Rating: 2 Stars
Fair warning - spoilers abound. I will not censor myself, so read at your own risk if this book is something you are interested in,
The book was painful to read, so this review might be painful as well. I guess that's fair. So, let's get started.
OMG, Sarah read some fiction!
Yes, every once in a while I need something a little brainless and I thought this would fit the bill perfectly. Since I was around ten years old and discovered princesses were still real (I mean, my name does mean 'princess', so you can imagine my delight when I discovered that this was something I could still aspire to be) and I fell head over heels for Prince William and loved any royal information I could get my hands on over the years. I always felt a bit bad for ginger Harry, thinking how tough it must be even at a young age to not only be the spare, but to be the less attractive of the two. Boy, did things change fast and I am now proud to admit that Harry is quite easily one of the most beautiful men alive, ginger hair and all. So, you see, I am the prime audience for this book. A love for all things royal, a major crush on a prince, it seems a perfect fit.
Except it is not, because this is one of the most painfully boring books I have ever read in my entire life.
As I was reading, despite the name and nationality changes, I could only see the main characters as their real-life counterparts - Bex/Kate, Nick/William, Freddie/Harry. This would have been as asset, or at least NOT a liability if anything actually happened in the book, but it was always Bex just TELLING about Nick, it felt like. Nick and Bex are completely flat and one-dimensional, and I could not tell any of heir friends apart except by gender. Seriously. Cilla/Gaz/Joss might as well have all been one person. Clive stood out of course, and it was terribly easy to guess who was behind the whole The Royal Flush business. Why wouldn't it be Clive? And of course I read that story line somewhere before - in Meg Cabot's A Royal Wedding, where JP does the same thing to Mia. Except right after I thought that, I realized this book came out first, but both books are just ridiculous, so whatever, it doesn't even matter that they are nearly identical in that regard.
The reason I consider this a liability is because it is such a drag to think William and Kate might actually be THIS boring in real life. I know it's not like they're super exciting - that's Harry's job to be grabbing headlines I suppose, but I can not reiterate this enough: nothing ever really happens. There are spots of actions, there are some witty lines, but having the book play in my head with the images of William, Kate and Harry as the characters - dull.
The only character I liked was Freddie, and that is not just because I have a serious jones for Harry. Freddie is the only character who does anything, who changes, who has any depth. And he doesn't really even change that much, but we see a deeper side to him outside of just being this hard-partying prince who sleeps his way across continents.
Bea and Gemma was so completely random and out of the blue. Bea talks of hooking up with Freddie, and Gemma dated Nick, then Clive sort of, but nope, LESBIANED. Wtf?! How would NO ONE else have ever known that they were dating?
I briefly touched on this before, but for a book that comes in at 454 pages, there is not a lot going on. There is a lot of Bex telling about stuff, but not a lot of anything actually happening. And the timeline was also very weird. You kind of forget that the book is broken up in sections by year and you wonder how all these things Bex tells about happened and then you realize, duh, eight years have one by. It doesn't flow well and it is clunky and plodding and dull.
Know what is totally cheap? A dramatic event to get the pair back together. Bex's dad DIES, and as soon as she is back in England, there is Nick waiting for her at her apartment and they're back together, because grief banging is a thing. Or whatever.
I also do not understand the whole Bex and Lacey dynamic. Being twins, they are dependent on one another petty much their whole lives. Through the whole beginning of the book Bex has this idea that she is in Lacey's shadow, that's why she does the study abroad, blah blah. But then it turns out Lacey is the one feeling like she is actually the one in Bex's shadow? It was just so contradictory and made no sense that they both felt like that, since neither of them never seemed to do anything noteworthy enough to elevate one above the other. Again, whatever.
There are tons of loose ends that are not tied up. Or, maybe they were but I was skimming at the end. It is a sad testament to the book when I am skimming for Freddie, just so something HAPPENS. I mean really, this story is supposed to be about Nick and Bex and their roller coaster romance and break up and marriage, but Nick is barely even in the story and Freddie was the only interesting character. Even Bex herself was dull, no matter how much drinking and partying and whatever she was doing.
Have at it if you like, perhaps you will get more out of it than I will. Consider yourself warned. The ONLY reason I even gave the book two stars was because of Freddie. Without him I could not have made it through this whole thing. I am so glad Bex did not take him up on the "let's run off together" offer. Don't worry, this does not make him the bad guy. It makes sense in the story, if you choose to read it.