Interlude? But we’re only 45% through! You just didn’t want me to write ‘erection’!
Anyway, all the other girls whimper and cry, but not Mer, because she’s the best! All she cares about is the safety of her maids! Anyway, Mer takes the opportunity to tell Maxon she only assaulted him because one of the show’s producers told her she had to put out for him no matter what, and she had thought he was going to ask her to do just that.
He tells her he wouldn’t and to make sure all the other girls know it too, and then tells her something about who might be attacking and it could be one of two groups of rebels, the Northerners or the Southerners. (imaginative!)
The Northerners attack more often, but the Southerners are more dangerous. Also, Maxon has a theory that the Northerners are looking for something, but no one listens to his theory and they assume that both sets of rebels just kind of don’t like them for no reason—always the case with La Resistance. That or they’re obsessed with Romeo and Juliet.
And then the attack is over and it’s back to gossiping. Oh, ‘The Selection’—never change!
Also we get the wangsty backstory of Lucy the maid, something I know I was missing from my life.
Mer amuses herself with servants gossip until Maxon drops by to suggest they try alternative methods of communication. He wants to develop sign language so Mer can tell him who the best picks are, and they agree on ear tugging as a sign to meet. I’m sure this is all integral to the plot.
Then they go on the Strictly show and have a good old fashioned boring interview.
Today Mer has remembered that Aspen guy, and wonders what he’s doing, which is more than the reader is. Maxon pops round for their chat, and wangsts about how hard it is to be a prince. Hmm, maybe he and Mer are perfect for each other. In return, she bores him with stories of Aspen and his dickishness and how her older brother’s a douche too, who doesn’t send the family any of his money.
So, is Mer ever going to get around to sussing out who should be Maxon’s queen?
Mer and Marlee talk about Marlee’s adorkable date with Maxon… lot of M’s in this book… and how they saw a movie and he burned the popcorn like a spaz. Mer now distrusts Maxon for not telling her all about his other dates, even though she wangsts so much during their conversations it’s a miracle Maxon got that one ‘it’s tough to be a prince’ line in the last chapter.
Then suddenly one of the other girls slaps the Dawn character in the face and gets sent home, so we’re down to 26.
Apparently the girls have to have history lessons while on Strictly, so we can exposit about the history that lead to the dictatorship of Strictly-land. It seems China was a loan shark that invaded America and took it over when they didn’t pay their debt, causing several European nations not only to align themselves with one another, but also to make alliances!
And there I was under the impression that those two kind of meant the same thing. Unless they mean the countries physically shifted locations so they’d be more parallel. I guess they envied America’s straight-line borders.
No one as much so, it seems, as Russia, who decided that this would be a good time to—you guessed it—take over the world! (Of course!) But the North American continent banded together under the leadership of Gregory Strictly, and fought them off.
(Okay, his name’s Illea, and the country’s called Illea too).
I’m sure knowing all that is going to be important somehow, but now it’s time for a photo shoot! Yay! Also some rebels attacked and some people died. Yay!
Then another girl is sacrificed to a plot hole, one moment she’s talking to Maxon, the next, without any kind of transition, the others are talking about how she was sent home. Celeste makes sure to be extra bitchy in her honour.
And finally Mer lectures Maxon on poverty and stuff and he practically bursts into tears upon learning that… poor people exist! It’s truly thrilling.
King Top Gear announces that due to spending cuts the girls won’t be getting paid for their time on Strictly anymore, and we learn that that last girl was pushed into the plot hole for saying mean things about Mer. Now the other girls are starting to copy Mer, which might be the start of some of that intrigue we were promised.
Mer gets a super-special-awesome dress and her ugly step-sister—I mean, Celeste, rips it up. This should get her sent home, but Celeste has Cheerleader Immunity so nothing happens for now. Then Maxon announces he’s using the girls’ money to feed the poor. What a guy!
Then it’s time for interviews, so Mer can obsess over Celeste’s boobs some more, and then go on and on about how wonderful Maxon is, stopping just before nominating him for sainthood. Afterwards we get the ‘one can never help being born into perfection’ line, though it’s said ironically so I give it my approval, which I know it’s been waiting desperately for.
Then it’s time for twu wuv’s first kiss, and Maxon’s first overall! Aww…
Conflict! Another girl announces that Maxon kissed her too! Oh my god! Oh my god! Is it tru?! Can it beeeeee?! Kriss and Tuesday have a serious discussion about whether or not this is true—who are Kriss and Tuesday? They’re characters in the book, that’s who.
