Review: Royals by Rachel Hawkins


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Published: 1 May 2018

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Category: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

Rating: 3 Stars

I haven’t gotten around to reading Rachel Hawkins’s other books, but I’ve heard great things about her writing. That and the fact that I really like royal stories like this combined to get me to read my first Hawkins book.

The writing was very easy to get through. I breezed through this book in a couple of days, so points of readability. The story itself had overreaching facets that I think were good, but there was a lot regarding the execution of these events that made me not like the story as much as I could have.

Royals takes place in an alternate history version of Scotland, where it is its own country with a royal family and the like. Their cousins are alluded to and it’s easy enough to guess that they’re the current royal family of England. I didn’t mind this too much, the alternate history setting, even though it wasn’t explained how all that worked out. It’s not really the kind of story that needs that information, so as long as the reader knows that this was based on a fantasy version of Scotland, I think I’d be okay with recommending it.

Daisy, the main character and our eyes into this world, did have some funny one liners, starting with working at a local convenience store with her best friend Isabel and through her meetings with various members of the aristocracy in Scotland. These moments of sarcasm and wit were brief, though. Overall, Daisy was a bit of a pushover, always giving things up for others (a con visit for Ellie, a quiet evening with her favorite author for Sebastian & Isabel, etc.). She let herself get walked over a lot and it was mostly infuriating rather than setting her up for self improvement.

Her relationship with her sister was an overreaching sense in the book, but there’s not actually much content to back it up. The two barely interact and when they did, Ellie was next to terrible toward her. I was hoping that Ellie would really stand up for Daisy before the end and she did in a manner of speaking, but overall I got the idea that I was more supposed to believe they had some kind of relationship than I actually saw demonstrated.

Daisy and Miles give off a strong Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy feel, something that Daisy mentions shortly after meeting Miles and dealing with some of Sebastian’s behavior. It was nice, because I do like Pride and Prejudice, but it felt like something that was so blatant that I could see where their story was going long before it was actually resolved. The “ending” for these two, aside from the obviousness, felt forced, like there had to be a happy ending even though I thought the way things went was unlikely. There’s actually a quote from Daisy that I thought summed up my feeling of the ending:

One kiss and a weird summer of fake dating is not worth screwing up his whole life for.

The action of the book had a few “villains” set up in acts, almost, and they were okay. I thought it was kind of weird to leave Sebastian’s twin sister until the book was 70% over. Flora was underutilized and a bit stereotypical, though her romantic intrigues were interesting. I wish that we’d gotten to see her more because as one of two queer characters in the book, she (a lesbian) and one of Sebastian’s friends (gay) didn’t get much page time that was really meaningful.
There’s apparently going to be a second book in the Royals series, though it’s a companion novel from what I can tell so I don’t know how much we’ll be seeing of these characters.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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