It’s amazing how much I loved The Selection by Kiera Cass but I only just liked The Elite. I was gung-ho for The Selection, even amidst all the drama surrounding it; I was all “yes, gimme the bachelor-esque drama and the hoopla and the rebels and a love triangle AND A PRINCE! Give it to me all, baby!” It ended satisfyingly and I was excited for The Elite.Then I received The Elite from the wonderful Stephanie at Cuddlebuggery and stared at the new beautfiul cover, longing to read its pages and find out what happens to America, Maxon and Aspen in book two. I finally peeked into the pages and am sucked into this weird, dystopian world once more.But it felt like Cass lost some of her book magic mojo between 1 and 2. The Elite picks up right after The Selection, with America pining for both boys, except the world is a bit darker and she doesn’t know where her heart is, and aptly so, this is a love triangle after all. And let me tell you, this isn’t a bad book. I like darker dystopian worlds, but it did feel like Cass struggled to make it dark, rather than it happening naturally. I’m not sure if the rebels are necessary to the story, or why they are always able to breach those damn walls. Come on, dudes, you live in a fucking castle, don’t you have guards with weapons? It felt like the castle staff, the guards and the royals were always running, but the threat still is not explained, other than “they dislike the government and The Selection process.” But what about it specifically do they dislike? It’s hinted near the end of The Elite what they might be after, but I don’t like when authors drag it out like that. You hooked me with book one, just start giving me answers already. Overall, the rebels feel like a convenient plot device to keep the conflict churning, but really, we already have lots of that with the girls. Cass, you don’t even need it.I did like how Cass began explaining the history of Ilea, and how the country got to the castes and everything. And I found it interesting that Maxon would lead America to those answers, even though he’s not really looked for them himself. Is he deliberately obtuse? Sometimes I think so, in more ways than one. Speaking of being obtuse, Maxon, get your head out of your ass. If I catch you kissing her one more time, I’m going to cut you.America did kind of annoy me in The Elite. She is less of the strong-willed person she was in The Selection and more of a puss: “Which boy do I want? How will I ever choose? I love them both!” First world problems, bitch. You’re in a palace. You could be a princess if you really wanted to, so quitcher crying and choose one. Beyond the boy issues, she was hit or miss for me….there was a lot of hit, especially with her ideas for the future, and a lot of miss, with her inability to make a freaking decision. And her ability to make really stupid ones. Sigh.And yet, I still feel the compulsion to read the next novel. I want it so badly, I can taste it. I yearn to read how the drama unfolds, to find out who she chooses (it had better be Maxon!) and if she’s made of nails or feathers. I’m rooting for America, because she deserves it.This review is also posted at Nerdhuffing.com. I received this ARC for review as a gift from Steph at Cuddlebuggery.