If you like TV shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, you’re in luck. The Selection by Kiera Cass might sate your craving for something to read before the next season! It’s a five book dystopian series featuring royalty, love triangles, and drama. It’s a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor – without the blood. Kiera Cass has also written a romantic standalone novel, which was originally self-published, called The Siren. Both are stories of romance and intrigue with original concepts that had me hooked. Kiera Cass has well-developed ideas behind her stories and they always have a twist on a classic trope or concept.
In the Selection series, the United States has rebuilt itself after a devastating World War III and was renamed Illea. Instead of the democracy it once had, Illea now is run by a monarchy with a caste system – the top caste of people are the ruling rich upper class and those in the bottom caste are the impoverished untouchables. In the middle of those, carving out a life for herself is America Singer, a talented musician who is in love with Aspen, a boy from a caste just below her own. When she is chosen to participate in the Selection – a competition much like The Bachelor to see who will marry the prince of Illea – her love for Aspen is tested as she gets to know Prince Maxon. This series is definitely swoon-worthy and the rich descriptions make it easy to understand the complex politics and imagine the stark difference between the lush upper class lifestyle the top castes enjoy versus the lowly existence the lower castes suffer through. The Selection has a great balance of romance to plot and is surprisingly fast-paced. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this series until I got into it – and I’m very glad that I did!
The Siren is Kiera Cass’ only standalone novel so far and was originally self-published, but now that it’s been republished, I can’t stop obsessing over the beautiful hardcover! Cover aside though, this book was a different take on the usual siren and mermaid tropes that I’ve read in other stories. Kahlen should have died 80 years ago in the shipwreck that killed her family, but she was saved by the Ocean – which is a sentient being that feeds off of the lives lost at sea. Instead of dying, Kahlen agrees to become a Siren and lure people to their deaths to feed the ocean for 100 years, but after 80 years, she falls in love with a human boy despite her inability to speak around humans and the rule that Sirens cannot marry. I love just about any kind of mermaid, siren, or selkie tale and this one didn’t disappoint.
If you’re looking for more about Kiera Cass, you can find her on her website, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube. Need some more authors to read like Kiera Cass? Try books by Amanda Hocking (start with Wake), Lauren Oliver (start with Delirium or Replica), Victoria Aveyard (start with Red Queen), and Katharine McGee (start with The Thousandth Floor).