I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
I just finished reading The One. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, but it did exceed my expectations in just how bad it was.
The funny thing is, that this series is such a success. Which makes me wonder why. Besides the very, very, pretty covers and effective marketing campaign that Harper Teen has done, this series is a total bomb. So, I thought as I’d use my review of The One to explore why this series is so popular. Note, there will be some spoilers in this review though I’ll try to be vague.
1) The Cover: I mentioned it already. But I think with The One they finally got these covers down. The model isn’t smelling her armpit and her hair actually isn’t illy styled or clashes with her gown. It is truly a gorgeous cover and if you take the Gloria Epstein route of buying books that’s why you bought this one. It probably also helps that Harper wants to exploit these pretty dresses by putting them in a series of book trailers as well.
2) Promotion, ‘smotion: Dear lord, imagine if this series was actually half way decent how popular it would be. I have to say, despite her bad behavior Cass’s agent really knows how to make those publishing companies work. I have heard nothing but The One on the various book sites I visit and I’m like clicking the ad blocker because I don’t want to see the advertisements.
Okay, now for the actual contents of the book:
3) Princess Sell: Obviously. Disney has shown us this. But instead of taking a smart, modern, approach to princesses like Disney is now doing or like Meg Cabot did in the Princess Diaries series, Cass has regressed her version of princesses back into the Snow White days of Disney. Seriously, these girls do nothing in three books but sit and look pretty and stay in the woman’s room. And I should mention that we’re not even in the Edwardian period with no Matthew Crawley. And there’s no reason ever stated in the series why a woman’s role has regressed so much. My guess, Cass just wanted to have an excuse to put girls in fancy gowns all freaking day long.
4) This books has “good” values: Honestly, I sort of wanted to puke when I wrote this. But I can see some people actually liking the archaic, sexist values this book preaches. Once again, it seems like Cass has not grown tired of slut slamming. In fact, she has her sweet America dress in a short revealing dress in one of the first chapters of the book and it’s treated as if this is some funny evil sin. It really doesn’t work though. I mean, it’s just skin. I really don’t see what the big deal is. Just like I don’t see why someone would at like having an ex boyfriend was such a huge crime but I’m not Kiera Cass…
5) Romance Not Plot Sells: Seriously, I don’t know what the point was of even setting this in a dystopia world. It was obvious that Cass just wanted to write a princess romance. And you know what, if she would’ve done that. That would’ve been fine. But labeling something as a dystopia, well, you have a lot of work to do. These books involve complex world building that never really gets off the ground in Cass world. It’s kind of sad really. Especially with how all the problems are changed within one regime change.
Well, sort of it will take time…
Now, how many politicians have said that?
6) Happily Ever After: Again, this sort of goes back to the princess complex. But I thought it deserved it’s own category because of how ridiculously happy this ending was. Remember, Stephenie Meyer’s sickly sweet ending to Breaking Dawn that made no sense becuase you know realistically there should’ve been some sacrifice but all Twihards go to the designated Meyer defense (it’s fiction)? Well, the ending to this series is sort of like that but with a bit more blood shed (don’t worry no one important dies) and instead of the Jacob in the triangle making love to the MC and her one true love’s baby, he walks her down the aisle.
No, I’m not making this up.
7) Simplicity: Simplicity can be a good thing. But when you make your dialogue the equivalent of what an eight year old would be doing with Barbies…well.
Actually, Harper released some videos of Cass recapping the series with Barbies and the dialogue there isn’t humorous more like an actual regurgitation of the book.
8)Contradictions Keep Interesting: I’m not even going to go into how dumb and obvious some of these mistakes are. Except I only read the previous books once and I was able to notice multiple mistakes. For example, in The Elite there was this huge deal about holidays (such as Halloween) not being celebrated anymore. Yet, they were getting out the good old Christmas trees in this one.
9)Characters Who are Pretty: If you ask me anything about America, Aspen, or Maxon, the only thing I’m going to tell you is that they’re pretty. The same goes with any of the side characters. All of them are beautiful. Though the evil ones are faux beautiful but even most of the evil characters warm up to our sweet perfect most bootyful of all characters at the end or die. But I bet they died beautiful.
10) You Can’t Help Help But Watch the Train Wreck: This series is so awful that you couldnt’ help but want to finish it. I mean, I was hoping above all hopes that it would some how improve. But nope. The sad thing is that unlike other awful series like Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo trilogy of PC and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, this series doesn’t even have that much to snark about when it comes to its actual prose. As I said before its just simple and almost wooden.
Thank God it’s over. Though Cass is throwing out another novella for all you die hard fans. I really can’t say anything but good riddance Selection trilogy.