Actual rating: 1.5 stars.
I think that I will start with the whitewashing. Every character in this book was white. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Now, I noticed that a few of the actors confirmed to be staring in the TV adaption are black, asian and I think there is one actress who is mexican-american, and I'm hoping the Tv show will be more inclusive than the book of non-white characters and some LGBT characters, too. This book, as has been said before, was very white, hetero-normative, and just really not inclusive of any other type of person than straight, cisgender, white folk. I think that what happened there is that the author just wasn't thinking when she wrote this. Not many of the characters are well described, but those that were, were white- I honestly think she just forgot about the existence of any other type of person while writing this. It was disappointing and angering, to say the least.
Next, I need to mention the sexism/misogyny/slut-shaming. America mentions in one scene how all of the girls are ready to throw themselves at Maxon, as if it were such a bad thing. The entire point of this competition is to win his love
yet for some reason, America doesn't take the time to consider that a lot of these girls would have been infatuated with Maxon from seeing him on TV. He is there celebrity crush. BUT GOD FORBID THEY FEEL ANY SEXUAL ATTRACTION TO HIM AT ALL! If any girl is willing to have sex with the guy she has a crush on- SHE IS A WHORE AND A SLUT AND IS A LESSER PERSON FOR IT.
Really? Fuck off.
In another scene, an assistant/teacher/charm-school-instructor name Silvia scolds America for speaking above a whisper, stating that women who speak any louder than so are not ladies. Hey Silvia, guess what?
FUCK YOU! My mother speaks above a whisper- she is still classy as fuck. I have an aunt who goes clubbing constantly, gets in fights, and ends up screaming at people. Immature? Maybe. Still a lady? YOU BET YOUR ASS. You know, she even punched someone car window out once, because they called her a slut. She is still a very classy lady, and I love her even more for her loudness.
Then, we have this other thing, where in America's world's society, both men and women go to prison if they have sex before marriage. Only the rich can afford contraception of any kind, but for some reason even they have to wait until marriage to get it. Supposedly it's meant to ward of sexually transmitted diseases, but to mean it just made it seem like you anyone who wasn't a virgin was worthless. Although, the main character herself hated these laws, and questioned them a few times throughout the novel. I think the authors own opinions on these topics was shining through, and it seemed clear she was the slut-shaming type. Maybe I'm wrong here, and I hope I am- but if she weren't, why would she include the slut-shaming without making it a bad thing- something the characters didn't like, or learned was wrong. It was never questioned or anything, so I doubt I'm wrong about it.
Now- you're probably wondering why I gave this 1.5 stars after all of that. Well, I gave it 1.5 because it wasn't all bad. Although the monarchy seemed way too unrealistic (who would let that happen again? NO ONE- that's who!) the caste system was interesting. I also liked the writing style. It wasn't groundbreaking, and at times it was choppy, or too simple, but overall it was easy to read and I thought the book went by really fast. The characters weren't all
horrible, and despite my problems with America and Aspen I liked them them for the most part. What truly made it worth reading for me, was Maxon. He was probably the best written character in the novel. He had real problems, with everyone expecting things from him, and needing to learn to rule, and just a bunch of other things.
Really, the only reason I'm going on in the series is because the covers are fucking gorgeous (I like cover porn) and because I think despite her faults with this series, and her behavior on titter, this author may learn a thing or two, and improve the story with the second book. I'm hoping for some non-white characters, little to no slut shaming (probably won't get that one though) and just better writing in general. I would like for her to elaborate more on the society and it's rules, and what is going on outside the palace, with all the rebel attacks and stuff.
(You can see more about the monarchy and why it was unrealistic in user Kiras review. She's really brainy so she know all about it, and goes into a more full dissection of it)