Published: February 4th 2014 by HarperTeen
Format: Paperback, 227 pages
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Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon's life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition.
Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen's life within the palace walls—and the truth about a guard's world that America will never know.
The Selection Stories give us a glimpse into the two boys at the centre of the series, and I think they’re going to be popular with fans of the series.
I ended up quite liking this story. I think I understand Maxon much better now that I’ve read it. He’s cute and I loved seeing him vulnerable and without all the answers. This story made me feel like he’s a normal guy, with fears about falling in love and finding love amongst all the strange girls who have come to his home for the Selection. He’s been brought up believing that this is his one chance at finding love, so it’s quite emotional from his point-of-view.
I also enjoyed getting to see the first two interactions between Maxon and America from his eyes. I love how surprised Maxon is about everything that America says and does, and it actually made me believe in their love story in a way that the three full-length novels failed to do.
Unlike The Prince, I don’t think I got as much out of The Guard as I’d wanted. I wanted something that made me really like Aspen, but I can’t see him as anything other than an element in America’s life that holds her back. There’s no doubt there’s a very real love between the two, but it’s gotten comfortable and I don’t think Aspen really tries any more. He’s got all these opinions about how America should be and (in my opinion) he’s missing that America’s changing and becoming something more than the fifteen-year-old girl he fell in love with.
There a bunch of extra things at the end of the book which I really liked. There are the official playlists for The Selection and The Elite, an interview with Kiera Cass, and details about the original thirty-five Selected girls. My favourite parts were the family trees and histories behind them, which basically chronicled how everything changed from World War Four to present-day Illea.
I think The Selection Stories have been well worth my time, and I have enjoyed reading them. I liked The Prince more than The Guard, but that probably has more to do with my liking Maxon much better than Aspen.