The One by Kiera Cass

After enjoying The Selection for the superficial novel that it is, and really not liking The Elite, I’ve finally arrived at the end of The Selection trilogy. Going into it, I wasn’t expecting to like it very much. Sadly, it lived up to my expectations and was an obnoxious ending to a poorly executed series. Save yourself sometime and watch a series of The Bachelor instead, it has more character development and complex storytelling than all of the books in this trilogy combined.

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

Kiera Cass is a poor writer. She lacks a style, and the writing is reflective of a very early draft. Her writing is simplistic, repetitive, and just plain bad. The only redeeming quality of this book is the core Bachelor-esque love story. The world building is basically nonexistent – which really made it hard to care about any of the rebel attacks or impacts of the social caste system. The entire book would have been made better if the rebels were not included and more time had been spent developing the women of the Selection.

There were some weak attempts to add stakes, specifically by killing off a few side characters. This felt really, really cheap and had very little emotional impact because neither of the major characters were well developed. In the case of Celeste and Anne, their deaths were non-events. Barely any attention was paid to them, the book didn’t linger at all to reflect on how the other characters were impacted – they were just blown past.

America was just as wishy-washy, indecisive, and whiny as in the last book. Her toxic hatred of the women around her continued. She didn’t progress, and she actually got even more indecisive and poor at decision making. The most prime example of her poor decision making was her continuing to pursue Aspen even though knew the consequences and had the nation’s attention on her. She also constantly questioned Maxon’s affections for her even though he repeatedly told her he was only prolonging the Selection (and not proposing to her) to allow her to find the clarity she needed. Maxon also got worse in this book – he didn’t listen to America when he found her in a compromising position and was willing to throw there entire relationship away. He constantly played the victim and it got to be very tiring. He was just as controlling, manipulative and toxic as his father. Plus – he never apologizes for any of his actions.

If I had remembered how poor Kiera Cass’s writing was before starting this trilogy, I likely would not have picked these books up in the first place. The story is shallow and very superficial and weighed down by the author’s attempts at world building. A season of The Bachelor does more to develop the ‘characters’ of the women on the show than this book does for any of its characters. What could have been an interesting concept was totally squandered on poor writing and storytelling. If you’re thinking of reading this series, be prepared for some serious skimming. 2/5

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