The selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she's swept up in longing for the life they'd planned to share.
America is desperate for more time. But while she's torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want--and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.
Rating: 2 Stars
After rating the first book in the series 4 stars, I am sorry to say that I was sorely disappointed when I picked up this volume. Maybe it has something to do with how much time there was between the readings, or perhaps the mood I was in while I was reading each. Either way, this was not a great experience.
That isn't to say it was a terrible experience, either. This wasn't a bad book, really, but I would say that it felt like a lot of filler. It stretched out a lot farther than it needed to, particularly in the early chapters when it felt like a lot of information was being repeated over and over again. I'm wondering if it easily could have been the first half of a concluding book, like if The Elite and The One were one volume. That would have felt a little better, though the beginning would still stand as suffering from ill pacing.
I was also extremely frustrated with America Singer. The main character is supposed to be likable, or at least sympathetic. I'm not supposed to want to tear my hair out or roll my eyes at her several times in one chapter, chapter after chapter. This goes back to what I said about information being repeated over and over again in the early part of the book. The first few chapters all seemed to be about and end the same way: America waffling back and forth over whether she loved Maxon or Aspen. We know this already and repeating it so bluntly made America comes across as more of a whiner than someone who is actually debating the better option.
That's another thing. America does seem, all along, to know precisely the choice she'll make and all of this going back and forth is just her being petulant. It was annoying and I can't for the life of me figure out why she was acting this way.
Aspen, one of the main love interests, continues to be a selfish ass that stands as a counterpoint to the perfect Prince Maxon. Knowing the ending of the series, I'm trying to read the rest of the books and see whether Aspen was written as such a terrible person simply to show off the other great guy America has, or whether he was just badly written and it was some kind of accident that he ended up being portrayed this way. He has it in his head the way his and America's life should turn out and he doesn't want to truly give her the chance to figure out if that's what she wants. This is illustrated perfectly near the end when he thinks that America will be going home and wants to jump straight back into their relationship. When she asks for some peace for the time being, he acts affronted, like he has a reason to be hurt by her decision. I wanted so badly to hit him at that moment.
Maxon is still verging on the edge of being too perfect for his own good, but he did do a few things during this book that made me like him, even if it ended up being more show-dressing for the princely image i.e. his handling of the Marlee situation, introducing America to certain parts of the royal life she could expect. America better shape up or I'm going to end up cheering for someone else because as of now, she doesn't deserve either of the guys in this series.
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