Going into this, I had read the two "prequel" novellas, and was largely confused overall. Upon finishing this, I still had that pervasive confusion, but also had the total apathy to finish the series!
This book has been billed as Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale meets The Selection. Now, I've never read Margaret Atwood's book, but I have read The Selection, and this is NOTHING like that! There is no world building done, which adds to the confusion, and the young women have no choice in being put up for auction. I was mostly bored with the discussions about the Lone City and the Founding Houses.
Violet was a very whiney and wimpy heroine. I couldn't see one thing that made her strong and worthwhile like America or even Katniss Everdeen was! Her "romance" was trite and almost insta-love, and the characterization was very superficial overall.
This just didn't impress me. I have the follow up novellas, so I'll likely read those at some point, but I doubt very seriously if I will read the rest of the novels.