It’s actually been a while since I’ve finished the book, so I’m not as in touch with my emotions towards this as I should be, but I do remember lingering feelings of being satisfied and disappointed… or satisfied with being disappointed. This statement actually makes sense, as The Heir books and even The Selection Trilogy always seem so hard to rate, since the books are plain fluffy but also ‘try” to include politics and world-building issues like other books based on science-fiction and dystopias. But, my reaction to them is usually the same — average, average, average (literally). The Crown is different though, even if I rated it around 3 stars like the others, it exceeded the expectations I had for a Cass-written conclusion (expectations fueled by the disaster that was The One). It isn’t perfect at all, but enough to make me smile and maybe feel sad that this series is at its end.
The story begins right where it left off — The palace is in a state of fear and confusion after America has a heart attack and is in critical condition. Eadlyn is in immense stress after witnessing her mother’s accident and the public’s response to her, while dealing with her Selection, having cut her suitors to only 5. As she learns how to handle her future country and appeal herself to everyone living in it, Eadlyn deals with finding love and understanding how big of a part it will play in her life. This installment surprisingly contains more politics and non-fluffy material that Cass’s other books, and while it’s not the most creative or thought-out, I have to applaud Cass for trying to extend her world and its norms. Before, The Selection trilogy’s world-building was nearly disregarded despite being marketed as a Dystopian/Science-Fiction series, and while there slight signs of politics talk, it still kind of failed in that department. Of course, the world-building is not completely fixed now, but there is intrigue and mystery and calculating! Cass tries different things with this book, and it definitely kept me going.
I’ve always thought Eadlyn wasn’t as taxing as everyone said she was, and that feeling hasn’t changed but rather dissipated. This is probably just me, but she felt a bit out-of-character in this book. She wasn’t as crass and bratty (I actually enjoyed her bratty-ness … to an extent) and almost felt undefined and bland. You can call it character development, but it’s all a bit sudden to me. I do think she progressed in her maturity slightly when it came to managing her country and understanding the severity of the Selection, but it would have worked better if that maturity was well-balanced with her natural personality from The Heir. The male characters were especially interesting this time, and I’m glad they had (somewhat) moved on from their cardboard cutout personalities. Their relationship with Eadlyn is altogether too happy sometimes, but very vibrant and real, which I solidly enjoyed and appreciated. I don’t completely enjoy how Kile and Eadlyn turned out, but I have to say, it is the strongest and most conflicting relationship in The Heir sequels and that’s makes me happy. The one Eadlyn chooses becomes fairly obvious after the first few chapters of The Crown, and I think it’s who everyone was rooting for. I’m not 100% satisfied with her decision, because Eadlyn’s and this person’s romance felt forced and quick, made to stay away from Eadlyn’s main choice in The Heir. But, it’s just how it goes with me and Kiera Cass’s love triangles. I always happen to go for the unpopular one, but the situation was different this time, so I saw it coming.
If you’re staying away spoilers (or what you consider “spoilers”), avoid this paragraph: When it comes to The Selection series and its sequels, it’s usually the conclusion that makes it or breaks it for me, since I’m already teetering on the edge of liking and disliking it. The One tried too hard to be serious and mysterious, and those added elements just dragged out the book from it’s obvious ending — America marrying Maxon. The overall plot of The Crown is fine, it’s just the very last moments of the book that perplex me. If you’re staying away spoilers (or what you consider “spoliers”), avoid this: Right before the announcement of Eadlyn’s suitor, Maxon and Eadlyn have a little talk, and quick pep talk for advice. In this talk, Maxon says America and himself are still “young” and can “explore”, as he gives Eadlyn permission to take over and start ruling Illea early. Um, what? This section was so rushed and what made it even more nonsensical was Eadlyn’s sudden announcement of changing Illea’s government into a monarchy, prime minister and all. Okay Maxon, if you want to be a dumbass, be a dumbass. But what exactly was the point of sticking this in the very end, when everything is supposed to be resolved?
I’ve always been a little too conflicted when it came to The Selection Trilogy and its prequels, and while I’m glad that conflict will diminish now, I’ll definitely miss this fluffy series and all its flaws. Let’s hope/not hope Kiera Cass begins another sequel series in this world. 😀