"THE SELECTION STORIES: The Prince and The Guard," by Kiera Cass, HarperTeen, $8.99, 240 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)
These two novellas, combined to make one rather slim book, don't entirely quench the thirst of those waiting for "The One," the final book in Kiera Cass' Selection trilogy, but they provide a short-term fix.
They are most welcome and give a different perspective of some of the previous events.
In "The Prince and The Guard," the story of "The Selection" is told from Prince Maxon's and Aspen Leger's points of view.
Prince Maxon is the eligible bachelor looking for a wife. Leger is America Singer's first love.
Singer is the contestant from a lower caste. She's a Five destined to become a One if she wins Maxon's heart. She's also feisty, not happy to be competing and not willing to kowtow to the palace rules and expectations.
The stories closely follow the events of the first two books in this young adult series, so they cover familiar ground as 35 girls are chosen to come to the palace in Illea and compete to win the love of Prince Maxon and the title of princess.
Critical moments in the first two novels are retold: Singer trying to escape to the gardens, Singer assaulting the prince when she misunderstands his intentions and Singer's attempt to stop a caning.
It's interesting and illuminating to see the story from Prince Maxon's side.
It's also quite educational to see the relationships from Asper Leger's eyes, to understand one of his early decisions that basically catapulted Singer into the Selection contest and also to recognize that he's always been committed to her.
The stories, though necessarily brief, are absorbing.
Plus, included are an extended ending, a peek into the first chapters of "The One" and a question and answer with the author.
Some may see this as simply another way to make money off the same stories, but it's moderately priced and, again, those who are following the adventures and the love story won't mind at all.
The novellas are written in Cass' simple, crisp, readable style and have clean language and are nicely paced. There is some violence as the rebels try to take over the palace, mostly fisticuffs. The relationships don't stray past kissing.
Mothers of young daughters need not fear if their children read this.
This book can easily be added to the collection.