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  • Writer's pictureNicole Courtney

BOOK REVIEW: The Princess Trials by Cordelia Castel

Princess Trials by Cordelia Castel

Author: Cordelia Castel

Published by: Amazon Kindle on May 2nd, 2020

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Young Adult // Fantasy

*Disclaimer* I feel it's very important to mention that while I rant about this book, I did enjoy the read. I am simply stating my opinion on what I liked/disliked about a book and you are free to like this book or any book for that matter. Read what you like. It's by no means an attack/reflection on you. Just go and read what you enjoy. Period.


Thirty young women. A handsome prince. A battle to the death

Water is scarce. Deserts have taken over the land. Nuclear war has devastated humanity. Humans live in walled super cities to keep out the irradiated. The land that was formerly known as America is divided into kingdoms ruled by royal elites.

Born into the lowest Echelon of the Kingdom of Phangloria, sixteen-year-old Zea Calico faces a life of hunger, thirst, and toil. The only way out of this drudgery is revolution, and Zea is desperate to help the cause.

When the palace calls for candidates to compete to marry Prince Kevon, Zea joins the Princess Trials to search the palace for weaknesses.

The trials should be a fairytale of sumptuous meals, ball gowns, and romance, but one misplaced word causes Zea to attract the Prince's attention. When Zea uncovers the man beneath Prince Kevon's public facade, she is at risk of falling in love and losing sight of her mission.

But the televised beauty pageant turns deadly, and Zea must fight for survival.

This story is what would happen if The Selection, Hunger Games, and The Red Queen had a baby.

Now, it intrigued me. As much as I liked the Selection, I thought this one would have more action and I was not disappointed.


  • It filled the void I had after reading The Selection. Young girl competing for the hand of the Prince? Count me in!

  • Slow-burning romances? Yes!

  • I listened to the audiobook ( one of my goals for 2021 is to listen to more) and the narrator did such a good job. I could really hear Zea’s voice through the narration. It was a relaxing read.


Ok, so I normally hate ranting about books and as stated before I enjoyed this book. I really did. There were some parts however that I feel I need to rant about.

  • Zea’s obsession with Rice Wintergreen. In context, Rice is a leader of the rebels and gives Zea a mission to go undercover and seduce Prince Kevon and find ways into the palace. Not a spoiler as it's introduced pretty much in chapter 1. How many times does Zea need to tell us how much she ‘loves’ Rice Wintergreen? Like I get it. We don’t need it every other chapter! Also Rice for a name? That did not help making him sound like a hottie and a love interest for our heroine. I think hearing it via audiobook made it funnier for me!

  • Why oh why is everyone so stereotypical in this book? The nobles are fake, the harvesters are good? Our dear Zea has to mention how unfair everything is ( being from the lowest class). This is similar to the issues I had with The Red Queen ( hence why it reminded me of it). Like it's so black and white you get tired of Zea ranting about how bad the nobles are to her! What would have worked better is that if maybe some nobles might not have been how she expected them- make the character doubt/challenge stereotypes! Nearly 27 perhaps I am just getting old…

  • How dumb easy the main character starting a revolution is. Like she thinks if she finds these passages and gives them to Rice then a revolution is guaranteed to happen. It's always like ‘when the revolution happens’ e.c.t Like no! Just because you reveal some passages does not guarantee you will start a revolution! I’m pretty sure it's not that simple!

  • Wanting to start/take part in a revolution for the chance with a crush? Do I need to even say anything? Zea wants to help Rice cause a revolution because he is hot. Not even hiding it.

  • So the harvesters ( lowest class) are kept under control because they are limited to water. Except that water is an essential resource to people surviving and by limiting water the nobles limit the harvesters gathering enough harvest and this works...I mean what? It does not make sense and also I’m sure it's not feasible? How has this empire not collapsed?

  • The foundlings ( people with disabilities, any fault) are not allowed to live in society. That is part of a plot and that has its own issues. Like Zea meets one and the way their dialogue goes and how he sounds it's just. Well, disrespectful really. While Zea redeems herself for a few thoughts ( literally) in thinking it's not their fault for the way they are, just the way that the book talks about them is not right. The emphasis on genetic perfection really put me off. Words like ‘mutant’ are used and it was just not pleasant to hear.


I did not talk about the Prince much did I? Prince Kevon is another Maxon except less memorable. He is not like Zea expected him (did not see that one coming) but he does not do too much in this book. He just exists and I could not tell that he was supposed to be another main character. I did not like him or dislike him.

Overall, I did enjoy this book but it has its flaws. Would I have read the physical book? Probably not, but since I committed to the audiobook, I thought it was worth finishing.

Have you had a chance to read The Princess Trials?

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments!

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