Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass

This book contains two novellas that accompany Cass's Selection series. The two stories offer up the same situations that happen in the original novels, but from a different point of view. 

The first novella, The Prince, takes place before the series begins, although the last few chapters overlapping the beginning of the first book in the series. This book is from Prince Maxon's point of view as he prepares for the Selection. You meet Daphne, who is mentioned in one of the later books, as the first girl who had been in his life, and you see his true feelings and fears as he embarks on this journey to find a wife. Then you witness his first reaction to meeting America who is nothing like he expected.

The second novella, The Guard, is from Aspen's point of view and overlaps the second book. It shows his struggle to do his duty and keep up with his feelings for America in response to what happened to Marlee and a fellow guard, as well as her conflicted feelings for the prince. It doesn't help his situation that the rebel attacks are increasing and there's only so much he can do to keep the woman he loves safe.

Both novellas do a nice job of showing the other side of the drama. Since it does take scenes from the original novels, it can feel repetitive and it would have been nice to see more beyond the book. Since it is just a novella, though, neither story is exceptionally long. These are really just a snapshot of what else is happening in this world. A longer book would have given more opportunity for depth and further exploration of these characters' worlds. 

On top of the novellas, The Selection Stories includes a number of bonus items. There is a Q&A with the author that not only delves into the writing of the novels, but further details about how she imagines the characters' lives. There's a list of all of the girls in the Selection and a description of the castes. Then there are the family trees and family histories for America, Aspen, and Maxon. The bonus content ends with "The Official Playlist" for books One and Two of the series. These playlists offer a popular song, a lyric from the song, and scene from the book that relates to the song. It's an interesting and unique way to look at the books. All of the bonus content is worth exploring as it delves deeper into these really enjoyable novels.

For fans of the series, these are a nice treat to keep the story alive. Two more novellas are coming out (The Queen and The Favorite) and a fourth book is planned for next year.

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