OK. So, I have conflicted feelings toward this book. I did not dislike it, but I also didn't love it. All in all, it was okay. I will say that the main reason it got 3 stars from me instead of 2 was because I really, really loved the way it ended. And there was a pretty big twist that caught me off guard.
I do not think comparing this book to The Selection is in ANY WAY accurate whatsoever. This book is much darker and more twisted than The Selection. I would say the writing is about equivalent (that is to say, not great), but that's about the only way in which I find them remotely comparable.
I found the love triangle to be forced (actually I'm pretty sure at least 3 guys were in love with Mare). And I mean VERY forced. I thought it made the book tedious at times, more often than not really. I do enjoy a well done love triangle, but this wasn't it. I spent the large majority of the book being annoyed by both princes and never buying into anybody's feelings for anybody else.
I was constantly left wanting more from this book. More world building. More characterization. More of everything. It read very superficially for me and I had trouble connecting with nearly all of the characters in nearly all of the situations in which they found themselves.
Two things saved this book for me: Mare and the ending. I really liked Mare's character. I think she was the only character who was very well fleshed out and seemed at all real, which made it impossible to really get to know anybody else. And I know she is the main protagonist, so we're supposed to know her better and more personally than everybody else. But I didn't care about one single other character in this book, because I didn't know any of them enough to give a crap about them. In some characters this made sense. As I said before, there was a big twist at the end, so in terms of some characters it made sense to not reveal much about them. But there was no complexity or any sort of dimensionality to the very large majority of the characters in the book. It was weird. This book was quite long and there were a lot of details and descriptions of people, but you didn't really get to SEE who many characters were with either their actions or dialogue. This to me is the mark of a book that could have been better written.
The conclusion was perfect. It had everything. I won't spoil anything, but if you can make it through all the crap in the middle of this book, I promise you won't be disappointed with the way it all ends.