Let’s Read The Selection ch. 15

the_selection_cover

Note: the injury I mentioned last time around is still a thing. Expect further disruptions n blog content

CHAPTER 15
DINNER WAS DISAPPOINTING. NEXT WEEK I’d have to tell my maids to leave some room in the dress for me to eat.

I don’t understand why these two sentences are back to back. Dinner was disappointing, so… she’ll need a looser dress so she can eat more next time? Was dinner disappointing because the food was good, and her tight dress prevented her from eating more of it? What’s going on here?

Maxon sashays into America’s room for one of their dull, rambling rendezvous (rendezvouses?), and America suddenly remembers that Aspen exists and pines over him for a bit. He drops out of the story so often, I was starting to forget all about him as well.

“Where in the world are your maids?” he asked, surveying my room.
“Gone. I send them off when I come back from dinner.”
“Every day?”
“Yes, of course. I can take my clothes off by myself, thank you.”

But she lets them dress and bathe her every morning? And I’m almost certain that there have been scenes of the maids undressing her in the evening. Maybe they came up with some kind of arrangement while I was skimming over the book in a dazed stupor.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLadies Ladies,” Maxon said, and gave a small head nod.
I supposed it was foolish to think no one would see us together. I felt my face heat up, but I wasn’t sure why.

I wonder if emnity and competitiveness between the contestants is an intended part of the Selection? Not that they actually are competing in any way–the book would be way more interesting if they were.

Celeste was staring daggers at me. I was sure she thought I had personally wronged her.

Case in point: Celeste is (I think) one of the two Mean Girls–not the one whose boobs are too big, the other one–and is clearly being set up as an antagonist for America. Despite this, she has yet to actually do anything. She hasn’t sabotaged America’s dress or tripped her in front of Maxon or set her room on fire. Hell, she’s barely had any dialogue.The other one (why are there two Mean Girls if they’re virtually identical apart from their physical appearances?) is even more of a non-entity.

“Good evening, sirs,” he greeted the guards, who opened the doors to the garden without the slightest hesitation. Maybe I would have to take Maxon up on that offer to have them know I liked to go outside. The idea of being able to escape so easily was appealing.

Yes, dear god. Actually take the initiative on something for a change.

Maxon has a bit of a whine about how hard it is to be a prince:

“And living around my schedule? When I’m not with you all, I’m organizing troops, making laws, perfecting budgets … and all on my own these days, while my father watches me stumble in my own stupidity because I have none of his experience.

This is why monarchy is bad, kids.

(Would the barely-adult prince actually be doing all of this shit personally, even in an absolute monarchy? Wouldn’t he have advisors to handle the day to day running of specific areas of expertise?)

“I hope you and Marlee hit it off. She’s incredibly sweet.”
Maxon made a strange face. “She seems so.”
“What? Is something wrong with sweet?”
“No, no. Sweet is good.”
He didn’t elaborate.

Gosh it’s almost like Marlee was a red herring and no one except America is going to get anywhere close to winning.

I’m very surprised by this.

“We’re alone. There’s just the guard by the door.”

Given how stupidly easy it is to break into the palace, I wouldn’t let Maxon outside without a full platoon guarding him.

“You’ll have to adjust to that. When you leave here, eyes will be on you for the rest of your life. My mom still talks to some of the women she was with when she went through the Selection. They’re all viewed as important women. Still.”
“Great,” I moaned. “Just one more thing I can’t wait to go home to.”

Dosn’t your heart just ache for these young, attractive, wealthy, famous lovers-to-be?

“But you’re willing to be homesick and miserable here instead of going home. Why?”

America already explained all of this during their first boring garden chat. She’s staying so her family will get more money. Did Maxon forget? Did the book forget.

America starts telling Maxon her life story, and we get one mildly interesting bit of information that I don’t think was explicitly stated before– her older brother Kota basically abandoned the family after his sculptures started making a lot of money–but it’s not actually that interesting given that I don’t actually care about America as a character.

