"Love is a beautiful fear."
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Harper Teen, 323 pages
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2013
Source: ARC from publsher (FIRST ONE EVER! :) )
Previous Reviews in Series: The Selection
Previous Reviews in Series: The Selection
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FROM THE SELECTION IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IT. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
Wow. I don't know what it is about some books and I cannot explain why but they have my heart racing in fear and anticipation of what was going to happen. This was one of them. The reason? AGAIN Prince Maxon. I just LOVE his character. I absolutely cannot get enough. And to be honest, my anxiety stemmed entirely from my fear of America doing something stupid to ruin her chances with him the entire time.
But like always, I'm getting ahead of myself. So America finds herself as one of the Elite and still in constant mental disarray as to what she wants exactly. I'm gonna get my one negative about the book out of the way first and foremost. America, like Juliette in the Shatter Me series, unfortunately has a case of WHS...Whiny Heroine Syndrome. C'mon girlfriend, get it together. Stop whiny about your situation and IF you can handle being a princess and IF you could handle all that comes with it...you are lucky you're in the running. You are lucky that Maxon so obviously LOVES you like he does. Does she not realize how much good she can do as Queen one day?
I GET the insecurities of seeing Maxon with other girls, I will give her that. It is a tough situation and seeing something different from what he is telling is so hard I cannot even imagine it. Clearly, as desperate as my own personal love life may be I will not be signing up for The Bachelor anytime soon. I'm only reading about it and I wanna go all girl fight on some of these skanks. Eye gouging and hair ripping included. But anyways. I like America, I do, but Lord help me if I didn't want to throttle her most of the book. The constant back and forth with her feelings for Maxon drove me crazy...but therein lies the drama of the book so it's fine.
Have I mentioned that I love Maxon? Seriously. AND we find out he is not so perfect as we maybe once assumed he was. And I STILL love him even more for it. He has flaws like we all do but the things he does to try and circumvent his weak points are what makes him so much better. Aspen is still lurking as a guard, I don't know you guys, he just doesn't do it for me. I don't know if I had little to go on from The Selection or what but he isn't somebody I'm particularly rooting for. A lot of love triangles I can see the appeal in both while always having a front runner, and it is rare I all out dislike the other guy but in this case I do. I understood America's hurt in the beginning of The Selection but maybe the little window into the relationship that we got to see wasn't enough. Aspen is almost a non-entity for me. I wish he would kind of stop bothering and go away.
Ok, so we definitely get a more real life view of some of the downside of being royalty. This book has a lot of darkness in it. There is a good amount of cruelty, danger, betrayal, and a whole lotta action with the rebels. We get a lot of of the underbelly and dark side of the governmental operation Illea has going on. They're not messing around anymore and it was refreshing. This book turned into something so much more than I originally anticipated after reading The Selection. Where The Selection was so much fun to read with a lot of superficial political action, this book took a 180 and we see how deep the competition has gotten and what horrors any one of these girls could face as Queen. I loved the direction of the plot. I feel Book 3 is going to be out of control.
I thought this was a fantastic second book in this series. It really beefed out a lot of characters and we get to know so much more about Maxon (YES!) and I was loving every second it. We see so much more of the rebellion and its repercussions. We get more of America's maids (LOVE THEM!), we get to know more of the other girls (ew, they can go away anytime now too), AND we get to know Queen Amberly a bit more. Personally, she is one character I am DYING to know more about. She seems so strong in her quiet way. And while the ending wrapped up nicely in its own way...hot damn, did it leave me excited for Book 3. Where is it?! :)