Review: "The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard" by Kiera Cass

Ci sono tante piccole cose che non conoscevo prima di diventare blogger. Una di queste è decisamente l’enorme “collezione” di racconti brevi che fanno parte di molte serie famose e che in italiano quasi mai vengono tradotti. Questi racconti collaterali, molto spesso trasposizione del punto di vista dei personaggi non protagonisti, sono a volte trascurati e poco conosciuti. Dopo averne parlato con il Read Along di Divergent, ho deciso che ne avrei parlato ancora e, dato che sta crescendo la febbre da “The One” ho iniziato a leggere i racconti brevi ambientati nel mondo di America Singer. Sono due: The Prince, che rappresenta un prequel alle vicende di “The Selection”; The Guard, invece, che fa da ponte tra “The Elite” e “The One”.
A differenza di milioni di altri racconti delle serie straniere, “The Prince” è stato tradotto anche in Italia in vista dell’uscita del secondo libro della serie “The Elite”, quindi mi sento abbastanza fiduciosa nel dire che probabilmente riusciremo a leggere anche “The Guard” in italiano.

Non ho mai parlato della serie sul blog, perché l’ho letta prima di iniziare questa esperienza, ma l’ho consigliata più volte, in particolare all’interno della rubrica “La Parola Ai Lettori” di Read in Progress, un’amica blogger di cui sono sicura ho già parlato moltissime volte (seguitela!).

There are so many little things that I didn’t know before becoming a blogger. One of these is definitely the enormous “collection” of short stories that are part of many popular series and that almost never get translated into italian. These side stories, often transposing the point of view of the characters, who are not protagonists, are sometimes neglected and unknown. After talking about them in the Divergent’s Read Along, I decided that I would talk again and, since there is a growing fever for “The One” I started reading the short stories set in the world of American Singer. There are two: The Prince, which is a prequel to the events of “The Selection”; The Guard, instead, that acts as a bridge between “The Elite” and “The One”.
Unlike millions of other stories of foreign series, “The Prince” has been translated into italian in anticipation of the release of the second book of the series, “The Elite”, so I feel pretty confident in saying that probably we will also read “The Guard” in italian.
I never talked about this series on the blog, because I read it before I start this experience, but I’ve recommended it several times, especially in “La Parola Ai Lettori” of Read in Progress, a friend and a blogger about whom I am sure I have talked many times (follow her!).

Title: The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard
(The Selection 0.5, 2.5)
Author: Kiera Cass
Language: English (The Prince è stato tradotto in italiano)
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Romance, Short Stories.

Two novellas set in the world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series are now available in print for the first time. The Prince and The Guard both offer captivating views into the hearts and minds of the two men fighting to win America Singer’s love. This collection also features exclusive bonus content, including a sneak peek at The One, the eagerly anticipated third novel in the Selection series.

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.

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As I said in the introduction, short stories always add something to the character. In this case, Kiera Cass has been able to choose cleverly to give voice and space to both co-stars of the action, alternating perspective between the two and inserting it in the more general framework of the series. Since it is inevitable to make comparisons between the two stories, I will start with the first “The Prince.”

In fact, this short story is the first in chronological order, because it arises as a prequel to “The Selection” and tells roughly the week before the beginning of the Selection and the meeting between Maxon and America, through the eyes of him. We discover that in the prince’s life there was another girl, a friend and confidant able to figure him out. At first glance, the story seems to mirror that of America pre-Selection, but in reality many of the details differ. In general I liked the idea of ​​giving a past more effective and less tedious to Maxon, but I think, at the end, this story did not add anything more to the prince that we learned about in the first book. I found a sweet and adorable character, completely in love with America, though their first meeting was not the best. The central issue remains the problem of finding love (and a wife) just for Maxon, ie the selection, but we have a few details of his life. I liked it, but I would have preferred a few more scene, later in the story (maybe something between the first and second novel), certainly something more incisive.

However, “The Guard” seemed to me much more mature. I admit that I was not, so far, a big fan of Aspen, so I was not so sure about this reading, but now I’m glad I caught a glimpse of a small portion of his world. Set in the time in which Aspen is already a royal guard, this tale traces in outline the highlights of the triangle Aspen-America-Maxon within “The Elite”. While, as I said, the figure of the prince has always been described in the two novels with extreme care, the actions and thoughts of Aspen never seemed to me so clear than here. Let’s say I sympathized with the enemy, because, although my favorite pair remains America-Maxon, Aspen has made a hole in my heart for sympathy. I’m sure everyone will turn up their nose reading my declaration of love, but I really appreciated that poor boy born in absolute poverty, which has a gold heart and does its utmost to protect the girl he believes to be his again. Maybe I can only say that in contrast with the attitude of Maxon, his is much more possessive: even if the relationship between him and America is over long ago, he still considers her “his girl”, remaining firm in the past. I think it is much more complete of the other largely because of the final scene in which Aspen seems to realize the fact that America has begun to get into her heart Maxon, but at the same time he thinks that there is still hope for the two of them. In addition, the story of the life in the palace from his point of view is definitely something new and show the behind the scenes of the Selection, which until now had always remained in the background.

In summary I preferred, oddly, The Guard to The Prince both for content and for the structure. Maxon remains my favorite male character, but Aspen has been able to show himself more (and in a better light). The first few chapters of “The One” are really interesting, and, one day before the publication of the novel, almost irresistible. The contents are very special, in details: the names of the girls involved in the Selection; some family trees; questions and answers; but also funny playlists.
Definitely recommended for those who love the series and want to know more about the male protagonists.


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In italiano



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