Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: The Guard by Kiera Cass

Review: The Guard by Kiera Cass
Release date: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: #2.5 in The Selection series
Source: Library
Length: 64 pages
Rating: No, seriously, why do I hate myself?


Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen's point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

My reviews of  | The Selection | The Prince | The Elite |

Full disclosure: I went into this novella fully expecting to hate it. And... SURPRISE! I hated it! It's nice when the universe makes sense.

Don't miss this digital original, seriously. Miss it. Especially if you are actually a fan of this series, but you sway more Maxonward because why wouldn't you. Because this book will be torture.

Aspen is maybe one of my least favorite love interests in current literature. He is awful, and I don't mean that in a "Oh, you tortured bad boy, I can't wait until your wounds are healed, I just love to hate you but mostly I love you" way. No, I mean it in a "you are genuinely a terrible character, and it kills me that you think you are not, and that the plot treats you as if you are not" way. This novella reads like a heavy-handed, clumsy attempt to convince readers to like Asspen (typo intentional). For those who already love him, I'm sure this will be a very enjoyable read. If, like me, you are devoutly thankful he is only fictional so you don't actually have to exist on the same astral plane as him, well... not so much.

Most of this book is kind of boring. I've read The Elite. I didn't particularly need to read it all over again with only or or two things added besides 1000% more pining (and wee little hints of REBELS REBELS LOOK ACTUAL PLOT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE THIRD BOOK). "MORE pining?!" you are thinking if you also read The Elite: America Tries snd Fails to Make Decisions. "But did you NOTICE America in that book? With the whining and the flip flopping and the pining over two boys? Insufferable!"

Ahhh, yes, but see, Maxon was in that book. And America was pining over Maxon, which is way more forgivable, since Maxon is the only character in this series that I don't have the urge to murder in various ways I shouldn't type here in case the NSA really is paying attention. (Promise I'm not a murderer, NSA!)

Asspen has no substance besides moping over America and the various "good guy" qualities Cass reminds us over and over that he possesses. In actuality, he is self-centered, misogynistic, dim, arrogant, and basically just the worst. It is not evidence of "passion" and "great love" to risk your life for a few stolen moments with America. You could both die if you are caught. You are risking her life. You idiot.

The things he says about Maxon, the way he presumes to know him even though they've exchanged, what, a sentence? And yet somehow he has GREAT MYSTICAL INSIGHT into what a jerk he is. Pots and kettles and douchebags, oh my! He doesn't seem to comprehend that in actuality, he is the one who has always mistreated America, the light of his life the fire of his loins and blah blah blah.

And what's worse, he has no idea how awful he is. Asspen doesn't seem to realize he comes across this way (nor does the author, it seems), but for most of these 64 pages, I wanted nothing more than to punch him.

Number of times Asspen calls America "my girl": 6
Number of times Asspen risks America's life: 4
Number of times Asspen is treated or portrayed like the sun shines from his every orifice: 10
Number of times Asspen does something that does not involve moaning about America: 0

America, please. I know you are not the brightest penny in the maudlin love jar, but giiiiirl. Maxon or Asspen? Diamonds or dung? Puppies or poop? Not exactly Sophie's Choice. The one or two glimpses of Maxon are of more worth than 64 pages of Asspen thinking.

Ugh, Asspen. Dis bitch still complains about that time America scrounged food for him and cooked him dinner, and he got all caveman ragey and "Me man, you girl, me provide, girl no work, I take care, har har".

Aspen, your job is not to protect and take care of girls. They can do that on their own, okay? UGH. About half way through I flung the book down on my bed and said aloud, "I cannot listen to this person's thoughts anymore!" Asspen, I just can't. I cannot. All I can say to you is

If America picks him in The One, I will fling the book off my balcony with great gusto. I will do it. Or, you know what? If she does, then she deserves him, because only a terrible person would make that terrible choice and wow am I crankypants. *closes eyes, breathes in deeply* It's just a book. Just a book. A"book" that hurt my brain and my pride and my  feelings. I'm getting a drink.

I haven't even started on the continually ridiculous worldbuilding, how unbelievable Asspen's guard duty is, how frustrating it is that the only things of political, Rebel interest do not happen for America to see, because God forbid her plotline have anything interesting or proactive in it up until (hopefully) the third book. And it's so obvious what is going to happen, since the hints dropped are more like anvils. (EXCEPT FOR SHIPWISE. OH MY GOD PLEASE PICK MAXON. PLEASE.) Also... honestly, does this palace have the worst security in history? Isn't it swarming with guards? How can all these rebels just come traipsing all over the grounds all the time? And the names. Maxon. Markson. Clarkson. Did someone lose a bet?

BAH. Stupid book.

(I am still going to read The One)



  1. I haven't read either The Prince or The Guard and I can't say that I will. I feel quite the same way you do - I even skipped over the America/Aspen parts of The Elite. I just did not care!

    And if she does chose Aspen in The One . . . nope. Inexcusable. Unacceptable.

    Andrea @ Bookish

    1. UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE. The Prince is... okay, basically only because it's Maxon. Okay, it's a little lower than okay, but compared to Asspenfest2014, it's brilliant.

  2. I have not read a page of The Selection, or anything else in the series, for that matter, but this angered me. Especially Aspen getting pissed off at America for providing for him. Ugh, he can go fuck himself. I was gifted a copy of this a few years ago, and I honestly wish it were a physical copy and not an ecopy so that I could "lose" it. Ugh ugh ugh ugh.

    1. At least the physical copy is super pretty! So... yeah. Oh, yes, Aspen get's REALLY ANGRY because America takes the time to scrounge up leftovers and make him a meal and take care of him. It's rather infuriating.

  3. WOW. This is precisely why I don't do love triangles. Also this review made me laugh quite a bit. I hate this guy and I've never met him. Though most buzz I've heard has been supporting Maxon. Good luck with the finale!

    1. Ha! Unlike, I actually don't hate all love triangles, but this one is very hateable. One leg of the triangle is so obviously the worse pick that if the MC ends up with him, the entire book (and maybe even series) is ruined. Or as ruined as a series that I don't particularly like that much can be. But even for people who sincerely love this series (which is okay, people can love things I don't), I feel like their enjoyment of book three will also be significantly lessoned if she chooses the wrong guy.

      Which is my roundabout way of saying yep, I dislike when love triangles are done this way too. THANK YOU FOR YOUR LUCK. I clearly need it!

  4. I refuse to read The Elite or The One until I know which boy she picks. I usually don't do spoilers, but I hate Aspen that much.

  5. YES TO EVERYTHING! I honestly don't understand the hype of this series. It's just- it's so wrong. The whole rebel attack in the castle where everyone's hiding. Where are the guards? O.O I haven't read The Prince or The Guard but I think I'll finish the book for the sake of finish the series and knowing how it ends. Gods, I'm such a masochist. I'm pretty sure there will be burst of colorful words.


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