Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Betrothal

The Betrothal (The Seven Kingdoms #4)The Betrothal by Cordelia Castel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth entry of Cordelia Castel’s Seven Kingdoms series opens with protagonist Cendrilla, Rilla for short, taking shock at hearing her birth mother is alive, with her promised husband Lord Bluebeard having more details, except is lifeless, with a kiss necessary to bring him back. There’s some good backstory on the Snow Queen, along with details on Rilla’s lineage, with Rilla further seeking to relocate witches in the Steppe, since the United Kingdom of Seven executes those with magical capability. Rilla surprisingly shows a caring side for Lord Bluebeard, contrary to their antagonism in prior books.

Rilla finds out that her hand in marriage had already been promised before Lord Bluebeard to another, King Rhinoceros of the Glaciers, although she can potentially nullify the marital contract if she is victorious in battle against him, consequentially seeking training in the art of swordsmanship. Another element potentially helpful to Rilla in her quest to weasel her way out of marriage to King Rhinoceros is the revelation of the location by Rumpelstiltskin of the monarch’s disembodied heart, and she seeks other allies in the forthcoming conflict as well, with the fated battle ending the book.

All in all, while I felt that this series was in a bit of a decline after reading the third book, the revelations about Rilla’s lineage definitely refresh the literary franchise, and the battles contain good action and description, with the fourth entry like its precursors scarcely being shy about its fairytale inspirations. There is a slight bit of confusion at times, for instance, regarding some elements such as one of the characters being turned into a cheek-rat, but I would definitely recommend this entry to those who enjoyed its predecessors, and the series still holds interest for me.

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