by Kiera Cass
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Maxon broke the kiss and looked at me. “You’re so pretty when you’re a mess.”
I laughed nervously. “Thank you. For that and for the rain and for not giving up.”
He ran his fingers along my cheek and nose and chin. “You’re worth it. I don’t think you get that. You’re worth it to me.”
Ummmm…Could that have BEEN any more perfect?? No, no it couldn’t have, Chandler. All joking aside (it’s early yet, I’m sure there’s more to come despite my resolve) I don’t think the author could have wrapped this up any better than she did. I think many of us, me and my friends especially, were worried about the whole love triangle thing and America’s lack of solidity for one man or another. The biggest, and really only, obstacle America and Maxon have faced throughout this trilogy has been
. Honestly. From book one on, Maxon has shown favoritism and has really only had eyes for America…but her lack of a dominating preference for one man or the other has stretched this series into an agsty, anger inducing trilogy where we as readers beg her to choose Maxon, choose the vulnerable prince standing right before her who would lay his life on the line for her…but to no avail.
I think you know how I detest looking like a fool. But still I do. For you.
I can say with absolute honesty that I have always adored both Maxon and Aspen, but have always been partial, okay okay-and obsessed, with Maxon, and have also loved America. I know she’s made some stupid decisions, I KNOW that. But she is young. She never wanted to be at the palace in the first place, and she was hurt that the guy she wanted to marry wanted her in the selection-there are, OF COURSE, going to be residual feelings for her first love and a fear of the unknown-she’s only ever wanted one thing and now she has a chance to become a princess and to rule over a whole country. It’s a lot to process and a lot to take in-no girl at that age would feel comfortable being PUSHED into that lifestyle. NO ONE would. And, more than that, she has always stood her ground. She has fucked up royally (Muahaha) and she has made so many mistakes when it comes to Maxon that I can’t even count the number of times I was shaking my Ipad in frustration…but one thing I will always stand by her on was her will to do
what was right and just.
A lot of people would disagree with me, saying it stunted the growth and progression of love and sacrifice for the story-but not me. I loved that stubbornness about her and ultimately, Maxon (and Aspen, for that matter) loved it too. Why should she change who she is?
All my anger made sense. I wanted everything from him and everything for him, because I wanted every piece of him. It was infuriating that everyone had to have their hands on this-the girls, his parents, even Aspen. So many conditions and opinions and obligations surrounded us, and I hated Maxon because they came with him.
And I loved him even so.
Having said all that-I wanted to kill her once or twice. Come on, I still get frustrated. She did do some irresponsible things in this story, maybe a little less dramatic than the former two novels, but she still made mistakes. But without these mistakes, the story wouldn’t have been able to stand on it’s own-who wants a PERFECT story? Well, I don’t. I used to, but I’ve discovered the best kind of love stories are worth the wait, and that never was more the case than now. I adored every bit of angst, and HEY!, peril this author threw at me, even when it was tough. It’s the difficult moments in life that make the happy ones all the sweeter. I’ll stand by that.
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“I know. But sometimes it’s about what you want to do, not what you have to do.”
Our eyes met, and I realized that he did a lot for me out of simply wanting to. Giving me pants when I wasn’t allowed to wear them, bringing me a bracelet from the other side of the world…
One recurring theme, as well, in these stories was letting go of your first love. Now, I know we have all had our first relationships, first dates, lost romances, but I’m talking true love, that first person you couldn’t imagine your life without. And I can’t say that that didn’t make me tear up more than once. I LOVED Maxon-ADORED him even, but I found so many parallels in this story to my current life (not the royalty selection or love triangle-duh) that I couldn’t look past how hard it is for America to move on-and maybe that’s why I identified with her so much. I love my boyfriend of almost 8 years DEARLY, and I know that’s a little different, but every time she talked about the penny, or the uniform button bracelet, or seeing Aspen with someone else, it killed me a little inside, because I’ve had many similar thoughts-you just never know what could happen. She is wrong to have held on so long, but I do get it, and I can’t hate her for it. So when she and Aspen talk about things throughout this book, it really touched me in ways I didn’t realize it would-maybe we all hold onto something that we just can’t let go…and we never know what will happen if we do.
“I’m just realizing, Mer, that no matter what happens…there will always be a string tying you to me. I’ll never not worry about you, I’ll never not care about what you do. You’ll always be something to me.”
