By: Kiera Cass
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.
I don't know why I expected this series to be anything more than it started out as. Extra light on world-building, weakly written characters, and forced emotion. This review might get a little harsh, so if you like this book then none of this will interest you. And there will be spoilers, but I mean, there's not much plot to actually spoil? Sooooo?
This is where I get ranty.
UGH. THIS BOOK. I know, I know, this is my own fault for continuing this series, even though I didn't really expect it to get any better. I was vaguely hoping that it might come together in small ways, but nope. *NOPE*
The characters remained RIDICULOUSLY mis-characterized. They didn't have motive. They just did things that were intended to be 'dramatic', but because there was NO build up in the development of the characters, everything fell flat. America didn't change. Ever. The moral was basically, this is why America was always mature all along. The problem is that SHE WASN'T. She was ALWAYS ridiculous and ALWAYS immature. There was never any development, because her characterization didn't make any sense.
Even the one character that - until this book - made a tiny bit of sense characterization-wise (Maxon) lost every last bit of that. He just did things. He just acted without seemingly any thought as to whether his development would actually lead him do that, if his personality was at all like the things that he was doing.
What I am trying to get at, is that there's no emotional authenticity. The characterization is never steady. The characters just do things to up the drama, not because it's something their character would do. AND THAT'S ANNOYING.
Then there were the tiny things that didn't make any sense. Aspen in this book was basically non-existent except to step in occasionally and conveniently gain a new love interest, just so he could fake this huge emotional development. Maxon and America's relationship being so wobbly - with no change from any of the previous books - was so drawn out. It made very little sense in the context of what was happening and it was so frustrating. It goes back to what I was saying in the paragraph before. Like, suddenly, Maxon became a full-on, raging IDIOT. And it was the worst.
The one part I sort of liked was the friendship between the four girls. I mean, it felt fake and overdone, but I at least didn't mind the concept of it. The execution was thrust into your face so suddenly, with very little build-up of any kind. One minute they hate each other and the next *BOOM* we accept each other and our roles in this competition. Though, that's basically how every moment of "development" went in this book and series.
None of the political stuff makes sense in a this-is-actually-how-politics-work sort of way. Too simplistic, and trying too hard to be 'complex' but it just ends up 'complex ' in all the wrong ways. It is the opposite of how well the political ideology and the functioning of people under a government work in The Hunger Games and in The Final Empire. Like, this book shows no understanding of how a caste system would actually, conceivably work. Not to mention it seems like the people switch their "support" (even though it never had any impact on the actual plot, it was just a vague thing) every few pages.
The world is so weak. We have no idea what they have and don't have any more. Computers? They mentioned Football, but who plays it? How do they have time for it? Is there still religion? A pastor was mentioned, but what kind of religion did he belong to and who follows it? Are there cameras everywhere, because there should be if rebels are breaking in every two pages? Apparently, around all the nice food they eat, they also eat peanut butter, because they talked about it? These are all the random pieces of (and this is a grossly simplistic use of this word) "worldbuilding", but none of it makes even a drop of sense. And this is different than the Shatter Me series, which was very purposefully light on the world-building, but that was always its intent. The world was kept vague so that the characters could take center stage. But this series was trying too hard to have world-building, but all of it was pointless.
Personal pet peeve of mine: WHY ARE THERE TAGS AFTER EVERY LINE OF DIALOGUE. Tags are meant to be used when the conversation needs a beat, and preferably it is not always "said angrily" "said happily" "said gruffly". NO.
Don't even get me started on Aspen needing a woman that he can protect to be happy. EWWW. Or on America's attempts to do politics. Or on the utter and complete convenience of the last few scenes. Suddenly, every single person who stood in the way just died, just like that. Honestly, these deaths were the most stupid I have ever read. Or the complete lack of emotion in the rushed last few pages. I mean, wasn't this supposed to be an emotion series ender? Yet America just went through the last few scenes with barely even scraps of emotion.
None of the plot twists are surprising. I'm pretty sure the reader understands the "twists" whole BOOKS before America ever does. Plus the fact that the "surprise twists" had no bearing on any plot whatsoever. I mean, the whole "These characters are actually part of the good rebels group" *GASP* "And now we're never going to mention it again." It was a plot without any stakes, and there was absolutely no depth.
I am sincerely sorry if you liked this series and this review made you angry. Please don't hate me, this is merely my opinion.