Let’s Read The Selection ch. 9

the_selection_cover

Chapter 9

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.

facepalm.jpg

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.

 

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Selection ch. 9

  1. Cascading_flames

    Sorry to post off-topic, but am I the only one who has read that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be working on the Kingkiller Chronicles?

    Reply
  2. blogarithmicfunction

    ‘Bariel was beautiful, but in a typical way.’

    She has waist length white hair and massive boobs. There’s nothing typical about her: She has invaded this book from a parallel anime dimension.

    Like this book is bad in many ways, most more serious than this, but it just kind of knocks me out that Cass is describing a pretty atypical looking girl and just sort of shrugging at her own description. How do you get published like that? How????

    Reply
      1. blogarithmicfunction

        could you honestly say that wouldn’t be more interesting than this pedestrian bullshit

        Like if you told me there was a dystopian SF novel about a beauty pageant I would expect glittery space idols and voluminous anti-gravity hair and holographic layered dresses and elf ears and gradient eyes or something not like, real life + weird and very specific standards on the part of the author.

        Reply
  3. zephyrean

    > which makes me picture the royal family living in a Californian McMansion.
    This would actually be great.

    > Lucy, Anne and Mary (why do these three get normal names?)
    Different class.

    > There has to be some sort of subversion coming up, right?
    Twist: the book is so terrible that the anemic “happy ending” with the author unable to communicate any feeling but crushing boredom will qualify as social commentary, except not one that’s worth suffering through the book for.

    Reply
  4. Signatus

    ” who wouldn’t be above hurting us to hurt the prince. Or the monarchy itself.”

    I’m not really sure how this is supposed to work. I mean, these girls are a bunch of nobodies from all social castes. Why would killing a couple of them hurt the crown? Maybe some people would complain about insufficient security measures, but this kind of issues barely scratch a democratically elected government today, I don’t think that’s going to cause more than a minor annoyance for the crown at most.

    The archduke Franz Ferdinand was an obvious target. JF Kennedy was an obvious target. A group of girls participating in a beauty pangeant would be like targetting the Miss USA competition and expecting to cause severe damage to the government. Unless it was Trump himself shooting people, that won’t affect the government at all.

    Again, proof of how stupid and badly researched this book is.

    Also, you want to hurt the crown? Train an assassin candidate and have her stab the prince. There, I solved the book for you.

    “slept with someone to get ahead, as the crowds seem to be favoring her.”

    I’m absolutely confused at the inner logic in this book. So she has to be a virgin to be a candidate for the selection, then slept with someone (who?) to be favored by the public… err, did she give a bj to some TV directive to get more TV time or something? I mean, wouldn’t it have made more sense if; “the crows favored her because she was the daughter of some important (engineer, academic, philosopher…) and that gave her a head start”? This is a caste system, it would actually make SENSE if upper castes had a head start at this.

    Something else that annoys me about this is we’re supposed to gasp and shake our heads like America. What a slut! How dare she use her sexuality to achieve whatever goals she has? A woman has to be pure, and virgin and… gah! I hate this book!

    “I heard you came in with that Celeste girl. She’s terrible!”

    Is this coming from the guy who is supposed to apply makeup or dress the girls up? Shouldn’t he keep his opinions to himself instead of blurting them out in front of one of the contestants?

    “I still looked like me when I was done.”

    BULLSHIT! When I go to the hairdresser I look fantastic, the moment I wash my hair I will never manage to make it look the same. Ever. If it was that easy professional stylists would starve or not exist to begin with.

    “so did Celeste”

    The obsession with this character is starting to annoy me.

    ” It all felt so intrusive.”

    Unlike the Hunger Games where children were forced into the arena and being nice in front of the cameras and obtaining the favor of the public could mean resources to survive, America was NOT forced into the selection. She did it because she wanted to, and she’s not even going to try to be selected at all and is expecting to be thrown out of the selection to go back home, which makes me wonder why she entered to begin with. Right now she sounds like a spoiled brat who complains about everything.

    “America, you’re so nice. All those people at the airport loved you.”

    Why? What has she done to be loved by the people? Aside from being one of the biggest sues I’ve ever seen since Bella Swann.

    “Too many rules,”

    One would have thought an autocratic government would mean having a shitload of rules to follow, but it keeps sounding like your typical modern day democratic society where people more or less do what they like as long as they respect some rather logical laws (like, I don’t know, not stealing and that sort of stuff). Aside from the whole “don’t breed” law, it doesn’t seem like there is a strict control of society as one would expect in regimes like the one from North Korea.

    “I couldn’t bring myself to bother with them.”

    Yay for continuity! Has this book even been revised?

    “Her breasts were huge.”

    WOW! I don’t even have words to describe what I’m feeling right now.

    “I was a threat.”

    She’s a threat because the biggest sue in the history of books is naturally “pweettyyyy”, because obviously that’s the only important thing in this whole bullshit of a competition, that she’s beautiful. One would have thought a future queen should be intelligent, educated, polite, accessible to the people, interesting, but no, it seems the only important thing is for her to be beautiful, and if she was beautiful that’s enough to win.

    So this is what people like Kiera Cass think, that the worth of a woman is based on her looks and the size of her breasts, and we are a bunch of crazy bitches who will be passive aggressive towards a woman more beautiful than us.

    This is the most sexist and disgusting book I’ve seen in a long time, and it hurts me even more that it is a woman writing it.

    Reply
  5. Ida

    I wonder why this book isn’t just about a girl competing in something like “The Bachelor” or whatever the show’s name is. It could be a show about some rich dude having to choose between several girls from poor families, and the winner will get to marry him and leave her life of poverty behind. It could give actual commentary on how the middle to upper classes tend to view impoverished people, how social stratification is turned into entertainment for the masses – look at all these poor people trying to act like they are as good as us! – and about how social conciousness is sometimes treated like some kind of medal of honor (“I’m such a good person, I give to charity! Admire me”) That way, not only would the competition have actual stakes, the book could ask some genuine moral questions. Miss America doesn’t want to be in this competition because she loves her boyfriend, but she needs money because her father is sick, or her sister needs a college fund, or really anything like that. She has to look good for the camera, she has to make people like her, while all the time knowing that if she loses, she will not only get thrown back into poverty, but she will also have to deal with the sort of fame that comes from being paraded like a freak in front of an audience.

    Maxon could be a sheltered rich kid who doesn’t fully understand the consequences of the rich-poor dichotomy, maybe thinking that these girls are only poor because their parents are lazy or some other horrible objectivist shit, believing that he is their “saviour” coming down from up high to make them “better”. Over the course of the story, he will learn more about reality and mellow out.

    There is no need to make this dystopian because this is what society actually looks like today.

    Reply

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