The Betrothed ARC Review! // a royal romance but no maxon :(

Hi friends! I’m super excited to be able to review this book for you so I hope you read on for my thoughts!

A huge thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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. 

Okay. So, I read the original Selection trilogy, and honestly? I enjoyed them! Were they literary masterpieces? No. Were they relatively entertaining? YES. So I was pretty hyped to hear that Kiera Cass was releasing a new royal romance series! And I do have um…thoughts.

You can definitely tell that Kiera Cass has improved her writing! It’s neither rich and lush nor bland and boring, but beautifully simple. I was able to easily envision the places and people she was describing without paragraphs of long adjective-y rants*.

*we do hate those adjective-y rants don’t we

Hollis is kind of bland BUT she is passionate about the things she loves. And she is nowhere near as obnoxious as America. On the other hand, JAMESON IS NOT MAXON AND I-

it’s fine. i’d probably be salty if he WERE like maxon anyways.

It’s hard to talk about the characters without spoiling, but I feel like Jameson could definitely have been developed more. While Hollis was a “just okay” sort of bland, Jameson felt like an unexplored character arc. Of course, this IS a series, so we’ll see! And the “mysterious commoner*” was better than Aspen.

*his name is silas

Something that really excited me was the world. I’m certain we’ll see at least one new kingdom in the sequel, and I enjoyed reading about several different traditions between two of the kingdoms.

Finally, I was lowkey kind of shocked by the ending??? The last 50 pages or so feels like whiplash compared to the slow sweetness of the rest of the book. I’m still not sure what to believe, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what the author does next.


The biggest problem with this book lies not in the flatness of the characters, nor the strangeness of the plotting. I can get over that. No, it’s the insta-love. Listen, if I bought a waffle every time I looked at one and felt the “tug of me heartstrings”, I’d be broke. Basically what I’m trying to say (in a weird waffle metaphor) is that I’m a little exhausted by simple eye contact and one or two conversations determining a whole romantic future.

buuuuuut all that aside…

I really didn’t care about several characters. In retrospect, almost everyone had a flat character arc. It was kind of like a reality tv show, but in the first episode where you don’t know anyone. Except it was an eternal first episode.

Again, the plotting felt kind of strange. I thought that the darker aspects felt a little contrived, so they didn’t have quite the impact they should have had.

In conclusion, I thought that this was entertaining enough. I love royalty in books, and this delivered on several fronts that The Selection lacked. On the other hand, it just wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. Tell me: are you excited for this? Have you read any of the author’s previous works? You can add this to Goodreads here or pre-order on Amazon!

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26 thoughts on “The Betrothed ARC Review! // a royal romance but no maxon :(

  1. This is a truly great review Kaya. It’s hard sometimes to explain in detail why a genuinely good but not great book has been rated that way. It’s always easier to do higher and lower reviews I think but you’ve nailed this one. I haven’t read anything by Cass yet but I liked the comparison you made between the writing style now and then. Fab post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad this had some redeeming qualities but I’m sorry that you had such major issues with it too. I think I can stomach insta-love if it feels genuine but sometimes it really does not. I am kind of intrigued by the kingdom though; I didn’t realize this would have included different kingdoms and traditions so that side of things is pretty interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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