Let me preface this review by saying I only managed to read two books in the Selection series. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was instantly attracted to it, mainly because I enjoy books that deal with royalty and court politics. And while this book had both it also felt…shallow, surface-level to point that there was little world-building.
Title: The Betrothed (The Betrothed #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Release date: May 5, 2020
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Length: 307 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “The young king of Coroa has never been the type to settle down—that is, until he meets Hollis Brite.
Hollis has grown up at Keresken Castle among the other daughters of nobility who hoped beyond hope that they’d catch the king’s eye. So when King Jameson declares his love for her, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled.
But she soon realizes that along with the extravagant presents and fawning attention, this new life brings outsized expectations—expectations that make her wonder if she’s really cut out for life as a royal.
With a visit from the king of Isolte on the horizon, Hollis sees a chance to prove to Jameson—and herself—that she has what it takes to be queen. But when she meets an Isolten stranger with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she wants is one she never dared to dream of.”
The characters were boring, too. There could have been so much more to this, but it seemed to lack entirely. Everyone felt very one dimensional. I expected more of Jameson, too, for him to really prove he is a good king and one that deserves Hollis (and vice versa). But that didn’t happen. In fact, Jameson seemed very shallow, as it’s stated very early on her flits from girl to girl all the time. I wonder how Hollis could think it meant he would be true to only her? And then his actions were very presumptuous considering he never really ask or officially stated that Hollis would marry him. It’s all based on assumptions.
As for Hollis’s “friends”… I don’t know. Delia Grace only seemed to align herself with Hollis based on what she could do for her and it all comes spilling out later. Again with the lack of depth for the characters. It’s like all the characters got ahead of themselves based on abstract ideas.
To be honest we really only get to the “good” part within the last 10 or so chapters. It almost felt out of the blue, too, because while we know there must be something different about Silas and his family, we don’t know the truth until close to the end of the book. The events there was out of nowhere but not even in a good plot twist kind of way. Sort of just…okay?
As for the writing, I think Cass lacks flare for description and basic character interaction. I found myself at times wondering about how a character could do something in one sentence and something completely different in the following. It didn’t add up. For me, there’s no fluidity in the writing and felt blocky at times.
I don’t think Cass is the writer for me, unfortunately, but I’m glad I decided to give her another chance despite not liking her previous books.