When I read the third book in the Selection series, I thought it was the end of the trilogy and series. I was wrong and the series continues twenty years later with the story of their daughter in much of the same addicting fashion as the first few books.
After everything that America Singer and Prince Maxson accomplished at the end of The One, things in Illea aren't perfect. They've eliminated the caste system, but the people are having trouble adjusting to the new way of life and the fact that their next ruler will be a woman. Eadlyn is the firstborn of four children and the future ruler, ready to do what needs to be done to prove that a woman is capable of leading the country. With the unrest of the people, the king and queen feel that a happy distraction is called for, so they create a new Selection for Eadlyn to find a spouse. Although she eventually goes along with it, she's an independent and stubborn woman who doesn't want to get married and doesn't believe in love. While she initially planned to push the guys away, slowly a number of them start to work their way into her heart, including Kile, the son of her mother's best friend whom she always thought was annoying, Henri from Swendway who doesn't even speak English and his translator Erik who seems to understand Eadlyn even though he's not even a contestant, but then there are the others who have her questioning what her grand plan is with this competition like Ean who is more than willing to her forever companion without demanding love. The Selection is not without its bumps, but if Eadlyn can stop being so scared, she might be able to find the same kind of love that brought her mother and father together during their Selection.
This is the second to last book in the series - there will supposedly only be five books. While it is helpful to have read the first three books, one can pick up this book and work their way through it without complete knowledge of the prior novels. While it has much of the charm of the first books with the whole teenage "Bachelorette" dating game, Eadlyn is a bit of a brat and unlikable. It has been a year since I read the first novels, but I felt like I could root for America and the other characters, whereas for most of the novel Eadlyn is annoying. She comes off as stuck-up, too good for their entire process because she doesn't want a man. She can do it all on her own. Then she starts to grow and you start to like her and in the next breath she's back to her old ways. It's nice to see her come around near the end and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out in the conclusion. Knowing there's only one book left, though, I wish the love connections were a bit stronger come the end of this book - that it was down to the final four so that we could see who really mattered to her. There's a lot going on that it's hard to think it will all get the right amount of attention in one book. Yes, there are the four or five who she keeps gravitating to, but I wish it was a little clearer who she was thinking about (the first three books had the clearly defined love triangle with America). The author has a plan, so who am I to really say anything. I know, though, who my top three are and it'll be interesting to see if that's the direction Eadlyn goes.
This novel succeeds like the previous three to pull the reader in. It creates a dating game scenario and then gives you unique contestants for you to root for as the main character grows and realizes that love does not make one weak. With the conflict of her heart on top of a country uprising, there's more than enough pull to bring the reader back for the hopefully stellar conclusion of this entrancing series.