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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

There's a 100% Chance I Love This Book: A Review of The Elite by Kiera Cass.

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

 

Last month I told you all that I wanted to reread The Selection series. It’s one of my favorite series to ever exist and I haven’t read it in many years. Well…I haven’t read it in like two years, therefore it has been many years. But I picked it up. I dusted it off and dove back in to the world of Illéa. Oh how I’ve missed it!


Tiara
Grab your tiaras!

Now as you know from the title of this post and my teeny, tiny intro, I’m reviewing The Elite today. By the way, give a warm round of applause for The Elite by Kiera Cass!


Book cover of The Elite by Kiera Cass.

We’re talking The Elite cause I’ve already talked about The Selection. If you want to read that review then you can click here. It’ll take you all the way back to the olden days of RHRML where my reviews left a lot to be desired. Today I shall make up for that lackluster review with a high quality review.

 

So let’s crack in. As always, a spoiler alert is in order. This is your one and only warning. If you’ve read any of my other reviews then you know I simply love to spoil the entirety of the books I read. Also a quick content and trigger warning. The Elite features a very abusive character. He’s a pretty important part of the plot and cannot be avoided. If you picked this read up expecting something lighthearted because of the cover, just know there are quite a few darker aspects than anticipated. Synopsis time now.

 

The Elite picks up where The Selection left off. Prince Maxon has narrowed down the Selection to the top six. He’s narrowed the field down to six instead of the traditional ten due to the increasing amount of rebel attacks. The Southern Rebels, the more dangerous of the two rebel groups, has become increasingly more deadly.

 

Between rebel attacks, our girl America Singer is learning about diplomacy, etiquette, the true history of the country, philanthropy, event coordination, and how to keep your other boyfriend a secret. Yes that’s right, America is still interested in her first love Aspen. But she’s also in love with Prince Maxon. Honestly she has two great guys to choose from, but my god, is the decision hard!


Pixel Hearts.
She loves them both!

Both Maxon and Aspen have pros and cons. Maxon pros: willing to wait for America to make her decision and respects boundaries. Maxon cons: has America’s bestie flogged. Aspen pros: hella loyal and protective. Aspen cons: believer in traditional gender roles and doesn’t really give America space when she asks for it. Like I said, pros and cons to both of them.

 

But what I love most about this sequel is how much action occurs. The Elite moves away from being purely a romance. There is political intrigue, action, more fancy ballgowns, and drama, drama, drama!


Rachel Green cheering.
Yay! We love to see it!

When it comes to trilogies, I tend to find the middle book to be my least favorite. The Elite was always my least favorite once the series was over. Just how it was. I didn’t hate The Elite, but The Selection and The One were more favorable to me. Now that many years have passed and I’ve grown old, I appreciate The Elite much more than I ever have before. There’s so much more to this one than there is to The Selection. The Selection is kinda lackluster compared to its sequels.

 

Truthfully, all The Selection has going for it is the romance and love triangle. It’s kinda boring in retrospect. There’s really not much going on. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love The Selection. I love this trilogy. It’s my comfort book series. But The Elite, and in turn The One, just has so much happening. I want all the political intrigue and drama. If I’m gonna read a romance, it better have some spin to it. It can’t just be a basic romance. The Elite does that! It dives into dystopian politics where its predecessor did not.

 

The world of Illéa is dark. The ballgowns and bright covers really trick you, but Kiera Cass made a terrifying world. Each entry into this series progressively gets darker. In The Selection, readers learn of a weird abstinence law, the caste system, and that multiple rebel groups are out the end the monarchy. In The Elite the true villain, King Clarkson, rears his head for the first time. Readers finally see the terror who is running the country and come to realize just how horrible he is. He’s lowkey psychotic. He’s physically violent towards his son, and he wants to keep the majority of Illéa’s population poor, hungry, and uneducated. Nothing about this is what you expect from a book with a woman wearing a pretty dress on the cover. I really have to give props to the series for this; especially The Elite where a lot of this information is dropped.


Standing ovation.
A standing o for the political intrigue.

I also have to give it to Kiera Cass for keeping me jumping between Maxon and Aspen. I’ve read this series so many times that I’ve lost count. From my initial reading I felt I knew who America was going to choose. And obviously I know who she ends up with since I’ve read the series so many times over the years. Yet Kiera Cass has made me swing like a pendulum. On this read through I’ve changed my mind on who America should pick so many times. And I know who she ends up with!

 

Both Aspen and Maxon have tons of amazing qualities. They are both well-rounded, well-written characters, and are equally wonderful choices. Like I wouldn’t be mad with America ending up with either of them. I simply find it amazing that these books can transport me to a scary dystopian world and instead of worrying about the politics, it has me debate who the heroine should end up with after ten years and countless rereads.


Tennis Head.
Me going back and forth trying to guess who America would choose:

Let’s turn to our villain now cause we need to talk about him. In The Selection, there are a few minor villains. Celeste is your Mean Girl™ who you love because she’s an icon, she's a legend, and she is the moment. Then you have the rebel groups, one being more deadly than the other. You don’t get to know either too well, but you know they’re a problem. Cut to The Elite and we get to properly meet King Clarkson. The biggest piece of shit to exist in this world. This fucker is abusive, both physically and mentally, and rules the country with an iron fist. As I’ve said, he wants most of the country to be poor, uneducated, and fearful; he’s the absolute worst! A truly terrifying villain who you can hate. Clarkson is a villain with no redeeming qualities. He ain’t morally gray. He doesn’t have a sympathetic backstory. No reader is out there is rooting for him. He’s a villain through and through. 

 

Damn, The Selection series is still holding up for me. I know every word of this story, every beat of every book, yet it still gets me. I’m still watching America fall in love for the first time. Still watching her grapple with falling in love with a prince but not wanting the crown and trying to move on from her first love but realizing she needs this man in her life. The darker aspects, like the politics, are aspects I forgot about, but I think rereading this series as an adult has given me a bigger appreciation of them. This series still holds up!

 

With that, I shall bid you all adieu. I will see you next week with something fun before I return to the world of Illéa once again. You heard it here first, The One review coming soon!

 

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.


Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!

 

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