Thanks to Random House Children’s via NetGalley for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I ended up getting a physical ARC from a local indie bookstore before I was approved for the eARC.
Well, this was and wasn’t what I expected it to be.
Title: American Royals (American Royals #1)
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Release date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Length: 448 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart.
This is the story of the American royals.
When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. And their country was born of rebellion.
As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.
The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded–and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.”
Oh boy. Perhaps this was filled with too much drama for my taste. There’s a lot going on. The book has four POVs, and it took me a while to settle into each character. This mainly had to do with everything feeling shallow–too surface level. It’s not like the author doesn’t give a backstory to each character, but I found it difficult to care a bit. I didn’t particularly care for one POV because I didn’t like the character at all. I sympathized with the two other POVs, Samantha and Beatrice’s, while completely agreeing with a lot of what Nina, Samantha’s best friend, had to say in her POV. Perhaps if there had been less of this, and more energy spent on digging deeper, I would have liked this book more. The concept was good, though I have a wandering through in the back of my head. The whole American Revolution was about rejecting the British king and now I have to believe the American people bent a knee to give George Washington a crown? And he accepted? That part is too hard to believe. Due to this alternate history route, we also see royal families in other countries (even ones who no longer have a royal family today) and how America is even broken up into different duke and earldoms. I mean, I really live for this stuff in general. I expected something lush and sumptuous but unfortunately this book really feel flat for me.
You know what I really would give an arm and a leg for? A whole book focused on Beatrice and her actual love interest. I felt like so much could have been explored there but again…there’s the falling flat part. The internal struggle she and Samantha both faced really captured me though. All the characters here are older–Beatrice is 21, while Samantha and Nina are both college students. It fell into the “upper YA” category that probably doesn’t actually exist but here I am. Maybe that’s why I wanted more? Who knows.
Let me tell you what though, I absolutely did not like Daphne. She’s shallow and self-absorbed. There’s one particular character who sees right through her facade and for good reason. I don’t think even Daphne knows who she is or what she wants because, like everyone else in this book, people have been telling who and what she ought to be so she assumed the mold. It’s tragic, really.
The prince, Jefferson, also seemed kind of wishy-washy. I don’t think he fought hard enough for the girl he truly wanted. I can’t figure out if this means he’s just a nice person or he’s just…meh about everything.
I haven’t read McGee’s previous series, The Thousandth Floor, so I can’t compare this book to her previous work. I met her last year during an multiple author book tour and bought The Thousandth Floor because she made it sound so interesting. Well, surprise surprise that I haven’t read it yet. 🙊 The writing style wasn’t bad, per se, it was just…lackluster, hence the whole “I wish there was more” vibe I keep giving the book. This doesn’t mean I won’t read her previous series; I’m simply not sure I would read the next book in this series. The ending was such a shocker, and that was mainly due to the fact that I didn’t know there was a sequel, LOL.
Check out these other reviews:
- Shalini from Book Rambler feels iffy about the book.
- Ladybugbooks gave this book 5 stars!
- Rachel at Book-a-mania wanted more political intrigue but ended up rating the book 4 stars.