I don´t know what to say or think of this novel except for what in the world was that all about? This novel started with chapters that reminded me very much of another book I´ve read some years ago. This tells me that the idea behind Kiera Cass´s plot in this one isn´t new. And after I´ve finished it I still do not know what to think of it. Yes, there is some action in this book. And yes, some of the scenes or dialogues I might have enjoyed reading – but else? Sorry, but I cannot share the general enthusiasm for this book.  

by Kiera Cass
Promised Dilogy #1
Translation Angela Stein
Original Title The Betrothed**
Publisher Fischer Sauerländer on May 7, 2020
Genre Young Adult
Pages 351
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

Hollis has reached the goal of her dreams: the king lies at her feet and reads her every wish from her eyes. He will announce her engagement at any moment, and soon she will be queen – the most powerful and richest woman on the continent. But then a mysterious stranger appears and a secret kiss changes Hollis´ whole world. The eyes of the people are on the future queen. And nobody knows what storms are raging in her while she smiles. (personal translation ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Hollis´ only plan in life is to make the king fall in love with her and become the queen of his kingdom. A plan that seemed so simple in the beginning but now seems anything but that. The more time Hollis spends at the palace and in the company of the king the more she gets the impression that once she will be queen, her life won´t be as easy going and quiet as she likes it to be. And though it is obvious to her and others that the king adores her she feels instinctive, that things will change dramatically if she can´t turn things around to her advantage. 

A lavish lifestyle and behavior, money, status, and power are everything. Girls must be beautiful, well-dressed, and better have no brain to think or speak. Otherwise, they are useless for their parents. Something that bothered me. Good, the main figures show that they do have some brain to think and that they know how to use it. But to see that they were nothing more, but puppets was a bit saddening. The other thing that bothered me was the fact, that I often had the feeling that I´ve had missed something. Too often Hollis and Delia Grace referred to things that had obviously happened in the past and to which I could find no connection. Should I have read the author´s Selection series to better understand all the little clues Hollis was thinking about?

No doubt, the book started with a very fast-paced story and it was kind of entertaining to read about the life Hollis had at the palace. But then the entire story became as flat as a paper and shallow. That changed again towards the end where the main figure starts to see how things really are and that she is the only one who can do something about it. At a high price.

Kiera Cass has created figures in this novel that are shallow, envious, and disappointed. But they fit perfectly into the ongoing plot. Good, I couldn´t get rid of the feeling that I´ve seen them in another story already but ok. Some of them show real heart but that is the minority. Hollis is a real beauty and you can tell the way she behaves and thinks, that she´s never experienced real sorrow, pain, or worries. She wants to do everything to get out of her parents’ house but on the other hand, she is an almost desperate longing for her parents’ approval and pride. It isn´t until the very end that she learns the hard way what she had missed all her life.

This novel gave me the impression that the author either forgot her readers to tell what had happened before that lead to the action in this book – in an e.g. prolog – or that this story should have come with the info that it is absolutely necessary to have read the Selection series before putting a hand on this one. I was more than once literally hanging in the air when the main figure thought about things that had apparently happened in the past but was obviously essential for the ongoing plot. I don´t doubt that the author has a wonderful fantasy and the ability to create a universe of her own. Unfortunately, not this time. I had my troubles finding not only access to all the figures but the story itself as well. And the few scenes and dialogues I enjoyed couldn´t keep the rest of the novel from being the only average. Sad. So sad. Hopefully, the next book is better. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer Sauerländer in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Ein verschwenderischer Lebensstil und Verhalten, Geld, Status und Macht sind alles. Mädchen müssen schön und gut gekleidet sein und besser kein Gehirn zum Denken oder Sprechen haben. Sonst sind sie für ihre Eltern nutzlos. Das hat mich etwas gestört. Gut, die Hauptfiguren zeigen, dass sie ein Gehirn zum Nachdenken haben und wissen, wie man es benutzt. Aber zu sehen, dass sie nichts weiter als Marionetten waren, war ein bisschen traurig. Das andere, das mich störte, war die Tatsache, dass ich oft das Gefühl hatte, etwas verpasst zu haben. 

