“This isn’t happily every after. It’s so much more than that”
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.
2 / 5
The One is the best of The Selection trilogy. There’s more action and rebels, and though the ending was a bit too fairy-tale, I did like it. However, there’s still that pesky love triangle hanging around and the moment I put the book down, I could recall absolutely nothing that happened in the middle of the book.
“Bravery hides in amazing places”
We pick back up with the Selection process only having four girls left: America, Celeste, Elise, and Kriss. America has angered the King and the public with her “demolish the castes speech” and is still hiding her on-and-off again relationship with Aspen from Maxon. The plot of The One is, roughly and without spoilers: rebels, tea parties, more America whinging, America’s family, and Maxon’s choice of wife. It’s all fairly predictable stuff.
What did I like? Whilst there’s still a lot of “does Maxon love me?” wailing from America, there’s less of it and so America annoyed me less than in The Elite. Then Celeste became a lot more likeable and the four girls actually had some nice bonding scenes together. Mostly I liked the increased role and presence of the rebel groups beyond a few attacks on the palace; Cass manages to weave in some considerations on what overthrowing the monarchy would do and ideas about the best ways to create change.
“I’ll love you until my very last breath”
What I didn’t like was that the whole rebel plot was wrapped up in a way that wasn’t particularly satisfactory, punted aside in favour of the love plot. The ending, whilst quite sweet, was rather weird and left a lot of loose ends floating around and I had a lot of questions. The One still felt entirely vapid and wafted between ridiculous love story that I was barely invested in, and a poor and half-hearted attempted at serious social commentary which only seems to exist to further America’s character as the “thoughtful, wild-fire poor girl”.
Overall, The One is the best of the three books. There’s more fights and action and less love-triangle with a slightly more mature America, Maxon, and Aspen. The ending is pretty weird.