Even more shocking, in this novel, though, were the relationships the girls formed. My God, if someone had told me that Celeste would become my favorite friend for America, I would have slapped them and told them to get a grip. I still don’t like Kriss, and I still didn’t like that Maxon had to spend time with them, but as a group, I started to love the girls almost as much as the story. And, dare I say that Celeste made the moments without Maxon actually bearable? More than once I teared up for America and Celeste’s newly found bond and all the relationships the girls formed. We see old friends, family members, tragedy….it’s all there. I just couldn’t believe the amount of heart built into this story.
She shook her head . “I didn’t stand a chance, did I? It’s been you the whole time.”
“Not only me,” I admitted. “Kriss. She’s at the top, too.”
“Do you need me to break her leg? I could make it happen.” She chuckled to herself. “I’m kidding.”
-Celeste 😛 (Did I mention I LOVE her?)
I know I keep going, but there were so many elements that worked in this final installment that I can’t help but to gush and shove it all in your faces….I mean, HOW did this author know what I craved? I didn’t think that this series, these stories, this AUTHOR had it in her to do some nasty things and finally let some rebels in on some action-but she did. I didn’t think when I wrote my pre-review below that rebels would actually make a large appearance in the story, but they did. And, what’s worse, they kind of succeeded. It was a bloodbath, and not everyone made it. It wasn’t candy-coated (at least, not the way I would have imagined) and I even managed to get a bit misty-eyed more than once. I don’t know. I guess I’m just…speechless? Yeah, shocked and speechless. I never would have thought.
Kriss giggled. “None of us are Amberly, are we?”
“I like shocking people too much,” Celeste said with a smile.
“And I’d rather hide than do half the things she has to.” Elise ducked her head.
“I’m too wild.” I shrugged my shoulders, embracing my faults.
“I’ll never have her confidence,” Kriss mourned.
And then there’s Maxon. Perfect, adoring, scarred, emotionally vulnerable Maxon. He is the start of all of my Prince crushes and still holds a high ranking on my prince lovers list, and I will never forget him. He is sweet, kind, caring, devoted, and loyal. It’s no secret that if, in book one, he knew America would have him and only him from the start, he would have called it all off and chosen her. Things have changed and he has to give other girls a chance, as painful as it is for us to read, but he will always have a special soft spot for America, the girl who, upon meeting him, yelled at him for no reason at all. He would stand against a whole nation to keep her in the selection and even stand against the person he fears most-his father. No matter the circumstance, he was always there for her-no matter how many times she has broken his heart as he layed it out in the open, bare for her. I loved loved loved him and wanted nothing more than for him to be happy, and here we are at the end of the series and, I THINK, he will finally and truly be happy.
We were nose to nose by then. “Oh, I know. I don’t intend on giving you things. Well,” he amended, “I do intend on giving you things, but that’s not what I mean. I’m going to love you more than any man has ever loved a woman, more than you ever dreamed you could be loved. I promise you that.”
There were many obstacles America had to overcome-The King’s hate for her, making the people love her, finally choosing what man she wants to spend her life with (As long as everyone came out a winner, I’d be okay with most of the coupling…), and staying alive against rebel attacks. There are also some internal battles, and those are hurdles she had to overcome herself, but I think she handled them all with as much poise and grace as she could muster, and I was proud to follow her on this journey: this journey to become the woman she was destined to be, and the journey to find where her heart and soul truly belong.
Final thoughts? I loved it.
Oh….and they lived happily ever after.
…this is what it’s like; this is how it feels when you fall.
OMG TUESDAY, TUESDAY, TUESDAY!!!!!! CAN YOU PLEEEAASSSEEEEEE GET HERE SOONER????!!!!
So, here’s how it’s guna go….Maxon and America will work their shit out. Maxon will, ONCE AGAIN, realize no one else is good enough-not even that prissy, goody-two-shoes Kriss-and propose to her VERY soon.
The rebels will release a full on attack…and Kriss will be caught in the mayhem and die a slow and painful death…
and Celeste?? She’ll disappear never to be heard from again. (But, OF COURSE, she will have died an even SLOWER, MORE PAINFUL death than Kriss, all while Maxon and America were schmoozin’ it up in one of the safe houses. 😛
The King will be shot, because he is an old, evil bastard. And Aspen…well…I still love you, but America belongs with Maxon. Move along, pup. And he and Lucy will end up together.