Publication date: May 6th 2014
My rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
The time has come for one winner to be crowned.
When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown–or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose–and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.
It is not an exaggeration to say that The One was my most anticipated book of the year. I ate up the first two books like candy, and those of you who have read it know just how addicting this series is. I carved out an entire night (barely spoke to my husband) just to read it in one go. And let me tell you, it delivers on pretty much everything you want from it.
I know there are a ton of you out there who were like me, desperately awaiting this book, and some of you haven’t read it yet, so this will be a spoiler-free review and one that really focuses on my own reading experience.
First of all, I’ll say that for me, most of the book was quite predictable. Add up all of the pieces of what Cass has written before, and you kind of know where things are going to go. But this is definitely a book where the journey means more than the destination. Even though I knew what was going to happen, it was the little details that sucked me in.
Within those details, there were actually a decent number of surprises for me. A couple of characters got a bit of a turn-around. Some of them were a little contrived, and I suspected that they would happen, but what I liked was that none of those changes felt wrong for the characters and they were explained pretty fully. I liked that a lot.
I will give a very minor spoiler and say that one of the best and most unexpected parts of the book for me was how the relationships between the girls deepen. There are only four girls left and yes, they’re in competition, but they soon realize that they can also be friends. It was fantastic seeing them learn to grow together. I don’t want to give anything else away about that, but I promise, you guys will love that part of the book.
In my review of The Elite, I mentioned that I found America a little too whiny and dramatic. That doesn’t change in this book…but somehow, it totally worked this time, maybe because the stakes were higher, and I really felt the insanity of America and Maxon’s circumstances. It’s true that a ton of what they went through could have been avoided if they both hadn’t been so stubborn…but isn’t that always the way with romance?
The writing. This is the first time I’ve really noticed some of the phrasing being a little too simple for my liking. I wouldn’t say that the writing is sophisticated (I don’t even want to give examples, because SPOILERS), but in some ways, I think the simplicity of the writing makes the feels more direct. This is especially notable in Chapter 29, which contains some of the best writing Cass has ever done. I can’t say anything else other than that, but SWOON.
For me, the reading experience was just as absorbing as it was for the first two books – almost more so, because I’ve been thinking and dreaming about this book for so long. I am deeply impressed that Cass managed to deliver on so many of my hopes for this book. Ultimately, that’s all I was looking for in this book – a satisfying conclusion. The One delivers.
Idealism + Action: In The Elite, Maxon and America have quite a few ideas for how to change things and make life better in Illea. This time around, they put some of those ideas into action…and it’s marvelous. Those parts of the book were the ones that stayed with me the most.
The Lessening of Frocks: Don’t get me wrong – there’s still some frockalicious goodness in The One, but by the end, I was actually grateful that The One didn’t have so much emphasis on fashion…because there were actually more important things than that to be considered. It was also the perfect, subtle signal to show that America was feeling a lot more comfortable in her own skin, because she didn’t need to mention the fancy dresses so much.
Puddle-Inducing Romance: My heart was basically bursting by the end. That is all.
The Final Word:
The One, like the other two books in The Selection series, is a total guilty pleasure read – but it’s one that will leave you very, very satisfied. When you have a book that is this hyped, and that has such a young and rabid fanbase, it can be hard to deliver. I am so, SO glad that The One did deliver, and it left me with a giant grin and total warm fuzzies. This series is for anyone who loves romance and dreams of making the world a better place.
Have you read THE ONE yet? Will you be checking out The Selection series (you really, really should!)? Are you into lush, pretty-dress romances? How about awesome idealism? Let me know in the comments!