First of all — how beautiful are these covers? Honestly, they are breathtaking.
In Illéa’s caste system, America Singer is a 5. That means that she, and her family, must find a career in the arts (regardless of the demand for their craft). America is lucky enough to have a beautiful singing voice and she loves to play instruments, so she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Illéa is a newly formed country set in the future consisting of North America and Latin America. The country is ruled by King Clarkson and Queen Amberly. They have a single heir, Maxon, and he has finally come of age. Unlike princesses, who are married off into other royal families, princes get to participate in the “Selection.” (Think The Bachelor, but with citizens of Illéa.)
America doesn’t want to sign up because she has a secret love — Aspen. But the Selection will pay her poor family for participating, and Aspen insists that she try to have a chance at a better life. Marrying Aspen would downgrade her to a 6, only two steps away from homelessness and poverty. On the other hand, marrying Prince Maxon would make her a One, the highest caste in Illéa. When America is chosen to participate out of thousands of eligible young women, her family is ecstatic — the complete opposite of her feelings.
America enters the glamorous, regal life of the royal family, and must compete with 34 other daughters of Illéa for the heart of Prince Maxon. At first, she isn’t interested. Why would she want some stuck-up prince when she has someone waiting for her at home? But Maxon isn’t what he seems, and it changes America’s plans…
The first three books, The Selection, The Elite, and The One, embody the entirety of Prince Maxon’s Selection (the Elite are the top six, the One is the one he chooses). The books are filled with butterfly-in-stomach romance, catty girlfights, love triangles, and surprisingly some political strife. America grows with each book, becoming more and more of what Illéa needs in a Princess — but will she be the One Prince Maxon chooses?
I purchased this in a beautiful 3-book box set that included a bonus from the novellas that Kiera Cass wrote from different characters’ points of view. I read these three books in record time — they were day-dreamy guilty pleasure reads, and I found myself continuously lost in world of Illéa.
Also, watch for my review of the next book in the series, set 20 years after the end of The One — The Heir, following a similar but gender-flipped Selection.