Hey everyone!! School is FINALLY about 95% over and I’m so happy I finally have time to read!! I’ll try not to be too long because I have so many other stuff to read but this also might turn into a bit of a rant and also I always write way more than I intend at the beginning so. Either way, let’s get into the review!
Title: The Betrothed
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s book
Date published: May 5th 2020
Length: 400 pages
Content warning: death, misogyny
Find this book on Goodreads here!
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.
But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
*Thank you to ___ for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Alrighty. Let’s get right into it. First, I do have to say I was very, very excited for this book. I truly love the Selection (we don’t talk about the spinoff though…) and while I’m not a fan of love triangles I thought the one in the Selection was okay. In the end, the Selection was a series I read when I was very young and is probably one of the series that introduced me to YA; it has a special place in my heart. But I have to be honest here. This book… did not meet my expectations.
The beginning was fine. For the longest time, this book was in the three stars department: not great, but not too bad. I had mostly neutral feelings. However, it definitely didn’t hook me from the first word and I could already tell at 20% that it was not the kind of book I would stay up all night reading.
From the first moment, Hollis was the most confusing character ever. The first ten pages are about her being all like *I won’t be queen, whatever*, and then three pages later it’s all like *oh my god I might be queen how is this happening to me it’s amazing*. Annoying. I understand she didn’t want to get her hopes up but I just… no. Second of all, she literally does not care about the king at all. You might get the impression they’re in love, but she really only likes him because he’s cute. As I read, I realised more and more just how much I did not like her.
I’m just going to take a second to mention how similar to The Selection this book felt to me. The cute king who is nice to the protagonist, the other girls looking for his attention, she is sure she wants him and then another guy comes in and the protagonist doesn’t know what she wants anymore… never really knowing if she’ll be queen of not. Having to learn tons of stuff super fast for an event because she apparently never learned anything before. Anyway, super similar. And honestly, I wanted to rip my hair out like 90% of the time. Hollis CANNOT CHOOSE between the two men. It. drives. me. absolutely. insane. At that point, she had barely talked to the other dude, and the King was still nice to her and she still thought she loved him. There is no choice to make here buddy. Any sensible person would stay with the King and just live a nice life. Why you trying to mess everything up? I felt the exact same reading The Selection. But The Selection made it work. (Ultimately, I understood the choice she made, but being hesitant at the beginning just made no sense)
Most the characters – except Holly – were fine until a certain point. One by one, I started hating them. The King, although there were some little moments that told us this was coming, ended up making the ONE comment I couldn’t take. No spoilers, but UGH. I liked him before and he wasn’t even that bad but that just ruined everything! Kiera definitely did it on purpose, though. Delia Grace was fun and one of the only characters I liked until the one plot twist. Silas was just… weird. I’ll talk about why in a moment. His family was fine, but nothing particularly special. The only character I actually ended up really liking was Valentina, which was only actually present in the book for about 10% of it. Yikes.
The writing was mostly okay, although I did think it was a bit worse than Kiera’s other books? I don’t know, usually if the writing is good then I don’t really notice it, so if I do it’s either because I don’t like it (The Betrothed) or because I really like it (Shadow of the Fox). Using the world devilish twice in like 10 pages is too much for me.
But in the end two things actually bothered me, big time:
1 The romance. I’m sorry, but after The Selection, I was SO disappointed by the romance. Hollis and the King always felt weird, and I’m really trying not to give anything away but for half the book it worked out for me and the second part was just a no-no. I hate when the protagonist has a choice to make and one answer is SO OBVIOUS but she just can’t make a decision. Like I’ve said a thousand times it was annoying but fine in the Selection but this time around it just did not do it for me.
Hollis and Silas was just… I’m gonna say it. It was terrible romance. It absolutely came out of nowhere. One day she was completely head over heels for the King and the next she was in love for this other guy? Kiera kind of tries to explain it as love at first sight but at least in my opinion, it absolutely did not work. In the end, Silas was a second character I didn’t hate, but I didn’t love him either. He was just there. The romance was so bland (I have to admit, the whole book was), I did not find myself rooting for them and that was something I just really did not expect.
2 The plot twist. Obviously, no spoilers, so I won’t get into it too much, but I was just waiting for something, ANYTHING, to happen for the entire book, and that thing did not come. The plot twist that did come in the end felt useless and basically cancelled the efforts of everyone in the entire book. By that point, I didn’t really care for the characters and I was so, so tired of it the plot twist just left me like: “ok”. Definitely, absolutely not how a book is supposed to make you feel.
In the end, I just wouldn’t recommend this, and I’m not even sure I will read the second book when it comes. This was a huge disappointment and I liked The Siren a lot better. The Betrothed just felt super bland and I didn’t like any of the characters (almost). Sorry Kiera, love you, but this time it just work for me.
Of course, this is just my opinion! If you want to read it still, you might like it, so if you want to do give it a try.
Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think? If no, are you going to? I know this was a very anticipated book for a lot of people, and I really want to hear your thoughts so let me know down in the comments! Stay safe everyone! ❤️