“He’s a Six and I’m a Five, and there are laws …

You know, now would be a good time to ask Maxon why they have such strict laws about when people can bone.

Maxon’s eyes widened. “Midnight? But—”
“You should know that I break Illéa curfew regularly.”

Similarly: why is there a curfew? To stop rebels? It doesn’t seem to be working.

“But when he saw all the money that I’d spent on him, it upset him. He’s very proud. He wanted to spoil me, not the other way around, and I guess he saw then that he’d never be able to. So he broke up with me instead….

This makes him sound like even more of an arrogant tit than before.

“America, I promise you I’ll keep you here until the last possible moment. I understand that they want me to narrow the Elite down to three and then choose. But I swear to you, I’ll make it to two and keep you here until then.

Welp, there’s all the tension gone right out of the story, might as well just wrap it up now and go home.

(Oh and in case you forgot: the Selection doesn’t actually reach its conclusion until the end of book three. We’re almost two third through this one, and sweet fuck all has happened so far)

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Selection ch. 15

  1. Signatus

    ” the injury I mentioned last time around is still a thing.”

    Sorry to hear.

    “I can take my clothes off by myself, thank you.”

    Such a self sufficient woman. Can’t you see how strong and rebellious I am?

    “I felt my face heat up, but I wasn’t sure why.”

    What are you? Stupid? This is also a trend amongst bad YA writers. They want to keep readers oblivious from very OBVIOUS things that are going on in the story, and the way they attempt to conceal the events going on is making their characters total idiots. Otherwise the poorly planned plot would be pretty much over in three pages. Cass, know an easy way to get around that? Say; “I felt my face heat up”, END OF STORY. Leave it to your readers to think about it instead of pounding us with a the whole “I wasn’t sure why” as a terrible, TERRIBLE attempt at subtle foreshadowing.

    Even better. Switch to third person. It takes a VERY skilled writer to pull up first person and not screw it up. You, and practically none of the best-selling YA writers out there, are not such skilled writer. Third person also gives you a lot more to play with in terms of plot planning, and you can conceal perfectly a character’s emotions (while actually SHOWING them) and play with true subtle foreshadowing.

    This, my friend, is first class bad writing.

    “Celeste was staring daggers at me. I was sure she thought I had personally wronged her.”

    I know this is actually the premise behind the book but I’m kind of sick of the idea that women are naturally competitive because our lives revolve around a man. You touch my territory, woman, I get into competitive aggression mode. While I’m not going to say we are beings made of light, and this things actually happen all the time (we are educated into this idea, after all), we are actually capable of maintaining friendships between ourselves.

    “The idea of being able to escape so easily was appealing.”

    Then WHY, in the name of decent literature, WHY DID YOU ENTER???????? Cass, your character was never, ever FORCED to enter this bullshit of a competition. Your character clearly didn’t want to enter the competition. She doesn’t care. She’s not making US care, and that is ultimately your fault because you haven’t created ANY CONFLICT AT ALL. And NO, damn it, the “rebels” don’t count as conflict. They’re a circumstantial annoyance at best. You are trying so hard at the rebellious cliche you ultimately FAILED at delivering a mildly interesting story.

    Just, America, run off and save us from having to suffer through even more books written by this person.

    “Just one more thing I can’t wait to go home to.”

    Considering you live in a strict cast system, you’re an absolute idiot. Also, again, you wanted to be anonymous? WHY DID YOU ENTER???????

    “He’s very proud.”

    He’s a mysoginistic asshole. I already went into this back when it first showed up (thanks for writing a completely redundant chapter that offered absolutely no new information and no plot advancement).

    “America, I promise you I’ll keep you here until the last possible moment.”

    Can we skip to the end then? I mean, it’s not that it wasn’t obvious she was winning this competition, but with the character practically spoiling the end? What’s the point in going through the rest of the book? Cass, instead of going through the approach of; A happens, then B happens, then C happens, have you actually tried using the; A leads to B and B leads to C approach? It works wonders, I tell you.

    “the Selection doesn’t actually reach its conclusion until the end of book three.”

