4 Stars. I couldn’t put this down. Cass sucked me in just like she did with the first two books. As usual there’s some beautiful imagery, some interesting tasks for the contestants to compete in, and a wonderful love story.
America is still stubborn and holds true to her values. I loved that even though she faced some hard choices she never wavered or compromised her beliefs. However, unlike the second book, she was smarter in the way she dealt with the things she felt passionately about that she knew the king would dislike.
I loved seeing America and the final contestants grow close. There’s a shift in this book where they stop competing and actually get to know one another. And, I loved seeing America and Maxon working together. They have a few experiences together outside the constraints of the selection contest, where it’s just the two of them, and I loved those moments.
However, I was a little annoyed that it took America so long to just tell Maxon how she felt about him. It seemed obvious that all he wanted was to hear that she loved him. I could understand that she was worried about putting herself out there, but it felt like Maxon had given her more than enough to know how he felt about her. However, when they finally do say their “I love you’s” it’s done in a way that’s really believable, and you know each of them mean it.
My only complaint was with the ending. It felt a little rushed and I wished America had had a more active role in it. She spent a good amount of time hidden in a safe room, and even though her earlier actions had led to a positive outcome, I wished she’d been able to contribute more in the moment.
I also wish the ending had been different overall. I feel like there was still more story to tell. There are a few secrets we discover at the end, including a big one with Kriss, that aren’t really explored as deeply as they could have been.
Spoiler: There were too many plot points left hanging, and I feel if the King and Queen hadn’t been killed off at the end that those points could have come up in a fourth book. For example, the power play going on between America and King Clarkson was a really interesting point of the story. I loved watching America defy him. I feared for her when she made him angry, and I was excited to see what he would throw at her next. I would have loved to have read a fourth book seeing America find her place within the castle as the princess, trying to support Maxon, and dealing with conflict between her and the king. Also, I disliked that the king and queen died off camera. I would have liked it better if we had seen those deaths. It would have made them more meaningful and poignant.
Overall, I loved this series and highly recommend it.