When I was at an age where girls usually read love stories, watch romantic movies and such… I didn’t. I dug myself into horror movies, fantasy novels… practically anything but this girly stuff. I didn’t like it. I’m still not really a fan of this kind of stuff but occasionally I read something romantic if there’s just something about it that gets me hooked. Most of the time it’s a fantasy angle. Like time travel, ghosts… If it turns out to be about romance mostly, that’s fine if it is written well.
When I first saw a book of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass on the shelves in the book shop, my interest was peaked. I saw the girl on the cover in that unbelievable dress. I guess even I have this dream of “Being a princess once” hidden somewhere inside me. They say never to judge a book by its cover by I guess we all know that when you don’t know what a book is about or don’t know th author, that’s what gets your intention. When I looked at the back of the book to see what this was all about, I read something like “The Bachelor meets Hunger Games” or “Hunger games minus the bloodshed” and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I love Hunger Games, I read the whole trilogy in less than a week. Part of the excitement was, next to being really well written, that there was really something going on. Katniss was in it with her life on the line. The Bachelor… Not mine as you might have already guessed. I never got the appeal of watching some rich and “supposed to be handsome” guy supposedly finding love on television. So I put the book back on the shelf and didn’t think about for a while. Until I came across a piece of a failed tv show pilot for The Selection. It had two actors in it I knew from other shows (Toby Regbo from Reign and Michael Malarkey from The Vampire Diaries) and in the five minute video it seemed there was more going in that story than just finding love. There wouldn’t just be girl drama and catfights, there were rebels who attacked so some action as well. I decided to give the books a chance. In a leap of faith I bought all three books at once. It didn’t take me long to read them all. I couldn’t put them down. Now there is another book out and a fifth coming up which I simply can’t wait to get my hands on.
Reading the first pages, getting to know America, the red head who we follow through the course of the Selection, was incredible. It’s old and I hate to read this kind of stuff about protagonists but: I could relate to her. I was completely hooked.
The Selection is the way that the prince of Illéa finds his wife. A girl from each part of the country is drawn “at random” from all the applicants, the chosen 35 girls are being shipped off to the palace and the Prince has to choose one of them to be his wife, his princess, the future Queen.
America doesn’t want to enter the competition. She wants to marry her secret boyfriend Aspen and has no interest whatsoever in Prince Maxon. She agrees to apply when her family and Aspen ask her to, never expecting to be chosen. But she is chosen anyway or I wouldn’t be writing about her right now. Coming to the palace merely to get over Aspen who broke up with her- before she was drawn- out of pride, she meets the Prince when she is just desperate to get into the gardens and she tells him that she doesn’t wanna be there but it’ll help her family who doesn’t have much and gets compensation for her being at the palace if she can stay. She offers to have his back if he’ll keep her. He agrees and they become friends. Just when America starts to admit that Maxon is more than a friend to her, Aspen gets to the Palace as a guard and her feelings for him arise again.
In between the complicated feelings there are rebels attacking the palace, obviously wanting to end the Selection and searching for something, depending where they’re from.
To see America struggle with her feelings about each of the boys, about Maxon dating the other Selected girls… Emotional confusion is part of growing up maybe even part of adult life. America also isn’t the popular girl where she comes from. She’s… let me call it an outcast though it might be a bit drastic. She’s from one of the lowest casts, grown up with next to nothing so she has a hard time adjusting to living in the palace. Still she has a hard time following rules and orders when they aren’t in line with what she believes to be just and right. Maybe those are the things that made her so dear to me.
Whenever in a book or tv show there is more than one couple to choose from, teams build, ships are being created. With the Selection, the two most obvious are “Team Maxon” and “Team Aspen”. Which one I belong to? I’m Team America. From the beginning of the story I was screaming at the books, at her to choose the guy she’d be happy with. Not because her family approves, not because of the crown or because of what the decision for one of them will bring with it. America says “I choose me.” somewhere on her journey. I gave that line a big smile and if I hadn’t had to put the book down, I would’ve applauded. I knew that whoever she ended up with in the end, I’d be happy for her. Happy with her.
Whenever I pick up a book from the series, I know I won’t make it to bed on time because I’ll just get lost in the palace and not stop reading until my eyes won’t stay open anymore no matter how much I want to read on. I never expected a book like this to be as good, well written and entertaining. I was sad, I smiled, I laughed… I loved the books.
The fourth book in the series isn’t written from America’s perspective anymore, neither will the fifth one be according to Kiera Cass. I think that’s a good thing. Fresh set of eyes, the story almost the same but slightly shifted. I won’t get into details for The Heir here, as it has just been released some weeks ago.
I just hope the movies being planned will turn out as amazing. Making books into films can be tricky… no, it is tricky. But it can be done well. Setting the mood according to the book and chosing actors that look like describes in the books and can portray the characters from the books. It’s not easy but it’s possible.
In the failed pilot I mentioned earlier the casting was all wrong. Toby Regbo, blond, easy to set out as Prince Charming, was to portray Aspen. In the books Aspen’s hair is dark, so are his eyes. Looking at Toby… Yeah. Michael Malarkey was casted as Maxon. I always pictured Maxon as blond, handsome. Seemingly a bit cold but really soft and vulnarable inside. He is very nervous about the Selection. Michael… Dark hair, and seems just like the arrogant prince you’d never ever be comfortable around- at least in the way he played Maxon from what I saw in the trailer. I wouldn’t say Toby would have made a perfect Maxon but at least he gets closer to the one from the books. Where Michael gets closer, in looks anyway- I have no idea how he’d do playing Aspen- to our favorite guard. And for America… She’s a friggin redhead, people. Mentioned like a million times. The actress in the show was blonde. Ever heared about wigs?
My dream cast for The Selection? After just practically saying “You did it all wrong!”, I should have a better one in mind, right? Well… Truthfully, I don’t really know. I have pictures in my head as every reader has. You can’t find a cast that matches everybody’s picture. That is part of what makes turning books into movies so difficult. You can’t make everybody happy.
Until it’s movie time just go and enjoy the books. I sure did enjoy.