Cover Lust: This cover is so breathtaking that it is physically impossible to look at without swooning. Eadlyn (portrayed by Stacey Farnet) stuns in a magnificent gray ball gown in front of a snowy mirrored backdrop. Perhaps what is most magical about this cover is not it’s aesthetic beauty, but it’s reflection (pun intended) of Eadlyn’s character. Her pose tells you that, like America, she is fiercely indignant toward the Selection process. She is clutching her tiara rather than wearing it, suggesting ambivalence towards the crown and its slavery. Either way you look at it, this cover pulls you in and blissfully throws you back into the romantic and exciting world of The Selection.
If you were lucky enough to score a Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition, then the swoon doesn’t end with the drop-dead gorgeous cover. This edition includes exclusive photos of Princess Eadlyn and Queen America on the endpapers, and also a bonus scene featuring Kile and Fox, two of the Selected. Thank you Kiera Cass and HarperTeen!
Back Blurb: Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon–-and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection–-no matter how fervently she protests.
Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her…and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.
I am Eadlyn Schreave, and nobody is as powerful as me.
Yes, Eadlyn, that is true, but nobody is also is bitchy as you.
Our new heroine, Princess Eadlyn Schreave, is spoiled, entitled, and downright snotty. She is definitely NOT America. She is her mother’s daughter in the fact that she is so defiant, but America and Maxon have created a monster. She has grown up having everyone cater to her every whim and basically being told that everyone is beneath her. This is true, in a way, considering her royal status, but it has turned her into a Royal Pain in the Ass. She is not the girl we were expecting, and that is what I love about her.
America, however, has sadly become her mother. She has guilted Eadlyn into holding her own Selection just as her mother guilted her into entering. It is obvious that America loves Eadlyn and her sons dearly, but the weight of the crown and its expectations have taken a toll on her. She is overwhelmed and exhausted. America wants nothing but the best for her children, but knows that ultimately she must sacrifice some of their happiness in order to fulfill the roles for which they have been created, particularly Eadlyn. She struggles with being a mother and queen, finding a balance between obligations to her family and her country. Maxon, on the other hand, was born into royalty and has managed to maintain this equilibrium. He is a good father–loving, wise, hard-working, and always has a kind word to say. He is the same Maxon we fell in love with in the previous books, except for forcing Eadlyn into the one thing she never wanted.
America and Maxon convince Eadlyn to have a Selection, which is nothing more than a political trap to feign patriotism and allegiance toward the crown. Eadlyn has always known a queen must have a partner and produce an heir, but she never expected to be presented in an archaic tradition as a prize. It may have worked out for her parents, but she is not America or Maxon. She is Eadlyn, but who is Eadlyn? She doesn’t really know, other than a girl who is one half of a set of twins and who exists solely to continue the royal line. She is private and stubborn, refusing to let anyone in besides her family. Eadlyn is furious at her parents and vows to make the Selection as painful as possible for all its participants. She is determined to walk out of the Selection without a proposal, but with a big middle finger aimed at her parents. How dare they defy her! She is the future queen, after all.
Eadlyn is intimidating, insufferable, and judgmental. She is adamant on being even more so in order to scare off all of the Selected. She is interested in boys, but has no time for dating. She’s never had real friends or playmates outside the palace doors, and the few that she has, she detests. At eighteen, she feels too young to be forced into a marriage that will do nothing more than reinforce alliances with her people. It will not bring her love. She doesn’t want love. Love will only expose her weaknesses, and she must never let her guard down. She must always be in control.
Eadlyn agrees to have some individual dates with the Selected, who are actually a quite impressive group of eligible young men. Eventually she lets her guard down, and it terrifies her. Nothing scares her more than showing her vulnerability. She is a good actress, as she was raised to be on television and in the public eye. The only person she shows her insecurities to is Ahren. He is a good brother, as are Osten and Kaden, but they have the unique relationship of twins. Eadlyn loves Ahren more than anyone, and part of the reason she is so afraid of dating is because she is afraid of losing Ahren. He has already declared his love for Camille, the future queen of France, and Eadlyn knows eventually he will leave her. If she finds a partner before he leaves, she may lose the close relationship she has with her twin. She acts like she is fiercely independent, but in reality she is completely codependent on Ahren, and it’s very unhealthy.
