This is the story of the American State of China, what was once the United States but it got invaded by China at the beginning of the Third World War when they couldn't pay China back their debts. Then China set up a government there, creating the American State of China and using Americans as labor. Then the United States fought back and fought back not just against them but Russia, who had formed alliances with so many other countries that caused economic devastation. Now, people are determined their general wealth by their number. One is the best, Eight is the worst. Infact, Eight is practically nothing at all. Our main character, America Singer, is a Five, who doesn't make much money singing and performing with her instruments but she and her family manage. Then one day, she is chosen to take part in The Selection; a royal competition where thirty-five girls total compete for the heart of Prince Maxon to become the new queen. The thing is; America doesn't want royalty. But when she gets closer to Maxon, a strange spirit is in between them.
Now, I have to say, the best thing about this book is the writing style. Keira Cass really understands teen poetry and uses big words but like Amy Tintera's Reboot series, doesn't say anything too complicated or tedious, and before you know it, you'll have ten chapters read already. But this book does not have much action; basically, if this book was five-hundred pages like Tiger's Curse, I'd have hated it, but it ends before it can get really boring and leaves a lot of unfinished work in the mix so you'll just have to read the next few books to find out while not being scared to do so. And while this is technically not criticism of the book, this is a series of four and from what I read, that seems to be appropriate; it gives Keira Cass a lot of space to tell a complete story unlike the Ruby Red or Shatter Me trilogies. And I really enjoyed being with America and found the relationship she develops with Maxon fascinating; slow but somehow human, which I think explains how Keira Cass kissed about fourteen boys in her life and she knows this kind of thing. A love triangle also begins and dang! Just like Shatter Me, it's a love triangle that doesn't have an obvious conclusion.
Now, the fact that there are thirty-five girls makes the book sometimes cluttered with names. It almost seemed like Cass knew thirty-five girls personally and put them in the book but didn't have the room to talk about all of them and therefore leaving it feeling a little, well, what did I just describe it as? Just like The 5th Wave, it takes a while to narrow down and understand and learn about the important characters, but the characters we do get to understand are awesome. I especially love Marlee. She's almost too perfect. And Celeste is so fun to disagree with and loathe, and America's maids have some nice development. Keira Cass has also set up an interesting world, sorting poverty rates into numbers. I'm a little worried about the future of these books because each of them has America in a different dress so I don't think the series will go outside the palace too much but for THIS first instalment, I enjoyed myself and I devoured it.