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the elite The Elite by Kiera Cass | Rating: ★★★★☆

"Love is beautiful fear."

All right, all right — let me start by saying that The Elite was much better than The Selection. It made me a bigger fan of the romance and glitz of it all — it definitely made me a bigger fan of Maxon in spite of his flaws in this novel. Perhaps it was witnessing a great deal of his flaws that made me enjoy him further as a character. But yes, it’s official — I’m totally on team Maxon!

Can I first start by saying that I’m disappointed this series never did get picked up as an adaption on the CW? Although I typically hate their “adaptions” (see: Gossip Girl, The Secret Circle and more) I would give anything to see these books as a television series or movie. Can you imagine all the fashion and scenery? I’m practically drooling — and getting off topic, if you couldn’t tell. But back to the review at hand…

I’m glad we got to see a bit of a change in America in terms of going out there and getting what she wants. She’s fickle — it’s a human trait that I certainly don’t hate and I’m glad that she’s beginning to come around to it all. America is a very interesting character to read and get inside her mind and I do believe that she’d make a wonderful leader — princess, queen, anything. Although she doesn’t always do the right thing, I think her determination is admirable and she is caring and intelligent and just the right fit.

I was very sad by (spoiler!) the bit that happened to Marlee. I think it’s rather ridiculous for her to have been punished so harshly for falling in love and that the world they live in, with that sort of treatment, makes me a bit ill. Both she and Officer Woodwork deserved better than that and better than the life they are going to have to live because of it. And initially I was very angry with Maxon for allowing this to happen — given that neither he nor Marlee loved each other — but by the end, I understood and forgave.

Especially seeing how he risked his own ass to set up a life for the both of them. Maxon isn’t perfect, but this showcases his heart and made me a fan.

On a similar note, I felt horrible for America and Marlee for different reasons. My reasoning for Marlee is obvious, but I also felt awful that America had to lose her closest friend in the meantime — it was just a terrible scene that broke my heart and also made me proud that America didn’t let it slide.

She tried to stop it.

She tried everything in her power without giving a second thought as to what could happen to her.

And that’s what makes me believe she would be good for their world. She may not think clearly all the time, but her actions show she is a wonderfully brave and strong woman and can only go up from her as she grows. Believe me, there was a lot of growth on her part throughout The Elite and I can’t wait to see how much further she’s grown by The One.

I find that I really liked Aspen in the first book for whatever reason however in this one, I just didn’t like him. He really got under my skin and it disappointed me because I was actually quite fond of the fact that I didn’t have a favorite when it came down to the love triangle — in spite of my feelings towards him at the moment, I do hope we see a happy ending for him by series end.

I’m glad that we saw more of the families — America’s bond with her sister and her father is lovely. I especially liked the scenes that involved her father. Although, I felt like something was off — don’t ask me why or what because honestly, it could have been nothing. Don’t spoil me!

And I’m also glad we saw more of the girls as they moved forward in the competition and how they reacted to the rebels that are nearly always coming after them. I think each of the girls are special and it’s funny that I think so because we don’t really know them all that well except for America and Marlee. But, I hope to learn more about them and I do hope that what the Queen says is right, that one day these girls will all be some sort of friends.

But I don’t see how that is possible just yet as they are each fighting for Maxon’s heart and for their role as princess/queen. Alas, a girl can hope for a little girl power — right?

I have to admit that even though I want America and Maxon to be endgame (and strongly suspect they will be, thankfully!) I don’t mind Kriss and Maxon. I think she genuinely loves him and although she and America are certainly rivals in this, I can see some sort of friendship grow even bigger between the two. I guess I’m simply being optimistic, right?

Anyways, I can’t wait to learn more of Illéa history. I’m glad we learned a bit about the country and the history of it all just keeps getting more and more interesting to me. I like that we’re not seeing the rebels back down, in spite of how dangerous it is to the characters I find that it’d be very interesting to hear more on their rebellion and what could happen to the country. I wonder only what that would mean for Maxon and his family.

(If I’m being honest I wouldn’t mind them offing Maxon’s father. Oops!)

I’m trying to not be spoilery, really, but I think I am! Ah, this book was just so damn good and I can’t wait to dive into The One. I’ll be sad to see the series end but it’s just so romantic and fun and it’s a total summer read. I look forward to my return to Illéa and I will continue to recommend this novel to fans of The Bachelor and light young adult reads. America is a surprisingly strong lead for the plot and she makes it worth the read, especially in this novel. And her relationship with Maxon and Aspen aren’t what takes the spotlight in her characteristics — it’s the way she loves her family; the way she loves her friends and her maids.

It’s a love story in all sorts of ways. Loving her family. Learning to love herself and her world. Loving her friends. Falling in and out of love — this story is a love story all around and it couldn’t be better.

I particularly loved her determination at the very end. You go get your man, America.

If you didn’t enjoy the first book in the series, I do think you should try this one. It’s ions better and it may draw you in better. If it does not, then it is simply not your cup of tea and that’s okay! But I do hope you readers hop on the bandwagon with this nifty trilogy and fall in love with America, Maxon and Illéa.

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