Book: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Summary: The time has come for one winner to be crowned. When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown - or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose - and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. - HarperTeen, 2014
This is the end of the series - at least, with the Maxon and America timeline. It was a satisfying ending in most respects. The plots were both tied up in cohesive, believable ways and nothing was left out.
As always, spoilers will be kept to a minimum.
Cass doesn’t waste any time jumping right into the action after the end of The Elite. Once again, I would not recommend picking this up without any back story behind you. She does maintain a good balance between the main event (the Selection) and the side event (the rebellion). While her focus is primarily on the Selection - because that’s what the books are about - she doesn’t let the rebellion plot get out of control or make it seem like a waste of time.
The reasons behind the rebellion are Hunger Games-eqsue in nature, but what do you expect in a post-apocalyptic world story? Plus, it’s still a trend to have the main girl be the symbol/figurehead of the rebellion (because teen years = rebellion years) and America does fall into this trope. She’s not like Katniss and she doesn’t drop the Selection in order to fight for the cause, but she does become a favorite of the rebels because, well, she’s a mover and a shaker by nature. It’s slightly annoying, but, that’s what you paid for and it’s not a side of her character that completely dominates the book, so you can forgive Cass on this point.
The whole love triangle falls apart pretty fast - it soon becomes America trying to figure out if she can love every aspect of Maxon - in spite of what he may or may not have done with the other girls - and, more importantly, figuring out whether or not Maxon will actually choose America. It’s not all doom and gloom - there are some bright, happy moments. There are, however, very heavy, angst-filled moments too. Cass keeps you dangling, wondering whether or not America and Maxon really will end up together. The love scenes between them are either really adorable or very heavily charged emotionally.
My only complaint is the last major hurdle in their relationship - the revelation that Aspen and America know each other and have been having a kinda/sorta “affair” behind Maxon’s back. I’m fine with spoiling this (won’t say how) since we all knew it was going to happen. There was no way in hell it wouldn’t have happened.
My problem with it comes in two parts - when it occurred and how it was resolved. I can’t spoil anything past this point, but if you read the book, you’ll know what I mean. I feel like the placement of this hurdle was not that well timed. I also did not like the way Cass chose to have them resolve the problem. It feels forced: like it was a last ditch effort to the ending she had wanted/planned. I didn’t find it very believable and it bothers me whenever I think about it. In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter that much since everything else was perfectly fine.
Overall, it was a good ending to a nice guilty pleasure series. I’m looking forward to reading The Heir and other novellas that come out.
I give The One an A-.
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