Series: The Selection #3
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 6th 2014
REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS.
Ever since I picked up The Selection on January 1st 2013 I've been completely in love with this series and I honestly can't believe that it's over now. When I finally got my copy of The One I honestly dropped everything else I was reading/doing and just started reading it. I'd been dying to get my hands on it for so long that I just couldn't wait any longer. As soon as I started I was pulled back into Illea and the whole Selection world, and it definitely kicked off with a bang.
America's journey through the Selection process is one that I've loved seeing. She's grown from a naive young woman into someone who deserves to wear the crown. She still has her moments where she can be naive, indecisive and slightly annoying, but I love that she isn't perfect and it's the main thing that makes me love her character. I also love her determined and passionate she is about helping the lower castes and making everyone equal. She really starts to enforce this in The One and I couldn't wait to see whether she was going to be able to do it or not. America also discovered a lot more about her father after his death (which was heartbreaking), and she starts to piece everything together when she finds out he was one of the Northern rebels. She begins to understand her father a lot more and I feel like it brought her closer to him even though he was gone.
Prince Maxon has always been my favourite of the two guys in America's life. Maxon is such a sweetheart, but he's not perfect either. Maxon has whittled the girls down to the last few and is still finding it hard to choose because he has no idea how America feels about him. So, of course, that obviously gives him reason enough to go around kissing every single other girl left. Not OK, Maxon. Even though he may have feelings for the other girls, he doesn't care about them as much as he cares about America so he was kind of using them and I did want to kick him for that. But Maxon is such a sweet, caring, thoughtful and intelligent character and I loved seeing his character grow in this book. He's learned so much since the Selection started and it's changed him into a better person with a much greater knowledge of his country.
Although Aspen has bugged the hell out of me during the previous two books and I've wanted him to disappear to some far off land and never return, I actually started to like Aspen in The One. Maybe it was because I sensed very close to the beginning of the book that things were definitely over between him and America (even though it took forever for it to be clarified) and I could finally allow myself to like him because he wasn't ruining my ship. Aspen is such a caring and protective character. He continues to look out for America even when it's clear that she loves Maxon instead of him and I just think that shows a lot about his character.
I'm not going to lie, the will-they-won't-they relationship between Maxon and America was the main thing that kept me reading this series. I'm a complete sucker for a great romance story and Kiera Cass definitely had a winner with those two. Obviously their relationship wasn't going to be straight-forward because both of them still had a lot to work out and a bit more growing up to do. They both needed to reach that point in their lives where they weren't scared anymore and could finally admit their feelings about each other and feel comfortable about it. Their journey through The One had me laughing, crying and almost tearing my hair out in frustration because I just needed them to be together so badly and I didn't know what I'd do if they didn't. But thankfully Kiera Cass wasn't cruel and Maxon and America finally figured all of their shit out and admitted that they loved each other and I just squealed and hugged my book.
Not only did I finally find out who America ended up with, I finally got to find out what the rebels were after and why! So it turns out that there is a major difference between what the Southern and the Northern rebels want. The Southern rebels want to kill everyone in power and rule Illea themselves and make everything 10 times worse than it already is. Whereas the Southern rebels want to break down the caste system and back Prince Maxon (because they know he's a decent guy). The Northern rebels have never killed to get into the palace, but the Southern rebels have. I loved finally getting an insight in to the rebels and what they were doing and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. They added a hell of a lot to the story and the plot and I couldn't wait to see whether they would get what they always wanted.
The other thing that I really loved about this book was the other girls in the Selection. Celeste, Kriss & Elise have been a big part of this series because they've been there from the beginning. I've gotten to know these girls but I didn't really know them until this book. I made a split second judgement of Celeste in the previous books because of how she acted, but there's so much more to her character. I adored getting to hear her background and get to know more about her and I loved that she and America became really close friends. I thought that Kriss was genuinely America's only competition in the Selection and I was tearing my hair out thinking that Maxon would pick her. She does really care for Maxon, but she also has other motives. Elise really only wanted to marry Maxon to honour her family, but she's such a lovely person. All three of them were amazing in the end.
The ending was a major shock ending. Honestly, I didn't realise what was happening until America did and then when I did I was gripping my book so hard trying to take in everything that was happening. When Celeste was shot I actually had tears in my eyes. Even though she hadn't been on my good side for very long, she'd managed to work her way up to one of my favourite characters very quickly and I was devastated that she was gone. And when Aspen was dragging America away from Maxon my heart felt like it was breaking because I just wanted him to be OK but I didn't know if he would be. Finding out that Queen Amberly had been killed was the biggest hit for me. I couldn't believe that such an amazing character had sacrificed herself to save her husband (who ended up dead anyways), but it just goes to show how much she cared for Maxon's father even though he could be a horrible person. I just wish she had been able to see Maxon and America finally get together.
Maxon and America's wedding was such a sweet and bittersweet moment. I'd been waiting for this moment since they first met in The Selection and I had a stupid grin on my face and tears in my eyes. But it was bittersweet because two of the characters I'd grown to love never got to witness it: Celeste and Queen Amberly. Both of these characters should have been there to witness that moment and it slightly broke my heart that they weren't.
The Selection trilogy is now one of my all-time favourite trilogies. I was dreading the moment where I would have to say goodbye to these characters, but it was such a satisfying ending and definitely the way I wanted things to go (minus the deaths though). The One is undeniably my favourite of the trilogy and I just want to say a massive thank you to Kiera Cass for writing such an incredible trilogy full of amazing characters that I've loved following right from the beginning. I'll always treasure this series and I know it's one I'll revisit over and over again.