Review: The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

A would-be queen. A handsome young king. A perfect match…or is it?

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.

Beware! This review contains spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Also, prepare for my 100% honest, unsugarcoated thoughts. This is not only a review, but also a rant!

Well…. I was warned.

Like every other die hard Selection fan, I was thrilled when I found out that Kiera Cass was releasing another novel. I immediately pre-ordered my copy, signed up for pre-order swag, and marked my calendar for the book’s release date. But then came the suspiciously vague book blurb. And the average 3 star Goodreads rating. AND the many angry booktube rants that I refrained from watching in attempts to avoid spoilers.

I thought that despite the countless negative reviews rolling in, I would still enjoy this book. After all, I loved the Selection series, so how could I not enjoy The Betrothed? Before even bothering to read them, I concluded that all of the negative reviews for the book were utter foolishness. I brushed off all of the warnings given to me by my poor reader friends who were just trying to spare me from going through the inevitable pain and disappointment that this book would inflict upon me, and I instead happily awaited the arrival of my pre-ordered copy.

How very naive of me.

I know I would have saved myself a whole lot of suffering if I had just listened to my friends, but, alas, here we are.

My thoughts in short? The Betrothed is complete garbage.

Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe this book. It lacked literally everything I loved about The Selection, including a well developed romance, fast pacing, and (you won’t believe it!) an ACTUAL PLOT. There’s a reason why this book’s synopsis is so vague: It’s because The Betrothed truly has no plot at all. None. Nothing of importance happens until the very end of the book, and even then, my dislike for the characters resulted in me really not caring. And it didn’t help that the pacing and development of the plot were absolutely terrible as well. There was very little world-building to add substance to the story, and random events in the plot would just be shoved in my face with no explanation at all… How was I supposed to make sense of what was happening if no background information was provided? Not only that, but Hollis, THE MAIN CHARACTER, didn’t seem to care much when these “big events” occured, so naturally, I didn’t either. If there are no high stakes for the main character, there aren’t any for us readers either, and there is therefore nothing to keep us turning the pages.

Hollis herself was a pain to read about. Half of her characterization was just descriptions of how pretty she was. Like, we get it. You’re rich, attractive, and have a bunch of hot guys drooling over you. Your life must be nice.

Let me just say this: If you’re considering picking this book up because you enjoyed the Selection, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. The two books are such polar opposites, they could literally be written by different authors.

But one thing the books DO have in common are their horrible love triangles.

The love triangle in The Betrothed was a complete mess, to say the least. I hated love interest #1, King Jameson, and his relationship with Hollis. Their courtship was very unromantic, and the two of them had literally no chemistry. I didn’t like Jameson at all, but I’ll cut Kiera Cass some slack here, because I’m pretty sure she intended for her readers to dislike him. By the end of the book, it was clear he was written out to be some sort of villain, but his motives were very one dimensional. I would’ve been able to bypass that if Cass had given us an AMAZING love interest #2 like she did in The Selection, but unfortunately, she did not. This dude was so bland and forgettable that I legit can’t remember his name. Whoops. I guess it doesn’t matter because love interest #2 was killed off anyways… But that leads me to wonder: why introduce an important character to the story if you’re just going to kill him off and give him a “devastating death” even though he literally wasn’t developed at all? Honestly, this mess of a love triangle makes the love triangle in The Selection seem absolutely amazing. The only problem I had with the love triangle in The Selection was that there was one love interest who the main character was obviously supposed to be with, defeating the whole purpose of the trope. In The Betrothed, however, neither love interest had much chemistry with Hollis… so who were we supposed to root for?

In all of my cynical reviews, I try to think of at least one positive thing to mention. But this book has literally NO redeeming qualities. Well… Friendships and familial relationships were very poorly developed (surprise, surprise), but at least they were strong themes in the book??? I don’t know guys, I’m really grasping at straws here.

It just baffles me how this book was edited and proof-read by SO MANY people, but it somehow still ended up being this sh*tty. It really disappoints me when big-name authors like Kiera Cass slap together horrible stories like this one and publishers release them anyways just as money grabs. We readers deserve better.

I really wish I hadn’t wasted my time reading this monstrousity of a book, as there are so many lesser-known authors out there who I could have been reading from instead.

If you haven’t read The Betrothed yet, but you’re thinking about doing so in the near future, PLEASE: Don’t make the same mistake I did!

Reading this book will result in nothing but disappointment.

Review Policy – Book Snacks

16 thoughts on “Review: The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

  1. melbraxton says:

    You’re review seems on-par with most of what I’ve read. And it makes me sad. I’m disappointed Cass didn’t produce a stronger book this time around. And, as you mention, I really don’t understand how a book can go through this many rounds of editing and not have a plot, but maybe there is a part of that process I just can’t see. But for now, I’m baffled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Octavia @ Mermaid Reads says:

      Someone pointed out to me that maybe her agent was pressuring her to get something new out quickly? If so, I feel bad for her. But still, things don’t seem to add up! I don’t get how an author can go from producing an amazing, best-selling series to publishing something as awful as The Betrothed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • melbraxton says:

        That seems like a realistic possibility, I guess I’m disappointed the publisher forced this book through when it clearly wasn’t ready. I really hope Cass has better success with her next release, she’s so talented.

        Liked by 1 person

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