“It’s the most wonderful and terrible thing that can ever happen to you,” she said simply. “You know that you’ve found something amazing, and you want to hold on to it forever; and every second after you have it, you fear the moment you might lose it.”
I sighed softly. She was absolutely right.
Love was beautiful fear.”
You know how some middle books in a series have a really distinctive, “middle book” feel? This book has that.
Does the plot stand alone? Mmmm, not really. But honestly, that’s my only problem with this book; it wouldn’t be very good without the surrounding books, but it’s pretty good anyway, mainly because the author gets you invested enough in the story that you care. You care about Prince Maxon, who we met in book one as he tries through a weird Hunger-Games-Meets-The-Bachelor-Meets-Cinderella process to meet his soulmate and future wife. We care about America Singer the isn’t-like-the-other-girls girl in the competition, because she’s nice and quirky and more than a pretty face. And so we care about whether or not the rebels kill them or they get to fall in love or Maxon’s dad is a jerk or America gets sent home for being unmannerly.
One of those things is not quite like the others though, yeah?
There’s more of the rebels in this book, and they’re more dangerous and more in-your-face than in the previous book. As in, right there in the castle. Lots.
“Perhaps our country is flawed, but we cannot deny its strength. My fear is that, without change, that strength will become stagnate. And I love our country too much to let that happen. I hope too much to let that happen.”
And you can’t blame them, because we’ve all learned that life in Illea pretty much sucks if you aren’t upper-caste, and that the royal family has a lot of secrets. But this storyline gets a lot less attention than it should, because… well because love triangle.
America gets much more torn up about choosing between home town boy Aspen and Prince Maxon than she ever gets torn up about the rebels and injustices and wars and such. But then, she’s a teenager, so that’s actually kind of realistic.
“I looked away. That wasn’t something I could promise. I weighed Maxon and Aspen in my heart over and over, and neither of them ever had a true edge. Except, maybe, when I was alone with one of them. Because, at that moment, I was tempted to promise Maxon that I would be there for him in the end.”
We do, thankfully, get to see America’s family again. They’re still my favourite, though it’s far too brief in this book, just a quickie visit to the castle.
“I sighed. “Actually, Mom, we argue pretty regularly.”
“What?” She gaped at me. “Well, stop it!”
“Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once.”
There was a split second of silence before May barked a laugh. She covered her mouth and tried to stop it, but it kept coming out in awkward, squeaky sounds. Dad’s lips were pressed together, but I could tell he was on the verge of losing it himself.
Mom was paler then snow.
“America, tell me you’re joking. Tell me you didn’t assault the prince.”
I don’t know why, but the word assault pushed us all on the edge; and May, Dad, and I bent over laughing as Mom stared at us.
“Sorry, Mom,” I managed.
“Oh, good lord.” She suddenly seemed very excited in meeting Marlee’s parents, and I didn’t stop her from going.”
I am still planning on powering through the rest of this series. It keeps me engaged and interested, even if it’s really very plainly fluff fiction. It’s super entertaining (says the woman who watches The Bachelor, too). Is some of it cringe-worthy? Sure. So is trashy TV, but sometimes that’s what you want out of your entertainment, amirite?
“America Singer, you get back here.” He ran in front of me, wrapping an arm around my waist as we stood, chest to chest. “Tell me,” he whispered. I pinched my lips together. “Fine, then I shall have to rely on other means of communication.” Without any warning, he kissed me.”