of an idiot. America insults him and knees him in the groin after assuming the worst of him. Yet he manages to fall in love with a girl who says she’s basically using him for his money and his food. Right. That totally makes sense. I get that love makes you do stupid things, but logic went out the window completely on that one. So while America is all wishy washy about her feelings for him, he forces himself to look at the other girls as true candidates for the crown. At this point though, he’s already decided that America is the One. The boy also needs to stand up for himself every once in a while. His father walks all over him, and yet he’s preparing to hand the crown over to Maxon. Come on man, guide him a little! He’s only going to be running the show in the future.
I like the idea of the world, I just wish it were developed more. We need more explanations of why things are the way they are. The little history lesson Silvia gives the girls is supposed to provide an explanation, and it does sort of. It basically explains that China tried to invade the US because they owed them money and once that happened, they became the United States of China or something like that (it really stuck, huh?). That was WWIII (which they don’t say in the book and I missed completely). So then Russia was all like, “I want in on some of that” and tried to invade, thus the start of WWIV. Eventually Canada, the US, and some Latin countries became what is known as Illea.
I found myself questioning, “how do you go from a democracy back to a monarch? Why is the caste system in place?” none of that was answered. Maybe in the next book, but so far, nada.
I don’t watch the Bachelor, but I know the gist of it and this book has that feel. In fact, I believe it was written like that purposely. The ending of this book was anticlimactic. You knew he had to narrow it down to the final 10, and then he announced that he was going to have 6 instead. So he did just that. He sent all but 6 home. End of story. If I’m going to devote my time to reading a novel, give me something to work toward. That’s all I ask. If the ending is good, I can look past cliche character names and bland plot lines.
Cass has a good idea here. However, her execution wasn’t on par, and yet I find myself continuing the series, as irritating as it is. I need to know if it gets better. In all honesty, I probably won’t enjoy it, but I’m still holding onto a sliver of hope.