After World War III, America (the country) decides to change its way of running things, so we go back to a monarchy. There are eight castes, with One being royalty and Eight being a beggar on the streets. The monarchy is headed by a King with a Queen at his side. Everything is normal until they need a new queen. Thirty-five girls compete against each other to marry Prince Maxon and become queen. This doesn't sound dangerous, but add in an army of country rebels and some good old-fashioned cat fights and the book gets interesting. America (a girl, not the country) is persuaded by her low caste family to join the competition. She reluctantly agrees, but only because her secret boyfriend Aspen breaks up with her.
Did you know that the best way to get over a break up is to hook up with the prince? At first America refuses to do anything with the prince, but she soon realizes that even though he is a prince and she is only a musician, they can fall in love. So sappy, right? But it turns out that Aspen isn't done messing with America's life. Will America crack under all of the pressure?
I will admit that at first the only reason I picked up this book was because of the cover. The dress is so pretty, but nowhere in the book do all of the girls wear the same dress as it implies on the cover. This made me angry; it was like the cover is lying to you.
Another thing that disappointed me was another YA love triangle. The rivalry between Aspen and Maxon is pretty pointless to me. If you were given a choice between a prince and a servant, who would you choose? I would choose the prince, but that is just me. Maxon isn't like the stereotypical prince who just cares about hunting and jousts. He truly cares about the girls who are competing, especially America. Also, Aspen seems pushy to me. He thought that he could do whatever he wanted and America would just run back to him. I think Aspen has a bigger ego than Maxon. I bet you can tell which side of this triangle I am on.
I have really been into the whole retelling of fairytales trend that is so popular right now. I really liked the plot of the story, especially because it was based off of The Princess and the Pea. The plot has enough variations to keep the story interesting. All of the stereotypes were included; the stubborn heroine, the snobby competitors, the friendly sidekick, and the dashing prince. Cass did an excellent job of staying true to her story and elegantly incorporating the traditional tale.
Even though I foresee a Edward vs. Jacob theme occurring, I will definitely read The Elite, the next book in the series.
This review and many others are posted on my blog, Crazy for YA