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5 Books like The Selection: Crowning Glory

Mandy Baldwin itcherIf you think Kiera Cass’ 2012 novel is designed to appeal to the kind of girl who dreams of being a princess. This is a dystopia in which everyone is organised according to caste and the selection process is brutal. Books like ‘The Selection’, The Jewel’, ‘Perfected’, ‘Red Queen’, ‘Matched’ and ‘Suddenly Royal’ explore a world in which the conventions of royalty are more chilling than romantic. ~ Mandy Baldwin

Prince Charming Rides Again

Thirty-five beautiful girls compete for the love of the dashing Prince Maxon, but only one can win.  

In this post-war world, America is a girl, not a country, and at first she is content to scratch her way to a crown and true love, along with everyone else.  

The gowns are gorgeous, the banquets are bounteous, so at first it pays to play the game.

But it seems that America has a secret which could blow the whole competition apart and devastate the caste system which now governs society.  

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Books Similar to ‘The Selection’…

‘The Jewel’ (Amy Ewing, 2014)

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A chilling take on a new form of slavery

Today, Violet Lasting is a human being, but tomorrow she becomes Lot 197, to be auctioned to the highest royal bidder. She will become a surrogate, only existing to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess.

Confined in a gilded cage and condemned to carry the child of a woman she has come to hate, Violet finds love when she meets another ‘courtier’ who shares her desire for freedom and autonomy. But their love leads to rebellion, and rebellion can’t be tolerated if the House of Lake is to survive.

This novel features a fascinating concept that’s well worth reading, although sometimes Violet seems more passive than most people would be under the circumstances.

Similarity Match: 85%
Dystopia and an enhanced class system built on perverted science, but Violet could do with some of America’s spirit.

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‘Perfected’ (Kate Jarvik Birch, 2014)

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Humans can now be genetically engineered and sold as pets, and the rich elite are eager to own beautiful human specimens like Ella.

Ella is a playmate for a politician’s daughter and has been taught only to be graceful and docile, and to appreciate comfort and kindness. And then she falls in love.

This breaks every rule, not just the law but the rules of her own existence because pets don’t fall in love and run away.

But she finds that freedom is enticing, until she is kidnapped and finally sees the darkly brutal side of the pretty world which has pampered her.  

It’s sometimes hard to sympathise with Ella because she thinks like a pampered toy, but the storyline is fast paced, and the concept is intriguing.

Similarity Match: 80%
Manipulated blood lines and power-play, but with a twist as it turns ideas of slavery upside down.

***
‘Red Queen’ (Victoria Avelard, 2015)

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There is red blood or silver blood and never the two shall meet.  The reds are commoners ruled by the silver elite, but a poor ‘red-blood’ called Mare finds herself playing a deadly game when she is declared a Silver Princess.  

She didn’t choose this status but the silvers keep her on show because they fear her. Only silvers are allowed to possess super-human powers but Mare has a special power of her own, which threatens to overturn the entire Silver Dynasty.

She must live a lie if she is to survive among the people she hates; this is a world built entirely on secrets and lies so the truth is hardly recognised any more.

Working for the Red Guard, a resistance group, Mare works secretly to topple the Dynasty until she is confronted by her feelings for someone she is supposed to detest.

I haven’t read a book like this since ‘Game Of Thrones’. A really magnificent piece of ‘world-building’, and a complex story set against a complex society, with marvellous characterisation.

Similarity Match: 75%
Arranged marriages, selective breeding and class struggle, but laced with a terrifying threat of discovery.

***

If You Like ‘The Selection’, You Will Like…

A book like ‘The Selection’ shows the chilling aspect to an arranged marriage, but these recommendations show a lighter side to a royal match.

The situations may be similar, but the stories are told with humour.

‘Suddenly Royal’ (Nicole Chase, 2013)

Samantha Rousseau and  Alex D’Lynsal  shouldn’t have met, because their lives run on different tracks.  She is doing her Masters in Wildlife Biology, while he is Crown Prince of Lilaria, a Ruritatian European country.

And then Samantha inherits an estate in his home country and finds herself chosen as suitable material for a princess, a job she finds ridiculous and frightening. But she has to stay friendly with the Grand Duchess who is trying to arrange the match so she plays along, only to find that she is falling for Prince Alex in spite of all her intentions to spurn him.

Sometimes, it seems he feels the same way, but could it be that he is only looking for a marriage of convenience? Surely, nothing can go wrong if she lets herself be persuaded into marriage? After all, they only have a small country to govern and the international press to deal with.

Warm and witty, this is an irresistibly good-humoured take on the American view of European royalty.

It’s royal, and it’s arranged marriage, but it’s no Dystopia: it’s one for every girl who ever thought she’d love to wear a tiara.

***
‘Matched’ (Allie Condie, 2010)

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Cassia is seventeen so it’s time to meet the man which society has chosen for her.  In Cassia’s world, society decides who people marry, how many children they have, and even when they will die. Cassia knows nothing else so she’s OK with that.  

That is, until she meets the man who has been selected as her perfect partner for life and discovers he is no such thing. Once she has questioned that, Cassia finds that other questions begin to run through her mind about social control, and her life begins to unravel.

A fascinating idea but I felt that the ‘world-building’ aspect didn’t do it justice.  There was just too little explained of the roots of the terrifying levels of social control. An excellent read if you accept that there is much you don’t understand.

Highly entertaining because Condie is skilled enough to inject humour and lightness into a dark concept.

***

Coronets but No Kind Hearts

Dastardly dark dynasties, genetic engineering for perfection, and the fear of an awful aristocracy tend to make me grateful for dear old Queen Liz the 2nd.

Would being a princess be worth the loss of liberty? Please share your thoughts below.

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