Cover Lust: *Swoon!* Love, love, LOVE, the cover art for the Selection novellas! No princess dresses here, but the sparkly purple mirror background is stunning (is the purple signifying the color of royalty?). And of course, the to-die-for tiara. Simple, regal, and elegant.
Description: Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection….Before Aspen broke America’s heart…There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…
The Book: The Prince (#0.5) consists of six short chapters that give us a glimpse of Prince Maxon’s life personal life before the Selection. We also get to better know King Clarkson and Queen Amberly.
The Plot: The palace is excited to celebrate Maxon’s 19th birthday. He is coming of age for his Selection, but he is not so excited. He hates faking social niceties to people who don’t really care about him. The only person he wants to see is Daphne, the Princess of France. She is Maxon’s closest friend, but at best he only sees her three or four times a year. They rarely talk but she seems to be the only one who really gets him, who really cares for him. She is the only person Maxon knows who suffers from the chains of royalty as he does.
(SPOILER ALERT) Surprisingly, Daphne confesses her love for Maxon. He realizes he does care for her, but knows it can never be because of their royal standings. Maxon belongs to the people, and the people demand the long-standing tradition of royals marrying commoners and bringing hope to his country. Like a fool, Maxon disregards both of their feelings, not even considering the chance of him and Daphne choosing a love that is their own. He worries that he really doesn’t know what love is. There it was, right in front of him, and he never knew. How will he possibly find it in the Selection?
As we go behind the scenes of the Maxon’s life at the royal palace, we also learn some of the hidden details and secrets of the Selection. There is more to the Selection than it seems; it is not as random as most of Illéa thinks. King Clarkson reveals that he’s been planning the Selection for years. America was chosen for a reason, and now both her and Maxon’s lives are about to change forever.
- Maxon: Prince Maxon has only known a life of royal duties. As he puts it, he is a “slave to his crown.” His whole life, his parents have been trying to mold him into a king and a leader. He must be able to protect Illéa from the threat of the rebels as their attacks become more and more violent. Every aspect of his life is planned for him. His father expects only obedience and perfection from him. Maxon constantly questions and doubts himself, never feeling good enough. He has almost no privacy and finds solace in his sole hobby, photography, for which he has very little time for.
- King Clarkson: Your typical tyrant and abusive parent. He constantly bullies and pressures Maxon, always seeming disappointed in him. Clarkson is thoughtless and careless with other people’s feelings. He is harsh, judgmental, and perpetually angry. He grew up in palace, so he probably had parents who treated him similarly. He is only happy when Amberly is around.
- Queen Amberly: The epitome of all things good. She manages to maintain a balance among her family, work, and country. Poised, proper, and polite, she is always positive. Amberly is motherly, empathetic, loving, and gracious. She always deflects compliments onto others and understands Maxon’s insecurities. Like most of the country, Maxon adores her.
- Daphne: We only meet Daphne briefly, but she is sad, lonely, and afraid. She is desperate to escape her fate, but we may never know what
happens to her, considering Maxon’s reactions. Hopefully she comes to terms with her destiny and is able to find happiness.
What’s Next: After reading The Selection (#1) and The Prince (#0.5), I am totally Team Maxon. He’s gorgeous, generous, and just the right amount of insecure. It’s obvious he’s falling for America, and she deserves someone who would treat her like a princess, literally. She’s such a good person, always putting the needs of others before her own. Castes mean nothing to her, as they shouldn’t to a normal human being. And Aspen…he dug his own grave. Any guy that would hurt America like he did isn’t worth giving the time of day. I really hope she does exactly what she says she is doing, and CHOOSES HERSELF.
The Prince (#0.5) is a quick read, only about 60 pages. It gives you an idea about how Maxon feels about the Selection. But what he feels doesn’t matter. We’ll find out more in the next book, The Elite (#2), and more about our beloved Queen Amberly in another prequel, The Queen (#0.4).
What did you think of The Prince? Are you Team Maxon or Team Aspen? Sound off in the comments below!