Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #5
Genre: Teen Fiction/Dystopian-ish
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
The Overview: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone. Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined. –Goodreads
As a whole, I’ve had a TON of fun reading this series. It has that magical “it” factor that made me love the awesome moments with unparalleled ferocity while conveniently ignoring its rather glaring shortcomings… up until The Crown, anyway. Despite my love/hate relationship with this final book, I am genuinely sad to see the saga come to an end.
Before picking up The Crown, I read a review from a fellow blogger who bluntly called the book “silly.” I found myself bristling immediately – how dare she call any part of my favorite series silly? I mean, it’s not perfect, but there are so many amazing moments that surely it deserves better than that!
And then I read The Crown, and… I agree. The book was a bit silly.
As with the first three Selection books, the brilliant bits came pretty loaded up front with each girl’s story. The Selection was easily the best of America’s stories, and The Heir was the best of Eadlyn’s. While The Heir focused primarily on the romance and Eadlyn’s relationship with the boys (which is the magic of the story), The Crown focused more on politics, world building, and broader conflicts – all elements I’ve never thought the author handled particularly well. The relationships and interpersonal interactions are what make her series so special, and I found myself constantly wishing for the focus to turn back to them throughout. It left me wanting. Hard.
I don’t usually rant in my reviews, preferring to be more professional and subjective, but I’m feeling sassy today, so here goes… Also: Spoiler Alert!
Before I dive into why I found the final book so eye-rolling, let’s have some boy talk! My vote was for Erik to win right from the start, mostly because the relationship was organic and unforced, but also because Kyle seemed too obvious a choice. So, needless to say I’m satisfied with that outcome, but did every other relationship have to get wrapped up so conveniently? Come on! Where’s the conflict? One of them was gay, one of them wanted to pursue other things, one of them was suddenly afraid to be king, and one of them bowed out nobly so his friend could have the girl – there seemed to be perfect little solutions for every relationship. Even in amped-up competitive relationships, that’s just not how things work. I mean, have you seen how many rejected people on the Bachelor bawl their eyes out on camera after being sent home? Rejection hurts, and in a competitive setting like the selection, people don’t usually volunteer to “lose.” I think the contestants’ exits could have been a bit more dramatic had the author made the relationships the primary focus of Eadlyn’s struggles. Instead, she focused on a conflict with a bogus wannabe king and her dreaded lack of positive public opinion (get over it already!). I think it’s clear that I feel The Crown focused on all the wrong things.
And maybe it would have been okay had those other things been done well…
I have such a hard time buying into a king and queen (specifically, America and Maxom, whom I thought I knew pretty well) being totally okay passing the weight of the kingdom onto an adolescent’s shoulders just so they don’t have to worry about it anymore. First of all, I never got the impression they were that irresponsible or selfish throughout America’s story. Second of all, that’s just not how things work. There’s no way the infrastructure of a royal house would allow for the royals to decide they just don’t want to do it anymore. It would garner way too much instability. I’ve heard of royals dying prematurely, by nefarious means or otherwise, but I’ve never heard of them quitting. Sigh… Cass’s world, Cass’s rules, I guess. It just didn’t scream well-thought-out to me. And don’t even get me started on the citizen “meetings”… ugh. And, to beat the horse to death, she didn’t have to fill the pages with all of those senseless conflicts if she’d just kept the focus on the romance. This is one of those books I’m rewriting in my head for sanity’s sake.
Anyway, it’s clear I’m a mixed bag of feelings with this last book, leaning more towards negative than positive. In all of the past books, I overlooked the things that could have been bothersome because I was enjoying all the other bits so much. In regards to The Crown, there just wasn’t enough magic to keep me occupied, so I got annoyed. The only reason for the somewhat decent rating is that I liked Eadlyn’s relationship with Erik. Overall, I will look back on this series with a mixture of adoration and frustration, but I just might try to forget how some things ended in The Crown.
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