Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series
Publish Date: May 6th, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
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.
I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to read The One. I listened to the audiobook while driving to and from school each day, and my reactions (which ranged from crying hysterically to fan-girling to an extreme) resulted in more than one awestruck stare from a nearby driver. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend reading/listening to The One while in a public environment – there will be quite a few mortifying moments if you do.
Shockingly, I was never a fan of The Selection or The Elite. I rated both installments 1/5 stars and don’t regret my decision to this day. Therefore, I started The One on a complete whim and had lowered my expectations to a point of no return. In the preceding books, one of my main gripes revolved around the frustratingly unrealistic and forced romance(s), and I assumed the ultimate crowning of a winner would be no different. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Unlike its predecessors, The One capitalized on both the small and large moments that contribute to a relationship, whether positive or negative. America wasn’t always on the best of terms with Maxon or Aspen – they all had their fair share of quarrels and disputes. But one of the startling distinctions between The One and the previous installments was the inclusion of several genuine, romantic moments which reflected America’s overall character development throughout the series. She has gradually learned to stop pushing people away, to be herself, and to open up to other characters. This shift dramatically altered the overall tone and mood of the novel and contributed to the increased believability of America’s relationships.
Up until this point, I had been an extreme proponent for Team Aspen, but The One caused me to completely reverse that decision. Unfortunately, Aspen doesn’t play a large role in The One and appears mainly during the climax. While his actions remain both admirable and heroic, he begins to develop a bit of an attitude with America, although understandably so after being strung along for this length of time. They spend the majority of the book at odds with one another which was personally heartbreaking.
Maxon, on the other hand, was shed in a more positive light and played a central role in the book. He was portrayed as having a compassionate side, particularly with respect to those of the poorer castes. Similarly, he finally began to recognize and address some of the issues causing unrest among the commoners, as well as attempting to appease the rebels. Near the end of the novel, however, I did find it frustrating that, despite having made up his mind about whom he would crown princess of Illea, Maxon continued to engage with the other girls (kissing, taking them on dates, etc.).
Needless to say, the ending absolutely killed me. In retrospect, having allowed several days to pass since I finished the book, I’m happy with the overall ending – it definitely provided some well-needed resolution to the series and ended on a relatively positive note. But, fair warning: the aftermath will leave you an emotional wreck. And yes, I’m speaking from experience.
And just to add another aspect to the ending, Kiera Cass wrote a beautiful epilogue which I highly suggest!