The true tragedy of publishing is that successful authors are given a free ride to publishing their next book, regardless of the quality. Kiera Cass skyrocketed to fame with the publication of her series, The Selection. The original trilogy was a fun romp, mixing elements of The Bachelor with all the dystopian clichés – they weren’t the most groundbreaking books, but they were perfect for relaxing on a beach with. However, every book she has written since then has been a decline in quality. Finally, with The Betrothed, Cass has finally reached the point where her books have become a waste of paper.
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.
It sounds hyperbolic – but this is the worst young adult book I’ve ever read. There was nothing to like about this book – the writing was terrible, the characters were awful, and the plot was nonexistent. I can unequivocally say, this should not have made it to publication. The Betrothed reads like a terrible fanfiction that you give up on after half a chapter – It’s aimless, and just rambles through a handful of random events. The plot meanders at a snail’s pace, and there is no payoff at any point of the book.
Everything about this book is half-assed. A few examples:
- A love triangle was introduced, and promptly abandoned (providing no tension or will-they-won’t-they)
- There is literally no world building – the book feels like it starts part way through the story, and nothing about the setting is every described
- No chemistry between any of the characters
- A terrible ending (like something out of a failed teen soap opera)
- No description of any of the characters
- Cringe worthy dialog
- The heroine was set up like a chosen one type of character, but never really gives evidence why the King selected her to marry
- Terrible characters – no one is interesting, or redeemable, or even remotely worth reading about
- Virtually no plot – there were moments that the author clearly thought would be big ‘wow’ moments, but nothing was interesting or remotely entertaining about the plot
So, how the hell did a book this bad make it to publication? The only reason I can think of is the fact that Kiera Cass has been historically a very successful author. Despite a heavy media campaign (including promotion in Entertainment Weekly) and her past success (The Selection series has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide) – The Betrothed has been a veritable flop – currently only standing at 6500 Goodreads reviews (with a 3-star average). It’s beyond sad that books like these get published because of the popularity of the author and not because of the quality of the book. Hopefully in the future, terrible books like these will not see the light of day, and instead new authors will have a chance to shine. 1/5