Book Review

Predictable & Tropey, BUT OH THE ROMANCE — Powerless by Lauren Roberts {Book Review}

Powerless by Lauren Roberts

Title: Powerless (The Powerless Trilogy #1)
Author: Lauren Roberts
Release Date: January 31st, 2023
Standalone/Series: Series
Genre: YA – Fantasy – Romance

My rating in stars: 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My rating in words: 
Enjoyed it!

Check it out on Goodreads


She is the very thing he’s spent his whole life hunting.
He is the very thing she’s spent her whole life pretending to be.

Only the extraordinary belong in the kingdom of Ilya—the exceptional, the empowered, the Elites.

The powers these Elites have possessed for decades were graciously gifted to them by the Plague, though not all were fortunate enough to both survive the sickness and reap the reward. Those born Ordinary are just that—ordinary. And when the king decreed that all Ordinaries be banished in order to preserve his Elite society, lacking an ability suddenly became a crime—making Paedyn Gray a felon by fate and a thief by necessity.

Surviving in the slums as an Ordinary is no simple task, and Paedyn knows this better than most. Having been trained by her father to be overly observant since she was a child, Paedyn poses as a Psychic in the crowded city, blending in with the Elites as best she can in order to stay alive and out of trouble. Easier said than done.

When Paeydn unsuspectingly saves one of Ilyas princes, she finds herself thrown into the Purging Trials. The brutal competition exists to showcase the Elites’ powers—the very thing Paedyn lacks. If the Trials and the opponents within them don’t kill her, the prince she’s fighting feelings for certainly will if he discovers what she is—completely Ordinary.

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Powerless by Lauren Roberts {Book Review}

MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):

“If I am to be her enemy, I want it to be because she loathes herself for wanting me.”

I haven’t read a YA fantasy in a while, but Powerless has caught my eye and I’m happy I decided to finally give it a try. I loved this read.

Is it a perfect read? Not at all. As a matter of fact, I definitely have quite some issues with the worldbuilding. If I were to rate it only based on worldbuilding, it’d be three stars and I’d be generous there. But. BUT. Then there is the romance aspect. And oh boy, that’s definitely five+ stars for me. So an overall rating of four stars seems like a good compromise.

The plot of Powerless was pretty fun and tropey. I’ve seen it compared most to a mix of Red Queen, Shatter Me and The Hunger Games and that comparison is pretty spot on. It takes place in a world where a plague swept through the land and left a lot of people dead. Those who survived gained cool powers (like telekinesis, super strength, the ability to teleport or clone themselves, and so on). But some of the survivors remained ordinary, without any powers. As it goes, the powered people (the Elites) soon ruled the kingdom and determined that the non-powered people (the Ordinaries) were a threat so they just exterminated all of them. Or so they thought.

Our main heroine is Paedyn, an Ordinary girl who survives in the slums by thieving and pretending she’s a Psychic when really she’s just very observant. One day she saves a stranger and ends up in trouble when that stranger turns out to have been prince Kai, trained since childhood to be the king’s Enforcer, which means killing Ordinaries. This act of kindness earns her a spot right next to the prince in the Purging Trials, a competition meant to showcase the Elite’s powers. Which she hasn’t got… so trouble is definitely ahead!

It’s a very tropey plot, but honestly I enjoyed it. It was fun. As long as you don’t think too much on everything, that is. And that’s what I mean when I say I had some issues with the worldbuilding. Some things just didn’t make sense to me. Like, why were all these elites in this competition just killing each other? It wasn’t like there could only be one survivor. They could work together. Or just knock each other out. Why all the senseless killing? And why put all this focus on needing to be liked by the public, and attract sponsors, when those ‘sponsors’ don’t actually do anything that determines the win? Also, the timing of everything was just very confusing. And what are the motivations of the evil king exactly? I honestly have no idea.

So if you prefer a solid worldbuilding in your reading, I’m afraid this is not it. It’s also not very original and depends very much on tropes which made it quite predictable.

BUT if you’re in it for the romance and if you’re a sucker for a good slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance with lots of pining, banter, a ton of chemistry, he falls first and “Who did this to you?”… then I would recommend giving this one a try. Because on that aspect, Powerless DELIVERS. The romance between Paedyn and Kai is delicious in every sense. It’s also a dual POV and OMG Kai’s way with words had me swooning big time (also highly recommend the audiobook for extra swoony impact). There’s hardly even a kiss in this book and yet I was a puddle on the floor.

And then I do have to mention one other thing I loved about it other than the romance, and that is the character development for Kitt. Kitt is Kai’s brother and the heir to the throne. I did think his character arc was quite well written and I’m eager (and a little scared) to see where it will go in the upcoming books.

Overall, do I recommend this book? Yes, if you’re in it mainly for the romance. No, if you’re in it mainly for the plot and worldbuilding. I usually prefer to have both in my books, but in this one the romance took me by surprise and had me forgetting all about the issues I had with the rest of it. So I am both excited to read book two and also a bit hesitant to see if this will hold up.

Four Stars


“She is the embodiment of a bad decision. The twin of danger and desire. The fine line between deadly and divine. And I can feel myself drowning.”

“Mark my words, Prince, I will be your undoing.” I lean in, ignoring the knife against my throat as I murmur, “Oh, darling, I look forward to it.”

“What do you want to call me?” “I want to call you mine.”

“Not until I looked into a pair of fiery blue eyes and realized that perhaps burning was a painless thing. Not until I looked into a pair of sky-blue eyes and realized that perhaps falling was a peaceful thing. I’d never thought about what my favorite color was before because I hadn’t seen one that was worthy of the title. Until now, that is.”

“She’s bewildering as much as she is beguiling. That pretty mouth of hers says one thing, but those ocean eyes say another. She pulls a knife from my back only to say she’ll bury another one there. She’s confusing, captivating, and we’re completely wrong for each other in all the right ways. She’s a flame, and I’m going to get burned. An ocean and I’m going to drown.”

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Tell Me:
Have you read Powerless or will you be reading it?

Lindsey xoxo


  1. I’m super torn about wanting to read this one or not. On the one hand I do love a good solid worldbuilding but on the other hand I’m also a big sucker for slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance. I’m leaning more towards trying it and it’s definitely gonna be on audiobook because I’ll need the extra swoony impact like you said. Thanks for sharing, Lindsey!

    1. I usually also love a good worldbuilding, but in this case the romance made up for it for me. Though I do hope that’ll still be the case when book two comes around… But if you can read it for the romance mostly then I think you could definitely still enjoy this one. The narrator for Prince Kai did an AMAZING job with the swoony lines <3 Hope you'll end up loving it when you decide to give it a try.

  2. I’ve seen this one everywhere! I’ve heard good things, but I always reach a tipping point when the reviews are so glowing, you know? A few means it is probably good. A ton makes me skeptical. I think I’m going to give this one a chance, but not for a bit. I’m really looking for a fantasy world that I can dig into, and it seems like this one might not be worldbuilding-centric. Not necessarily a major problem, but not what I’m looking for right now.

    1. The hype can definitely be daunting sometimes! I liked this book, but if you want a fantasy world to dig into then I’d indeed suggest to wait a bit with this one.

  3. Sometimes you just need a some fun escapism. Glad you liked it.. it’s on my TBR as well.

    1. Absolutely! Hope you’ll love this one too!

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