Tag Archives: love triangle

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass is the second book in The Selection series. Therefore, it goes without saying that MAJOR SPOILERS for The Selection, book 1 in the series, will be found in this review. I have not reviewed The Selection, and I read it too long ago to do a complete review now, but I will summarize it below. DO NOT read this review if you have not read The Selection!!

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The setting for this series is post-apocalyptic southwest United States, specifically Los Angeles. World War Four has passed, and a new system of government is in place, which includes a royal family and an inescapable caste system. America is a young woman whose family belongs to the artist caste, one of the lowest, and her talents lie in song and violin playing. America is randomly selected to participate in The Selection. During the Selection, a group of 35 eligible young women are invited to the royal palace and eventually one of them will be chosen to marry Prince Maxon and become the new queen. Initially, America does not want to be part of the Selection, wanting to stay with her childhood sweetheart Aspen (who also happens to be a caste below her). Eventually, America realizes Prince Maxon might not be so bad after all, and feels like she may have the opportunity to change things for the better if she stays part of the Selection.

 

In The Elite, America has made it to the final group of eight in the quest to win Prince Maxon’s love and become queen. After several weeks and plenty of inner conflict, America has found herself falling in love with Prince Maxon. Even though America’s former love Aspen has joined the palace guard to be close to America, she is still on the cusp of deciding to tell Maxon she loves him and is willing to become his queen. Mere moments after America makes the life-altering decision to stay with Maxon, and thinks to herself nothing could possibly change the way she feels, everything changes.

True confession time: there are few things I hate more than books, whether they be YA or adult, in which the plot is centered around a girl trying to decide between two near-perfect boys. The worst part of these stories is not just that the girl can’t make a decision and strings along two unsuspecting boys, but that the boys let her. Alright, so Maxon doesn’t know about Aspen–but he continually tells America she can have “more time” and he will wait for her because she is just so wonderful in every way. (*gags* – sorry but come on!) Aspen DOES know about the competition with Maxon, but rather than tell America he’s going to take his gorgeous looks and fabulous charm elsewhere, he also chooses to wait for her because, again, she is just soooooo amazing. This plot device doesn’t say much about the girls OR the boys in series like these.

Luckily, there is just enough “extra” in this series that I can tolerate the silly love triangle. In The Selection, the author teased us with information about the history of the world the characters are living in. The history of the caste system and how the US went from democracy to monarchy are what really interest me about this novel, and who are the North and South Rebels that keep being mentioned? We moved closer to the answers to these questions in The Elite, and the story became a bit more interesting. I have the impression the next novel, The One, will bring us more about the Rebels and the former rulers.

I give this novel 3 stars out of 5, and recommend it to fans of YA, dystopian literature that includes a slightly-sappy love story.

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Fish Out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson

fish out of water coverFish Out of Water is the final book in MaryJanice Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid trilogy. This review will contain spoilers for the first two books, Sleeping with the Fishes and Swimming Without a Net.

The mermaids are out of the closet, but Fredrika Bimm’s life has not gotten any easier. As the world only hybrid (half human, half mermaid) she is the official “go-between” for the surface dwellers and Undersea Folk. Now, instead of just her striking green hair making her stand out in a crowd, everyone recognizes her as “that mermaid on TV.” In case this was not a big enough problem, Fred also has to deal with her best friend planning his wedding to her boss, a proposal from Artur, prince of the Undersea Folk, her conflicting feelings for both Artur and fellow marine biologist Thomas, and her mysterious father showing up in town at the worst possible moment. So much for Fred’s wish for a normal life.

I liked Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid series. This is the first mermaid fantasy novel I have read, and since I was young and impressionable when Disney released the Little Mermaid, of course mermaids have always been a romantic topic for me (Oh, Prince Eric and your big shaggy dog, *dreamy sigh* haha). I liked Davidson’s “revealing themselves to the world” story for the mermaids, and I enjoyed her humorous writing style as well. I thought Fred was a great leading lady, even though her bitchiness was annoying sometimes (much like Betsy from Davidson’s Undead series, without the shoe obsession). I liked the stunningly handsome and formal Prince Artur and the nerdy Romance novelist and brilliant scientist Thomas. Jonas, the metrosexual best friend was a nice touch too. The love triangle between Fred, Artur, and Thomas did not take over the series, and it was hard for the reader to pick a favorite between those two. As you can see, characters can really make or break a novel for me. All these of these books were light, quick, and funny reads. They would be good beach reads, and not just because they will make you scan the horizon for fins.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

storm glass coverOpal Cowan is a young glassmaker and magician-in-training. She is in her fifth and final year at the Keep, where magicians train, and she is still being known as the One-Trick-Wonder, her only magical talent being the ability to make magical glass animals that allow other magicians to communicate over long distances. Then, due to Opal’s one gift, she is asked to help the Stormdancer Clan find out why their glass orbs that contain storms are shattering and killing magicians. Little does Opal know this seemingly short mission will drag her into a much larger conspiracy where Opal must learn to face past horrors, new magical powers, and the affection of a friend she has no feelings for, while dealing with her love for a stormdancer who barely acknowledges her existence.

I enjoyed Storm Glass, it was a light and entertaining read. I liked the world and was able to understand locations and get a general idea of magic worked in this world fairly quickly. Occasionally I thought it moved a little slowly, like when they were building the kiln in the Keep and finding helpers to keep it heated. I could have lived without that section. I liked Opal, she seemed strong to me, even when she was being indecisive. I guess I felt a bit of kinship with her, as people were always telling her she was too nice and too trusting, which is something I have heard said about me once or twice as well. I thought the two men involved in the “love triangle” were well-written as well. Ulrick, a fellow glassmaker with no magical power, was sweet and overprotective, with just a bit of a shadow around him that made the reader wonder if everything about him was as it seemed. Kade, a stormdancer, was fiery and had faith in Opal’s abilities almost from the start. Though he spurned Opal’s affections at first, I always got the impression those weren’t his true feelings for her. When I first read the approaching love triangle, I was worried it would become a focus of the plot. Other than Opal’s occasional conflicting thoughts, it really wasn’t, and I enjoyed that.

What I didn’t know when I started this novel was that Storm Glass is the first book in the Glass trilogy BUT the Glass trilogy is like a sequel to the Study trilogy. As I was reading Storm Glass, I kept feeling like I had missed a previous book, but Goodreads assured me Storm Glass was book one of the Glass trilogy. Eventually, I found Snyder’s website, and then everything made sense. I was a little bummed that I already know the ending of the Study trilogy, but I also want to read more about those characters, so I will go back and read it anyway before reading the sequel to Storm Glass.

This book was fun and a nice relief after the darkness of Days of Blood and Starlight. I’m looking forward to reading the other books by this author.

Happy reading,

-Branwen