(2016) by Kiera Cass is the fifth and final book in the #1 NYT Bestselling Selection series. After her mother suffers a heart attack, Eadlyn Schreave, princess of a futuristic U.S. monarchy, has narrowed her suitors down to the six “Elite”. She must step in as regent while her mother recovers her health, although the people of Illéa still view Eadlyn coldly and doubt her ability to lead.
While an easy read to breeze away an afternoon, the writing became stilted by clichéd dialogue, excess explanation (telling vs. showing), and flatness on the part of the Elite’s characters. In a palace of six male suitors, the plot carried much potential for each boy to shine and explore challenges between Eadlyn and each other; however, as it was, I had trouble telling the difference between the suitors. Each boy was simplistically nice and deferential, with hardly a distinguishing feature. They were given nothing to say apart from lines like, “I’m here for you,” and “Let me know if you need anything.” The only one who stood out was the foreign one, but even then, his translator took center stage.
There was a lack of any real driving conflict in the book, other than Eadlyn’s vain fixation on the country’s opinion of her, as opposed to any desire or attempt to actually alleviate her subjects’ struggles. There was also too much focus on Eadlyn’s parents. America and Maxon had their three books; this final installment just felt like a rushed “where-are-they-now” recount of every character from the original trilogy. Personally, I wished the story would have focused more on the new characters and fresh material.
To say something positive: it is, as all of Cass’s books, an entertaining read. Tween and teen girls who simply want to slip into a comfy fantasy bubble-bath, where they can envision themselves as modern American royalty with gowns, tiaras and a Los Angeles palace won’t be disappointed. Three stars for dedication to completing a series, presentation and cover art, and a satisfying resolution in the third act. All things considered, I will continue to buy and read everything this author writes.