    Wait… what???????? Are you serious? This… this thing is going to drag through TWO MORE BOOKS??????? Why??????? What more is there to tell? She just wrote a recapitulation chapter? There is no motivation in the characters, no plot, no story… there is nothing, only a series of events and boring chats between characters. Eragon is a terrible book but at least it had something resembling a plot. What’s wrong with romance YA authors?

    I’m not sure the romance aspect in itself is enough to weave a plot. Usually the romance works in a lot of books and movies because it is not the central piece of the plot, but it is weaved into a plot. Movies like You’ve Got Mail weaved the romance into a plot that consisted in the rivalry between the small town library and the huge big company that is, slowly, eating away at the little business. Cass did not used the selection as a central plot and then weaved the romance into it. She is trying to use the romance as a central plot and trying to weave the selection into it, and it is failing spectacularly.

    I don’t think love in itself, the developing of a relationship between two people, gives enough to build an interesting plot. The same as in real life, love is one of the many experiences that happen throughout it, but your life doesn’t just stop happening just because a relationship is growing. The relationship grows in your “life plot”, be it university, work, or that really nice guy you met at the ski resort and then met again hiking through the jungles of Ecuador. The plot is your life. Love is weaved into that plot, it is one of the many experiences going on.

    This is my own personal opinion, and I might be, and probably am very wrong. I’ve stated many times I’m not into romance novels so any of you with more experience than me in the genre might show me lots of examples of love being a central plot element and actually working.

    Reply
    1. devilsjunkshop

      “that really nice guy you met at the ski resort and then met again hiking through the jungles of Ecuador”

      -this line by itself contains more possibility for interest/intrigue than anything mentioned so far in The Selection

      Reply
    2. A. Noyd

      I know this is actually the premise behind the book but I’m kind of sick of the idea that women are naturally competitive because our lives revolve around a man.

      I mean, it would be another thing if the girls were all putting on the appearance of competing for a man because that was the only way to get the power and fortune they needed to accomplish some other goal. But that would take a) a real dystopia, and b) a much better writer. And it would still be ruined if it got resolved by the MC falling in luuurve with the dude.

      I don’t think love in itself, the developing of a relationship between two people, gives enough to build an interesting plot.

      It probably works a lot better when both the characters and their relationship have actual depth.

      Reply
      1. Signatus

        I actually said something along those lines in my last comment, although talking about America herself and the lack of motivation she seems to have to be in the selection to begin with. But you’re spot on. It would be nice to actually get to know these character’s motivations to actually discover all of them are there because they are power hungry, academics or want to be in a position of power to have the resources and respectability to help those from lower castes. The options are as endless as people’s motivations. Damn, even if the rebellion was done well (instead of being a random mob) one of the contestants could be a trained assassin hired to kill the prince.

        “And it would still be ruined if it got resolved by the MC falling in luuurve with the dude.”

        Gosh, you can’t imagine how much I agree with you. Why does the MC have to fall in love? She could be friends with the guy and yet not be in love with him. She could have the hots for him and find him a fun sexual partner and not want anything else because she doesn’t feel that way. She could even find him boring without despising him. Relationships between humans are way more complex than this love-hate binomial.

        “It probably works a lot better when both the characters and their relationship have actual depth.”

        Yeah, I never understood this boy meets girl meets boy = true love forever and ever. I don’t like working under this premise. I find that, if I start a book where characters already know each other, their relationships are more authentic. YA authors should try it.

        Reply
    3. ronanwills Post author

      “Wait… what???????? Are you serious?”

      YEP

      According to the back cover synopsis, as of the opening of the third book, there are five contestants left.

      Reply
  2. Junkyard

    Did you ever get around to reading The Darkness That Comes Before? I ended up here after searching for some info on Mistborn, and I loved your take on the book. I have a love/hate relationship with high fantasy (mostly hate) but I particularly love Bakker’s work, so I’m curious to know if you were similarly impressed. Even if you weren’t, I think I’d enjoy reading you rip him to pieces anyway.

    Reply

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