While this Selection and its events are quite different from Maxon and America’s, it is enjoyable in a different way. Kiera had the guts to create an unlikable character, and that in itself makes this story very interesting. It is a realistic unlikability, considering how Eadlyn must feel. Think Duchess Kate or children of presidents. They must act and present themselves a certain way at all times because they are in the public eye. Any wrong move and it will come back not only to haunt them, but their family and their country. Poor Eadlyn never asked for this kind of responsibility or pressure. The world inside the palace really does revolve around her, so you can’t blame her for feeling so entitled. Fortunately, as she slowly lets the wall she’s built around her crumble, she shows some serious growth. She learns that while she holds a large weight on her shoulders, there are plenty of things beneath that weight that keep her afloat. She just needs to learn a little humility and accept that she does not have to be perfect; she just needs to be Eadlyn.
The story is full of Eadlyn’s dramatics, comedic boys, romance, and a typical jaw-dropping ending. Did that seriously just happen? Of course it did. It’s Kiera Cass, the queen of YA romance and heartbreak. All you can think is OH NO SHE DIDN’T. But she did. AGAIN. And she gave us a double whammy this time. If you know who dies, a part of me will too. As usual, we will have to wait an ENTIRE YEAR to find out what happens.
In the end, the Selected who seem like final contenders are Henri, Fox, Ean, Hale, Kile, and Erik. Even though Erik technically isn’t part of the Selection, it’s obvious that Eadlyn feels something for him. While I like something about each of them, I think it’s going to come down to Hale and Kile.
- Hale: What’s most attractive about Hale is his confidence and his eye for fashion. It’s a passion that he and Eadlyn both share, however Eadlyn is reluctant to show him that part of her. It’s a secret hobby for her and since she values her solitude so much, I don’t see them bonding over their love of fabric and designs. Fashion seems to be the only thing Eadlyn truly has that’s her own, and sharing that with a lover may be too much for her. Hale really seems to like her and wants nothing more than impress her. He’s made it clear that he will do anything for her, and has touched her heart on several occasions, but Eadlyn is a tough shell to crack. He’s going to have to seriously step up his game if he wants to win her heart, because she’s afraid of giving it to anyone.
- Kile: The sweetest (and most predictable) thing about Kile is the whole childhood friends-turned-lovers thing. Kile and Eadlyn despised each other; he didn’t want to be a part of the Selection. He feels trapped by the palace and wants to travel and study architecture. This dream is similar to Eadlyn’s interest in fashion design and her desire to run from the crown. It’s also faintly reminiscent of America’s not wanting to be in Selection. I think Eadlyn chose to get close to him because he’s known her whole life and is most comfortable around him. She doesn’t treat him very well, more like a toy doll, but it’s obvious that they are attracted to each other. Could they possibly fall in love and both get what they want? Kile wants to leave, as does Eadlyn. If she chose a husband who didn’t want to be a prince, could they make a mutual decision when she ascends to give up the crowns? The public doesn’t like Eadlyn and wants to dissolve the monarchy. Could they manage to do that and create a democracy? They could appoint Lady Brice to be in charge and give the public the right to choose their officials. Eadlyn could make history. She and Kile could both make better changes for Illéa by giving the people the right to choose who governs them, and give themselves both what they want most–freedom.
Hale may be charming, but ultimately physical attraction must accompany emotional attraction in any relationship. Eadlyn and Kile are like two magnets desperately trying to turn their opposing poles toward each other, sort of like the always-fighting lovebirds America and Maxon. But most of all, Kile still isn’t even sure he wants Eadlyn. It would do Eadlyn some good to, for once in her life, work and fight for something that she wants. She’s got a lot of wrongs to undo before Kile will offer his heart to her, and also to admit to herself that she might want it.
Conclusion: I’m Team Kile. Actually, I think I’m Team Eadlyn. I want her to choose not WHO but WHAT she wants. She’s never had the freedom to do so. If she does choose that she wants a husband, I hope it’s Kile. They obviously want each other and it would be a perfect fairytale ending. But we all know that Kiera Cass likes to shock us, so we’ll have to wait until May 2016 to hear the end of Eadlyn’s story. Long live the Schreaves!
Are you Team Kile or Team Hale? Sound off in the comments below!