Saturday, 4 June 2016

"The Crown" (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection, #5)The Crown by Kiera Cass
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Ah, The Selection. I have such mixed feelings about this entire series - seriously, I have reviews ranging between 2 and 5 stars for each of the individual books. Reading the ending to any series is bittersweet, and 'The Crown' was no exception. I think this book really solidified The Selection series in my mind as the indulgent reality TV show of the book world - you know it's bad for you, you know you shouldn't be reading it, but somehow you end up binge reading the whole series anyway.

My biggest problem with 'The Crown' was that there was nothing new - and I don't mean that I'd read a similar story by a different author, I mean that it basically followed the exact same plot line as the first three Selection books. An external threat to the crown? Check. A love triangle that has an obvious ending? Check. Last minute switch around of love interests? You better check it! Anyone who enjoyed America and Maxon's series will adore Eadlyn's... because it is exactly. The. Same.

If you read my review of 'The Heir', you will know that I loved Eadlyn - I thought she was a much stronger and more interesting protagonist than America. Part of what made me love Eadlyn was that she prioritised her career over romance, as so few YA protagonists seem to do so. In 'The Crown', she basically turns into a simpering schoolgirl, which seemed entirely out of character for her. Since the supporting characters in Eadlyn's time are nowhere near as intriguing as those in America's time, there is nobody to distract you from her sudden onset of blandness. If you cannot tell, I am very disappointed with this ending (I know, I am far too subtle).

However, I cannot say that I hated the whole book. 'The Crown' definitely had it's moments. I enjoyed the feminist critique that was scattered throughout the story:

"Don't you think you're being too emotional about this?"
I stood, my chair screeching behind me as I moved. "I'm going to assume that you aren't implying by that statement that I'm actually being too
female about this. Because, yes, I am emotional... My mother is in a bed with tubes down her throat, my twin is now on a different continent, and my father is holding himself together by a thread... I have two younger brothers to keep calm in the wake of all this, a country to run, and six boys downstairs waiting for me to offer one of them my hand... So, yes. I am emotional right now. Anyone with a soul would be."

I also really loved the commentary on the ethics of absolute vs. constitutional monarchies, as most fantasy novels never question the almighty power of their royals.

I was responsible for them. But how could I be? How could one person make sure each and every soul had every chance they could, everything they needed?

As you can see, what I really loved about this novel was it's political undertones. If the plot and characterisation had been as apposite as the ethical and moral components, 'The Crown' could have been a significantly better ending to such an iconic YA series.

Overall, this was an average ending to a rather inconsistent series. I would recommend it to anyone who has already read the other Selection novels - but the last installment in this saga is not spectacular enough to make me recommend the entire series. The books are short enough for a rainy day binge read, though - something I think this series is perfect for!