Published: May 5th, 2020
Read as: ebook, library loan
My rating: 1
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. (Goodreads)
“I’d said he couldn’t burn me. I still believed that. If I was going to go up in a flame, it would be my own doing.”
Let me begin by saying likely the only kind thing I will write this entire review. I read Cass’s The Selection series in late 2019 and while it was certainly problematic and relatively simple it had an element of fun to it that I enjoyed reading. I had hoped for another simple yet fun YA fantasy to get sucked up in.
That being said, The Betrothed was such a steaming pile of miserable, smelly, garbage.
In case you didn’t figure it out already, this is not going to be a kind review.
I genuinely cannot believe that this book was ever published. It seems like something that should have been tossed in the discard pile without a second glance. I’ve read more fulfilling fantasy stories on blogs and fan sites, ones that were infinitely more worthy of being picked up by a publisher.
Instead, riding the success of The Selection which only just managed to skirt the fridges of the trash dump without actually jumping in, Cass managed to sell The Betrothed. Did a respectable and accomplished editor ever take a single glance at this book? I very much doubt it. Perhaps then the garbage would have taken itself out.
This book, as you may expect, revolves largely around the betrothal of our lead character whose name I simply can’t be bothered to give a crap about to a young king. Said king’s father was a bully and a jerk and there is a history, supposedly, of the queen’s of the kingdom being fierce in their own right. However, new king is painted as kind and just but mostly he just comes off as a male chauvinist in a YA prince’s clothing. I felt like we were supposed to care about this young man and his heart’s desires. Instead I hoped he fell down a dark well without a Lassie to alert us to his accident.
That is to say, he is terrible.
He belittles the would be queen in small ways that eat away at her confidence and disregards any concerns she has. Of course he gives her lavish gifts which are supposed to make up for this and she accepts them with a grin and a giggle. I never could figure out if we, the reader, are supposed to care about their relationship or if we are supposed to hate it. Mostly, I was just bored by it with some significant eye rolls thrown in.
Fine, I looked up the girl’s name. Hollis has the emotional range of a teaspoon. She is supposed to be so interesting and unique that the king falls in love with her. Instead it seems like the king finds someone he can emotionally manipulate and fixates on her. Her main traits are giggling, making bad decisions, and constantly asking other people for help. Oh, not to mention an unhealthy dose of cheating which we are apparently supposed to find romantic. I’ve met turnips with more sense than this girl has.
Of course, being a YA romantic fantasy, there is a love triangle. Because Hollis’s relationship with the king isn’t unbelievable enough lets make someone else fall in love with her simple, thoughtless drivel. The third point of this triangle is equally as interesting as Hollis. That is to say, not at all. I guess they were perfect for each other.
Throughout the entire book none of the characters felt in any way relatable. Everything was so simple and up until the last fifty pages or so absolutely nothing adverse happens. Even then there wasn’t enough of a back story to give a crap about the drama that happens. Every so often the author would hint at something happening in the background that would add some spark and pizzazz to the story. Sadly, these moments were never explored and we continue on with the incredibly lackluster cast.
This book features shallow characters, emotional abuse, lacks a real plot, and left me feeling disgusted. If you enjoyed The Selection, please, save yourself the disappointment and steer well clear of this book.