The Betrothed by Kiera Cass – I Need to Rant (ARC Review)

Caitsbooks Reviews The Betrothed by Kiera Cass - 2.5 Stars

Overall: 2.5/5 Stars
Characters: 2/5
Setting: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Plot and Themes: 3/5
Awesomeness Factor: 2/5
Review in a Nutshell: This was… disappointing. Maybe my hopes were too high, maybe I wanted too much from it, but all I know is that I really wish it was better.

“If you wish to stand next to the first, by all means. You’re the one who’ll be burned.”

[ Related: Best March Reads + April TBR – Quarantine Reading ]

The Betrothed Cover: Girl in gold dress, looking off to the side. "The Betrothed". "#1 Bestselling Author of The Selection". "Kiera Cass".

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Cheating, Domestic Abuse, Murder, Miscarriage (Mention), Racial Slur (more information here)//

Release Date: 5/5/2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 400

The Betrothed follows Hollis, a girl who has caught the eye of the king. Everything seems to be going well, as it looks like King Jameson will soon propose, but life as a queen is not what Hollis expected. Or wanted. After meeting a stranger who she finds herself drawn to, she must decide what she wants for her future.

“Not only would he make you a queen… he would make you a legend.”

Read more for all of my thoughts of The Betrothed (including all the details on why I’m disappointed by it)

Writing & Setting

The writing in this book is… fine. Just fine. There’s nothing outstanding or impressive with it, yet nothing that bothered me. It just existed. It served its purpose, and that was all.

As for the setting- I guess it did that too? Except, barely. The world building was weak. I have very little understanding of this world, beyond the two main countries that are discussed. I’m assuming there’s more than Coroa and Isolte, because people occasionally refer to kingdoms other than the two, but I can’t tell you anything about them. To be honest, I’d struggle to tell you much about Coroa and Isolte to begin with, and what little I do know felt like small fun facts that had no impact on the characters who live there, or the plot.

I do want to mention one other thing relating to the writing and setting: there are a few times where they use the world “G*ypsies”. Many Romani consider this word a slur, and it really upset me to see it mentioned three separate times in the book. It was also used with negative connotations, discussing thieves and murderers. How did the publisher let that slide by?

“In the end, we made enemies with our heads, but we unmade them with our hearts.”


Ah, the plot. I can’t decide if this book needed to be split into two books, or if it didn’t even have enough plot for one. The first half of the book was slower, as we get used to the characters and the world, but the second half flew by.

Things were happening so fast, that they seemed to lose meaning. Everything flew at me, and I never got a chance to process it before the next major event happened. Some small moments of normalcy between the life-altering events would have been great, so those huge events could have an impact.

There was a scene that could have made me cry. Could have. But with the rushed pace, and the issues with the characters (I’ll get into that next), it meant almost nothing to me.

“Even in the night, you are still my sun, bringing light to my world.”


The characters are where I take my greatest issue with this book. Our main character, Hollis, is actually okay. She’s optimistic, hopeful, and free-spirited. I enjoyed seeing this world from her perspective, and she was well rounded and had decent character development. We had a couple of other semi-deep characters: Valentina was fantastic and I wish she had a bigger role in the book (hopefully that will change in book two), and Delia Grace was really interesting. As for the rest, they were one-dimensional, if that.

This book is based on a love triangle, and I can honestly say I don’t care about either of the love interests. Especially the main one, which is really, really sad. I like him in theory, but I feel like I only know him that way. In theory. He had less than ten conversations with Hollis. They have one of the worst cases of insta-love I’ve seen. It’s just hard for me to picture Hollis doubting everything because of a guy she has barely even spoken to! It makes the second half of the book seem so unbelievable.

I feel like important scenes were cut, or maybe trimmed, because it’s like I’m missing something. I don’t know who these people are, below the surface. Hell, I barely know them on the surface only. Which makes it so hard when bad things happen because I just don’t care about them. And I wanted to care, so, so bad.

Also, I want to briefly mention; there is absolutely no steam. We were lied to.

“If I was going to go up in flames, it would be my own doing.”


Pros- Interesting premise, so much potential, surprising ending
Cons- A racial slur is used, the characters are flat, the pacing is either too slow or too fast, and the worldbuilding is weak
Overall- 2.5/5 stars.
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to love it so bad. But it disappointed me in so many ways.

If You Liked The Betrothed, I’d Recommend:

What is one book you really wanted to like, but still disappointed you?

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9 responses to “The Betrothed by Kiera Cass – I Need to Rant (ARC Review)”

  1. I TOTALLY agree!!! The whole time, I didn’t know what was so special with Silas. He had what, 8 conversations with Hollis? And that was enough to throw her entire life away and then literally lose what she ran away for? I would have rathered Jamison for her. I feel like I would be okay with it if it was split into 2 books. Then there may have been more chemistry between Hollis and Silas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES THANK YOU!!! I have a feeling Jameson has some sort of dark secret and that’s why we’re not supposed to like him, because otherwise he seems like a decent match. Her and Silas has no chemistry, but yeah, maybe if it was broken up into two books they could have been better.


  2. Hello,
    I hope this isn’t out of place but I was wondering if you had the hardcopy arc of this and if you would be willing to trade it?


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