Book Reviews

The Princess Trials by Cordelia K. Castel

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 504
Series: The Princess Trials #1
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Published: May 3, 2020


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, ballgowns, 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.


Water, not food, is the currency in our Echelon. Echelons are levels of society that define a person’s caste, social status, access to resources, and freedom.

Zea is a harvester. The harvesters are at the bottom of Phangloria’s system. The system consists of six echelons. Royals, Nobles, Guardians, Artisans, Industrials, and Harvesters make up the system. There are also the Foundlings that live outside until they prove they can contribute to society. Phangloria is a country in North America. They are separated from the desert by the Great Wall. The country only has one water source, the Oasis. The harvesters live the furthest from the Oasis.

The Princess Trials are an old tradition where the king and queen invite young women of any echelons to compete for the prince’s hand.

Infiltrate the palace, find the hidden entrances, and don’t fall in love with the handsome prince.

To help the revolution Zea enters the Princess Trials. There is only one problem. Harvesters never get picked.

This started out slow and at first, I didn’t know what to expect. In the synopsis, it says it’s a mixture of The Hunger Games and The Selection. I haven’t personally read The Selection but read many reviews on it. I loved The Hunger Games.

This didn’t disappoint. Like I said at first it started slow but once the first girl died, it picked up. I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t tell you when the last time a book had me like this. OH, I am so glad we had more than one awesome kick-butt heroine. You didn’t know who to trust and what side was which. I can’t wait to get to the second book.

I can only imagine what will happen with Zea and Kevon in the next book. Also what’s happening to Ryce and does he really like Zea or is he using her feelings to get even with the royals?