First Lines: The Angeles air was quiet, and for a while I lay still, listening to the sound of Maxon’s breathing. It was getting harder and harder to catch him in a truly calm and happy moment, and I soaked up the time, grateful that he seemed to be at his best when he and I were alone.
In an effort to keep up to date on series I’m reading (and losing that battle epically), I picked this up at the library to continue this series. This got a much better rating on Goodreads than the previous book, so I was encouraged that this would be better than the last book.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
What began with thirty-five girls has now gone down to six. America is one of the Elite vying for Prince Maxon’s heart, and she knows she’s a forerunner, despite what the others girls imply. But America still doesn’t know where her heart belongs, with Maxon as future queen or with Aspen, her first love? America is desperate for more time to decide, but time is one luxury America can’t have. With the rest of the Elite suddenly looking like real competition, America may find that her time to win over Maxon has run out…
Oy vey. Where do I start?
I’ll start with the positives. First off, I really do like this plot. I love that it’s a televised competition to test their qualities as a potential future queen. Sure, it’s a romance as well, but it’s really testing the girls’ ingenuity, creativity, and ability to handle tough situations. I also like the subplot about the rebels and how that is becoming slightly more flushed out than it was in the last book.
It’s the characters that drive me crazy. I’m a very character driven reader, so this absolutely 100% to-infinity-and-beyond bugs me. America is as flighty as a butterfly when it comes to trying to decide if she wants Maxon or Aspen. It bothered me that she could fancy herself in love with–and on the verge of marrying–one of the boys and then, after some slight from said boy, she completely changes her mind. Wash, rinse, repeat.
As if America’s antics weren’t enough, Maxon and Aspen suddenly felt like flat characters with little personality of their own. They lacked the charisma and charm they had in the last book, maybe because America was seeing both of them in a new light. Maxon became impatient, dark, and passive-aggressive toward America. And Aspen became pushy and demanding. For all I care, Aspen can just go jump off a proverbial cliff. I despise his character.
I also felt as though America lost a few marbles up in her pretty little red head this time around. When one of the girls gets into massive, horrifying trouble, what does America do? She knowingly does the same thing. Really? As horror-struck as America was with the punishment for that crime, she willingly commits the same act? Really? She seemed to have a habit of actively searching out trouble and then hoping there wouldn’t be any consequences. This seemed very immature to me…and I’m a middle school teacher. 7th graders have a better grasp on this than America did.
I am willing to admit that the ending did perk up a bit. There was action, there were sweet scenes, and I felt some of the characters regained their former charm. But it was just too little too late.
Apparently others see something worthwhile in this book. I didn’t. And sadly, I know I’ll end up reading the last book in this series just to see how it ends. I really do like the storyline…just not the characters!