Thirty five girls are given the chance of a lifetime, a chance to improve their life and that of their family. America is probably the only girl in all of Illéa that does not want a chance to wed the Crown Prince, she has found her love in Asher a boy that belongs to Caste 6. That is the problem though he is in a caste below her and that can cause problems for them when they decide to wed. Asher knows what a chance of being part of the selection would mean for America and her family so she encourages her to submit her name. When America is selected among the thousands she is forced to leave everything she knows and enter into a competition where up for grabs is a chance to be a princess, which means fierce competition. America did not know what it meant to be in the palace and to live that life, there may be luxury but also fear as there are rebel attacks where some become deadly. She doesn’t know if she wants to stay, but then she meets Prince Maxom and all her well laid plans seem to change.
This book was recommended to me by a friend, she told me not read what it was about beforehand and just give it a try which I thought sounded a little bit fishy. When I saw the cover I knew I would never have picked this book up, as it looked way too romancey based for me, but I still decided to give it a try. I will not lie, I got sucked into America's (is the main character's name, not the country) story I wanted to see how it played out and I was intrigued in about the different caste system that Cass introduced the reader to as well as the rebels fighting against the palace. For me this was a good read as it was an easy one and was able to keep me entertained and I needed something like this after the most recent books that I have read.
I don’t know if i'm alone here, but I am not a biggest fan of her name, America, it did not bother me that much when I was reading the book, maybe because she was mainly referred to as lady America in the book but each time I write it in this review, the name is starting to bother me. Besides the name, I liked America as a main character, I liked that she was not afraid to question the Prince and those around her, would fight for her friends, caste and those in the caste around her. Does she have some silly girl teenage moments in the book, sure, but this is a YA read for a reason, so I cannot hold that against her. Personally, I'm actually surprised at how mature America ended up at the end of this book and the decision that she made.
I found that the world building was lacking a little bit in this book and Cass does try to make up for this by have the selected go through a history of the realm class in order to fill this void. I also wanted more information about the North and South rebels why they are fighting against the palace and the rule, and really what they want. I think this may be addressed in the next novels as it seems to be information that Maxom is trying to gather, but I think not knowing what they are fighting for does hinder the story. I wish there was a little more action with the scenes with the rebels instead of them happening more on the peripheral. Personally I could see America fighting them off and putting herself in danger to save others as she does flaunt convention many times in the book. I would have liked this type of twist or threat of danger in the book. I hope that Cass is just starting to build the interactions with the rebels and how dangerous they are and there will be more interaction with them in the future books.
I'm never a fan of a love triangle in a book, it doesn't matter on the genre or whether the book is written for a YA audience or an adult one, I have never been a fan of them. In this book you have the poor boy from America's home town, Asher, who she has two years of history with up against The Crown Prince, Maxom, who well is a Prince (see above about many little girls’ dreams, lol).
I guess you can say that I am surprised first that I finished this book and second that I kind of enjoyed it. I'm sure I will continue on in this series as I did enjoy the easiness of the read that this book presented me with but I think it will be awhile before I need this type of a break again, but it is always nice to have book likes these to read. For me this was the right read at the right time, but those who enjoy this type of read on a normal basis I’m sure will enjoy this book.
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