Hollis und Delia Grace bezogen sich zu oft auf Dinge, die offensichtlich in der Vergangenheit passiert waren und zu denen ich keine Verbindung finden konnte. Hätte ich die Selection Serie der Autorin lesen sollen, um all die kleinen Hinweise besser verstehen zu können, über die Hollis nachgedacht hat? Zweifellos begann das Buch mit einem schnellen Lesetempo und es war unterhaltsam über das Leben, das Hollis im Palast führte, zu lesen. Aber dann wurde die Geschichte flach wie Papier und seicht. Das änderte sich erst gegen Ende wieder, als die Hauptfigur zu erkennen begann, wie die Dinge wirklich sind und dass sie die Einzige ist, die etwas dagegen tun kann. Zu einem hohen Preis. 

Kiera Cass hat in diesem Roman Figuren geschaffen, die flach, neidisch und enttäuscht sind. Aber sie passen perfekt in die laufende Handlung. Gut, ich konnte das Gefühl nicht loswerden, dass ich sie schon in einer anderen Geschichte gesehen habe, aber gut. Einige von ihnen zeigen echtes Herz, aber das ist die Minderheit. Hollis ist eine echte Schönheit und man kann sagen, so wie sie sich verhält und denkt, dass sie nie echte Trauer, Schmerzen oder Sorgen erlebt hat. Sie möchte alles tun, um aus dem Haus ihrer Eltern herauszukommen, aber andererseits sehnt sie sich fast verzweifelt nach der Zustimmung und dem Stolz ihrer Eltern. Erst am Ende lernt sie auf die harte Tour, was sie ihr ganzes Leben lang vermisst hat.

Dieser Roman vermittelte mir den Eindruck, dass die Autorin entweder vergessen hatte ihren Lesern zu erzählen, was vorher passiert war, was zur Handlung in diesem Buch führte – z. B. in einem Prolog – oder dass diese Geschichte mit der Information hätte kommen müssen, dass es absolut notwendig ist, die Selection Serie gelesen zu haben, bevor man diesen Roman in die Hände nimmt. Ich hing mehr als einmal buchstäblich in der Luft, als die Hauptfigur über Dinge nachdachte, die anscheinend in der Vergangenheit passiert waren, aber offensichtlich für die laufende Handlung wesentlich waren. Ich bezweifle nicht, dass die Autorin eine wunderbare Fantasy und die Fähigkeit hat, ein eigenes Universum zu erschaffen. Leider diesmal nicht. Ich hatte Probleme, nicht nur Zugang zu allen Figuren zu finden, sondern auch zur Geschichte selbst. Und die wenigen Szenen und Dialoge, die ich genossen habe, konnten den Rest des Romans nicht davon abhalten, nur durchschnittlich zu sein. Traurig. So traurig. Hoffentlich ist das nächste Buch besser.

**The novel was published in English by Harper Collins Children´s Books on May 5, 2020. 

Kiera Cass
Kiera Cass ©Suzanne Plafcan

Kiera Cass was born in South Carolina, USA and now lives in Christiansburg, Virginia with her husband and two children. She is a graduate of Radford University and with her “Selection” novels, she has made it onto the bestseller lists worldwide. If she could wish for a crown, then it would be made “from the (joyful) tears of her readers”.



  1. I kind of want to read this book but I've had issues with The Selection trilogy so maybe I shouldn't...

    1. Guess, you are right. Just trust your instincts on this...


Note: By submitting your commentar, you accept that the comment you write, and the personal information associated with it (e.g. username, email address, linked profile on Google/Wordpress) will be transmitted to Google servers. You can find more information in my privacy policy and in Google´s Privacy Policy.

Hinweis: Mit dem Abschicken deines Kommentars akzeptierst du, dass der von dir geschriebene Kommentar und die personenbezogenen Daten, die damit verbunden sind (z.B. Username, E-Mail-Adresse, verknüpftes Profil auf Google/Wordpress) an Google-Server übermittelt werden. Weitere Informationen dazu findest du in meiner Datenschutzerklärung und in der Datenschutzerklärung von Google.