Then Elise gets a comb as a gift from Maxon! Who’s Elise? Another character in the book.
But there’s more excitement as the king and queen of Swendway (Pfffft!) are coming for a royal visit. Mer meets the queen’s sister who’s a real character!… in this book. No, wait, she’s just drunk. Mer acts passive-aggressively towards Maxon and then forces him off onto Celeste’s boobs.
Marlee (one of the only other girls I actually remember), wangsts to Mer about how she doesn’t think there’s really a connection between her and Maxon, but she can’t go home because of… reasons. Three more girls are casually revealed to have been thrown into the Strictly Come Plot Hole off-page, leaving us with twenty-two.
Then Aspen randomly shows up to remind the audience that he exists. Gasp! The Plot thinnens!
Being too dumb to realise that Aspen is obviously the ex-boyfriend Mer was constantly wangsting about, Maxon assigns him to guard her room at night, poor dumb Maxon. Well, poor Mer as well, I guess.
It’s Kriss’ birthday! You know the one—she was vaguely mention a few chapters ago? No? Well, it’s her birthday anyway and that means a party! Celeste takes the opportunity to be hilariously snobby, and after Mer gives a stirring violin performance (lyk, teh best evah!) Celeste pours her drink on Kriss’ dress, making her run out of the room crying. What a wimp.
This is the last straw for Mer, and she plots to get Celeste voted off the island!
Being embroiled in politics his entire life, Maxon has apparently never heard of guile, and thus can’t believe that the drink-spilling wasn’t an accident! And even though Mer is supposed to be his inside man, he suddenly doesn’t believe a word she says and stalks off in a huff. Ah, forced conflict—I eat it up.
Mer immediately concludes that Maxon just wants Celeste’s boobs, and so turns her attention back to Aspen, who creeps into her room at night like a paranormal creature. They do some kissing and he tells her all about the steroids the army has put him on. Good Times.
Aspen reveals he didn’t really have any new hos, the spaz just tripped and fell into his arms during the goodbye party. Yeah, that’s what all the politicians say!
Then La Resistance attacks again, and Mer worries over whether it’s the Starks or the Lannisters. She insists that her maids come with her again, because she’s the good protagonist. It turns out it’s the Lannisters who are attacking—oh noes—because the palace security is just that shit.
But they’re fought off, and Mer returns to her room to find that La Resistance… really messed her room up. Yeah, they’re really scary. Next time they might spray some graffiti!
But more girls are leaving and Mer gets to call home so her family can assume that the only reason she’s staying is because she’s in love with Maxon.
The next morning, at breakfast, Maxon decides that keeping his harem under constant threat of attack isn’t a very nice thing to do considering he’ll be sending most of them home anyway. Therefore, he’s going to send all but six of them home today! DUN DUN DUN!
Only Marlee, Kriss, Natalie, Celeste, Elise and Mer are staying, everyone else gets together for the wangst storm of the century since I’m not sure Natalie or Elise have ever been mentioned before.
Maxon drops by Mer’s room later to tell her that if it was a simple matter, he would already have picked her by now, but he’s being pressured by the courtiers to consider the others. Mer feels guilty for smooching with Aspen. Love is growing between them. DRAMA!
Aspen creeps into Mer’s room again that night, and gets angry that she’s reluctant to date him again given the whole pain of death rule and him being a gigantic tool…
My god. I’m actually invested in this. I’m on Team Maxon.
WHAT HAVE I BECOME! TELL ME, ‘The Selection’, WHAT HAVE YOU TURNED ME INTO!?!?!?!?!?!?
The Selection: End of Book One.
Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Well, since this is the book that broke me down and turned me into one of the love triangle-zombie horde, I feel it’s only fair I turn to my panel of judges to tell you, the viewer at home, what ‘The Selection’ should mean to you. Take it away, Dawn!
Dawn: 10 out of 10, for Celeste’s huge knockers!
Patch: Aspen’s dickishness gets a seven from me!
The Holy Periodic Table: Wacky premise and terrible world-building is a 10 out of 10!
Russell: Eight for the love triangle and the main character’s constant moralising, y’all!
Miles: And another 10 for the ridiculously underdeveloped other characters!
And finally, from Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way…
Enoby: Zero. Coz itz not goffick.
I’ll just calculate that on my trusty firewall, and the final score is… 100%!
Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!
Patch: Yeah, like this book. Hahahahahaha!