America and the rest of the Selected girls trundle their way to the palace, cheered on by jubilant crowds.
The sad thing was that we weren’t allowed to roll down the windows to acknowledge them. The guard in the front said to think of ourselves as extensions of the royal family. Many adored us, but there were people out there who wouldn’t be above hurting us to hurt the prince. Or the monarchy itself.
Then why do the whole motorcade thing? If you absolutely have to put on some pageantry for the cameras, at least have the girls in armoured vehicles or something. I remember seeing Obama’s vehicular caravan speeding by when he visited Dublin; I’m willing to bet money he was in the large armoured car and not the flashy conspicuous limousine with the flags trailing behind.
Celeste-the-designated-asshole suggests that Marlee (The Nice One) slept with someone to get ahead, as the crowds seem to be favoring her. I’m not entirely sure who she’s meant to have slept with to make this happen, and America doesn’t seem to find the suggestion absurd, although she is initially baffled and then shocked by the idea. For someone who was so eager to start having sex with Aspen a few chapters ago, America is weirdly naive.
“So sorry to rush, miss, but your group is running late,” one said.
“Oh, I’m afraid that’s my fault. I got a little too chatty at the airport.”
“Talking to the crowds?” the other asked in surprise.
They exchanged a look I didn’t understand before they started calling out locations as we passed.
Were they not supposed to talk to anyone? If not, then shouldn’t someone have warned them? Or is this dude just flabbergasted by how awesome America is for talking to people?
The palace gets almost no description beyond the fact that it has “high stucco walls”, a driveway and a fountain, which makes me picture the royal family living in a Californian McMansion.
Once inside, it’s time for The Makeover Scene. Remember how The Hunger Games had a Makeover scene and Katniss complained all through it? Remember how Katniss actually had some legit grounds for complaining because she was going to be forced to murder other children less than a week later as opposed to the absolutely nothing America has going on?
“Oh, my. Do we have an individual here?” he sang, as if I were a child.
Yeah, I’m fucking sure America is the only one who balked at the idea of getting slapped with an artificial image for the contest. She’s just so special you guys.
“And you’re America?” I nodded. “I heard you came in with that Celeste girl. She’s terrible!”
What is so terrible about Celeste, beyond the fact that the book has arbitrarily decided that she’s the Slutty Bitch character? Someone please tell me.
America meets another friendly girl named Sosie, who appears for like a page, complains about Celeste and then promptly vanishes. I wonder if any of these characters are going to get any actual personalities.
My hair was washed, conditioned, hydrated, and smoothed.
Maybe it’s Maybelline
I still looked like me when I was done. Of course, so did Celeste, since she insisted upon piling it on.
Seriously? We’re seriously going here? The heroine who looks beautiful without makeup vs the slutty bitch who wears too much? Is there any stupid YA cliche this book won’t use?
I really didn’t want to talk to camera crews. It all felt so intrusive.
BY THE WAY THIS BOOK IS COMMENTING ON REALITY TV AND WHATEVER LIKE HOW THE HUNGER GAMES DID OKAY BYE
Almost every aspect of this book feels incredibly cynical, like an attempt to bolt on elements of more popular stories. So far, America’s doomed relationship with Aspen and the heavy focus on clothes and makeovers feel like the only parts of the story that the author actually cared about, which makes me wonder (as others in the comments have already speculated) whether this was originally much simpler fairy tale-esque romance story before it was converted into a dystopian YA novel.
“America, you’re so nice. All those people at the airport loved you.”
“Oh, I was just being friendly. You met people, too,” I countered.
“Yeah, but not half as many as you.”
I swear there have been like fifty conversations so far that go exactly like this: someone compliments America on how beautiful or kind or amazing she is, she insists that she’s not, they go on at length about how no really she totally is, rinse and repeat.
“During the day, there will be times when you can go into the garden, but not without permission. This is merely a safety restriction. Try as we may, rebels have gotten within the grounds before.”
How bad is their security that rebels have managed to sneak into the palace multiple times?
I gulped. Too many rules, too much structure, too many people. I just wanted to be alone with a violin.
This is the first time America has expressed any fondness for the violin (she usually talks about her performing in terms of singing), so it seems really jarring.
America has three personal maids named Lucy, Anne and Mary (why do these three get normal names?), who given literally zero description. We don’t even find out how old they are in relation to America, which is a fairly important fact since how she responds to three older women is going to be very different to how she responds to three girls her own age.
There was a violin in the corner, as well as a guitar and a gorgeous piano, but I couldn’t bring myself to bother with them.
But you just said oh never mind
I just lay there, still. It felt like only a few moments before my maids quietly tapped on my door. I let them in and, as strange as it was, let them dress me.
She dismisses the maids because she wants to be alone, but then lets them back in like a paragraph later? What? Why?
They were just so excited to be helpful, I couldn’t ask them to leave again.
I wonder if any maid in the history of the world has ever acted like this (assuming they actually are super excited and not just faking it).
She was sitting next to Bariel Pratt, who had hair straight as a bone and so pale blond it looked white as it fell to her waist. There was no mild way to put it: Her breasts were huge. They crept out of her strapless dress, tempting anyone to try and ignore them.
Bariel was beautiful, but in a typical way.
😐 😐 😐 😐
There has to be some sort of subversion coming up, right? The book can’t seriously be regurgitating these sexist tropes with zero irony, can it?
I could see it in their eyes, the same look I’d gotten from Emmica and Samantha. Suddenly those stares made sense. My intentions didn’t matter. They didn’t know I didn’t want this. In their eyes, I was a threat. And I could see they wanted me gone.
Who the hell cares? Victory is decided solely by who Prince Maxon likes the most, so it’s not like the other girls seeing her as a threat matters. Sure, they could try to sabotage her somehow, but since she doesn’t want to win anyway there’s zero tension in that idea.