Surprisingly enough, I actually really enjoyed this. Queen Amberly was so sweet and kind and nurturing. I loved seeing a different selection and viewing this world and this process from a point of view other than America’s.
While it is agreed that King Clarkson is a total jerk, I don’t know how I feel about him in this particular story. I love prequels about villains because they always show us a softer side of the bad guy, without justifying them. This was the case with Marissa Meyer’s Fairest, the prequel to the Lunar Chronicles.
In this story, we see a very vulnerable King Clarkson before he was king. His was a dysfunctional, unloving family, full of chaos and hate. I get that. I do. But while we see a more human, and much more caring side to him, he shows early signs of being the controlling a-hole he is in the Selection series.
While I do not doubt that he loves Amberly, he is kind of controlling and manipulative. He likes her because she does as he asks and doesn’t question him. Sure, it also helps that she is nice and genuinely loves him in return, but I feel that his main motivator in wanting her is that she is docile. Whatever the reason, he does care for Amberly and I liked to see that.
I know that the reasons mentioned above about Clarkson’s a-holeness, has made a lot of people dislike the story, but come on. This is not out of character. We know he’s a horrible human. This is just the early stages of his terrible future actions. I can see how he becomes the monster he does in the future, while also appreciating the semi-decent human being he is in the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It’s only 72 pages so I highly recommend for those who have read and liked the Selection. If anything, I wish it were longer. I would love to see Amberly’s entire selection. She’s a bit naive but much less annoying than America Singer, that’s for sure.
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