Title: The Betrayed
Series: The Betrothed #2
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: June 29th, 2021 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Can you follow your heart when it’s already broken?
After fleeing Coroa and leaving the memory of her beloved Silas behind, Hollis is unsteadily adjusting to life in Isolte. The Eastoffe family’s affection is a balm on her weary spirit, though Etan, a surly cousin with a deep distaste for Coroans, threatens to upset the uneasy peace she’s found.
While tensions at home ratchet up, disquiet in the kingdom of Isolte is reaching a fever pitch. The Eastoffes may have the power to unseat a tyrannical king—but only with Hollis’s help.
Can a girl who’s lost it all put the fate of her adopted homeland over the secret longings of her heart?
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Having fled Coroa following the devastating attack on her wedding day, Hollis tries to adjust to life in Isolte with the help of the Eastoffes her new, and only remaining family, though their cousin Etan is less than welcoming. Things are tense in Coroa, but there is no peace to be found in Isolte either, as unrest in the kingdom is high. The Eastoffes and their cousins, the Northcotts may have the power to dethrone the tyrannical King Quentin – if they can find proof that he was the one who ordered the massacre of the Eastoffes. Hollis finds herself in a foreign court not particularly friendly to Coroans, and she must navigate this dangerous situation to find the information that will help gain justice for Silas and her family.
I cannot wrap my head around the thought that something like this book could come from an experienced author like Kiera Cass. If you’ve read my review for The Betrothed, you might remember that I was less than impressed with it. Cass redeemed herself a little with this book, but in my opinion, it wasn’t by much. The positives first though – it was nice to see another piece of this world in the royal court of Isolte and the political tensions that the Eastoffes had to maneuver through. Hollis as a character grew by leaps and bounds from the vapid girl we first met and she was so much more mature which also helped make the dialogue more engaging. However, the strong sisterly relationship that has developed between Hollis and Scarlet was my favorite thing about this book.
Here’s the thing though. The timelines of this story are way too quick and as a result, the characters, mostly Hollis, don’t appear to be having appropriate reactions to what is happening. When Hollis and the Eastoffes arrive in Isolte, it is about a week since the events of the wedding, and it’s like Hollis just remembers to be sad from time to time about Silas, and yet she’s bickering back and forth – and falling in love – with Etan and the whole situation is ridiculous. I half suspected and feared that this was the direction the romance subplot would take and I’m not happy to be proven right. I had hoped for a Hollis in search of the truth, wanting to avenge Silas’ murder and not getting entangled in yet another relationship, but no luck there. That said, Kiera Cass writes really good romances, and despite it not making much sense in other aspects, I did enjoy seeing the relationship between Hollis and Etan grow. It didn’t feel as insta-lovey as it did with Silas which was a relief.
The Coroan court is barely present, and becomes central to the plot only towards the end, which was a bit disappointing since I was hoping to see more of what was going on with Jameson during all of this and also Delia Grace who was such an interesting character in the first book. The Eastoffes and the Northcotts were great, and I thought it was lovely how supportive of Hollis they were. The one thing that would have been really good to have was an additional POV, either for Etan or someone in the Coroan court as seeing everything through only Hollis’ perspective leaves the reader lacking a lot of information this time.
There was a major twist towards the end, but it was pretty heavily foreshadowed, and even without it, I’d already predicted it at the end of book one. It was revealed at the perfect moment in the story though, so if you weren’t paying attention to the smaller details, it would be quite a shock. The way this twist was resolved however, was…I don’t know whether to call it comical or convenient, but it should have been a bigger deal and taken more effort to fix than that!
And as for the ending of the book itself, it’s quite obvious very early on that Hollis is going to end up with Etan somehow, and while I’m all for happily ever after stories, I felt like this one was overly optimistic. In any real situation, the solution Hollis comes up with would never work, and besides, I would have respected this ending a lot more had Hollis stuck to her original plan. Overall, this was better than The Betrothed, though still not up to the mark. The Betrayed was a fast-paced and easy read, entertaining in its own way, but definitely not one I’m going to be rereading any time soon.
The Betrayed releases on June 29th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.
Other reviews in this series: