Brace yourselves for a full on super-spoilerific walk-through of The Crown, the fifth and final book in the bestselling Bachelor(ette) Selection series. If you’re a stick in the mud about a little good-natured ribbing, I’d advise you to back away slowly. Because while I thoroughly enjoy these books as my guilty pleasure series, there are undeniable…issues…with them. And to give credit where credit is due, the inspiration for this series came from the utterly hilarious read-through of Throne of Glass currently happening over on Hey Ashers! It’s all in good fun, though, so here we go!
When we last saw Crown Princess Eadlyn Schreave, her mother had just suffered a heart attack, quite possibly brought on by the not-small stress of learning Eadlyn’s twin brother, Ahren, has eloped to France to marry his sweetheart, Princess Camille. Eadlyn was also the recipient of a lovely goodbye note from Ahren that basically says the people of Illéa despise her, and she needs to show some humanity or else face the plummeting disapproval rate of the media.
We learn that Queen America was saved by harvesting “a vein from her leg to replace the one in her chest that had been worked to death.” Given the escapist and flighty nature of this series, I at first questioned the medical validity of this statement, but upon interrogating my surgeon dad, learned that it is actually standard procedure in bypass surgery. I shall restore some points to the nonexistent tally.
On page four, we receive the first instance of the word “giggle.” I have a special streak of disgust reserved for this word, like other people with “moist.” It’s so girly and disempowering and makes me want to tell a poop joke just to counteract it (sorry, mom) and…exactly the word that personifies this book. BLEH.
Eadlyn chats with the in-house TV anchor Gavril before going on the televised Report, asking if the Selection really works: “He shrugged. ‘Yours is the third I’ve seen, and I can’t tell you how it works, how a lottery can bring in a soul mate.'” They claim that it works, but I think this random article Google gave me about the Bachelor and Bachelorette couples that are still together would beg to differ. It’s been a while since AP Statistics, but I don’t think 35 boys is a statistically significant sample of the population to be so certain a grouping of that size will bring you a soul mate.
Blah blah blah she updates the country on everything I gave you in the intro paragraph, including the fact that she is now acting as Regent while the king monitors the queen’s recovery. Then, remembering the reason we’re all here, she narrows the Selection field down to six (lucky?) young men: Gunner Croft (whom I remembered nothing about), Kile Woodwork (grew up in the palace, mystery as to how his name was submitted since he clearly didn’t do it himself), Ean Cabel (in the spirit of romance, has offered her bland platonic comfort if she chooses him), Hale Garner (fashionista), Fox Wesley (not sent home after he got into a fight) and Henri Jaakoppi (barely speaks English and relies on translator Erik; should definitely not still be here). They all give her flowers, awww, before she ditches them (hereinafter referred to as The Boys) for work.
Uncertain about her own capabilities, Eadlyn asks her unconscious mother, “‘Did you ever used to get it wrong? Say the wrong words, do the wrong things?'” Clearly she knows next to nothing about her own parents’ Selection, since readers know that America blew the approximately 8 million chances Maxon gave her before finally getting it together at the last possible second. As in, right before he almost proposed to someone else right before his parents were murdered last possible second. Not exactly a Selection to aspire to replicate.
She runs her first advisory board meeting, which is filled with pompous men trying to force Illéa into war with France because without his parents’ consent, Ahren’s elopement was treasonous. We have hit Mach 1 of the ridiculousometer. Author Kiera Cass, whom I’m sure is a lovely person, seems like a prime candidate for the “least likely author to write a war into her books” award. I know there were some rebel attacks in the first three, but let me just say what we’re all thinking: none of us care about the politics of Illéa. Bring back The Boys.
Exhibiting a shocking amount of common sense, Eadlyn points out that Ahren and Camille have been publicly in love for years and refuses to go to war. 10 points to Eadlyn-dor! She fires the butt-tastic ringleader adviser and finds an ally in Lady Brice.
Neena, whom it took a long moment for me to recall is Eadlyn’s maid, is promoted to lady-in-waiting. Swaglicious. Eadlyn deigns to swing ’round the Men’s Parlor for a chat with Kile, who offers sage words on why crap is like it is, including, “Being with your mom and monitoring her probably gives [King Maxon] a feeling of control when there’s absolutely none.” This bro is maybe 19 years old, according to the wonderful world of Wikis. I’m in my…not teens…and boast very few acquaintances that speak with the perfectly poised eloquence that all The Boys persistently draw upon. Color me skeptical. You doubt? Walk through a high school.
Cue a surprise visit from Marid Illéa, whom I cannot for the life of me recall if he appeared in The Heir, but cunningly deduced from his last name that he descended from the original founder of the kingdom. Apparently his father and King Maxon had quite the spat and the families haven’t spoken in years. Anyway, he comes bearing get well gifts and goodwill. In a super smooth move, he gives Eadlyn his phone number.
Eadlyn bemoans the fact that her bath has “no lavender, no bubbles, no anything to sweeten the water.” Wait for it…wait…nope, the sympathy train is stuck at the station. Little brothers Kaden and Osten (a name I cannot read without first seeing “ostrich”) stop by to get the lowdown on their mom’s health, since nobody bothers to tell them anything. They end up having a slumber party in Eadlyn’s room, which I guess is a pretty cool big sister thing to do. Another 10 points to Eadlyn-dor!
Welcome to the riveting setting of…the breakfast table. Eadlyn lays the path to positive group bonding by exchanging childhood stories with her brothers and The Boys. -10 points for convenient plot device for character development.
THE QUEEN WAKES UP! Swaglicious. Eadlyn’s spirits are lifted and she’s looking forward to tonight’s date with Kile. Seriously? They just left breakfast. What do The Boys do all day? Once you notice it, it’s really quite impossible to ignore. Assuming we buy the story of The Girls of the first 3 Selection books just sitting around all day, it is much harder to believe the same for six boys in the 16-24 demographic. Eadlyn ignores them SO MUCH, and they just. Take it. Something about respecting her position and letting her come to them, but I don’t buy that they’re as calm and content twiddling their thumbs as they’re made out to be. You want a real life partner, Eady? Give them a chance to actually pursue you.
Coming soon…Chapters 6-10!