Marlee and America’s relationship is what we all want in a girlfriend – somebody who sees into the very heart of ourselves and still loves us, regardless. Her punishment for falling for a guard was a GIGANTIC turning point in the series, and it was interesting to see what truly happened in Marlee’s own words. This tale also helped to show the character of Marlee, her sweetness, her faithfulness and her amazing inner strength. The willingness to do anything for love is such a noble trait that quite frankly, few people have, and for me, Marlee epitomises this in such an understated way.
This summary for January is a little delayed, but that's because the start of the new year always entails a lot of running around. For me this year it was trying to enrol in my Writing Masters for the year, taking care of family drama, and my all time favourite part of January... welcoming a new puppy into my little family! Which of course delayed this post even more, because it is so difficult to concentrate on writing when there is a tiny, uncoordinated beast running around.
I found Aspen kind of difficult to love when I first met him, not that I disliked him in any way, shape or form, but I just didn’t quite love him. To be fair, it took me a while to truly fall in love with Maxon too – both men seemed to have a fair chance with America and they are both flawed enough to have made the falling for her difficult. However, The Guard helps to provide more insight into why he acted like a total and utter twerp. Well, other than being the beginning of the story and love triangle that is so integral to the series.
The Selection, The Elite and The One tell us the love story of America and Maxon, but all from his point of view. It was incredibly enlightening to see some of his first impressions of the Selection process and America in The Prince short story. His awareness of his father’s manipulations and his reluctance to truly trust anyone lest they hurt him helped to make more of his somewhat questionable reactions to America and their courtship more understandable and enlightening.
If it wasn’t for the introduction that Cass wrote at the beginning of this short story, I would find this a slightly awkward story to read. Although later in The Selection series, we realise that Clarkson is quite abusive, and even as a Prince, something was obviously not quite right about the man. Amberly’s blinding devotion to the man also sent shivers up my spine – I can’t comprehend anybody being that singularly obedient to one being.
I didn’t know what to expect out of this collection of short stories – The Selection series seemed to be pretty much complete at the end of The One. I was completely wrong though, finding out about Amberly, Maxon, Aspen and Marlee’s tales just helped to build on the intrigue and beauty of America’s love story. Their views of each other and the characters, and their histories helped me to further understand some of the actions that I found so frustrating while watching Mer fall in love.
When there were first hints of Jamie’s crush on Jeremy in Industrial Magic, I really wasn’t sure what to think. The werewolf alpha and a woman that is flighty and enjoys numerous flings… it seemed like a bit of a weird combination of characters in a romantic entanglement. However, truly learning more about Jamie from her point of view in No Humans Involved completely removed these misgivings. Within the first two chapters, I went from wondering how they would work together to keeping my fingers crossed for such a relationship to develop.
I loved, loved, loved revisiting Elena after three books in which she only had a passing role. The fact that she begins the story pregnant and actually enjoying her life with Clay just made everything better. Their unique blend of violence, sarcasm and passion still managing to burn brightly in spite of all they had been through in their relationship. Plus, Elena is one of the most unique and prickly heroines that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting – her non-traditional relationship with Clay helps to further echo this.
In the previous Women of the Otherworld books, Eve Levine is painted as a woman of questionable morals and motives, it was nice to finally get to know a little more about the elusive black witch, half demon woman. Although I expected it from Armstrong’s past writing, Eve’s sass and lack of respect for the rules were thoroughly enjoyable. Her motherly instincts and love however were a lot more softening and warm than I expected.
If you want a happy, cheerful biography that has some mild ups and downs, but in the end is a tale of happiness and love… this isn’t for you. Quite frankly, it’s depressing. But in this brutally honest, depressing tale, there is light, hope and strength. It is a stark reminder that regardless of the horrors of childhood, we can be true to ourselves. Regardless of what others want and expect from us. For some, it is impossible to break them, even though they are bent until they almost snap.