Royalty + replicas… what is not to like?! I admit the cover drew me in… but did the story keep my attention?! Read on to find out if you should be sucked in too…
Royal Replicas #1
by Michael Pierce
Published July 11th 2017
by ParousiaSix Press
Victoria has spent her whole life caught between being a daughter of the house, loved by her surrogate mother and a servant to the man who abuses her with terrible beatings he calls “punishments.” The last thing she expects is a message from the Queen calling her the younger sister to Princess Amelia. When she arrives she learns all is not as it seems when she meets 6 other girls who mirror her in almost every way. Kale a boy from her past and Byron the fiancee to Amelia will vie for her attention, but will she choose to become a princess? Or a pauper?
I read this really quickly. That is the biggest pro to this book… it is easy to read. I mean really easy to read. Sometimes a book is not the best written (or story crafted) but I enjoy it anyway because its sooooo easy! That is this book.
Okay, I admit the cute drone caught my interest. I loved that it checked their identity before showing the hologram. I settled in for a well developed story… and found the details quite compelling. It kept my interest right up to the end.
The premise is not new but there’s enough different about it that it was fun and twisty. The plot was a lot of what made the book so easy to read. It wasn’t complex or depthful but there were unexpected moments that shocked you! The twists were done right!
The sister relationships with Mina, her servant, Kimera, and Bethany and Piper. I LOVED Mina and want a little sister just like her! Kimera really put herself out there for Victoria… it was a little convenient but I can see that if their person won their own worth would be increased. Piper was my favorite of the other girls. She plays an integral part of the plot and I loved that she shared that with Victoria in a really natural way.
Victoria was not a compelling character. I didn’t understand what drew her to either boy. Most girls would go with the prince because the outcome is rather obvious, so that is what she does! She was abused and stood up against her attacker but his arrival was rather random…
While Victoria was portrayed as a woman who wants to be strong and has the capacity to figure things out the plot was just too convenient. If you want a character to be strong you have to put them up against multiple situations where they have to struggle.
The Queen made an excellent villain but she only stepped up in the beginning and at the very end! She was just another convenient aspect of the plot. For example when the truth came out about their future she gave in awfully easy when one girl stood up to her for a couple minutes.
I wanted MORE with the other girls!! There is this throw down with 7 females and there is NOT enough drama… Actually some more twists and unexpected trope upsets would have really helped the story be less convenient. Like Bethany being the real villain of the girls and the other abused girl becoming a friend of Victoria!
Prince Byron. I can see the appeal… wealth, prestige, good looks! But then when he melts down after Victoria is seen with another man AT A BALL he acts in a very dangerous way. Men who act the way he did are not going to treat ANY woman right and there were no red flags!!
Kale. The boy stalks Victoria and she has ZERO memory of him from day one. He wants to take her away! Why? And Victoria was never curious about his motives or the time they spent together. She just accepted (but didn’t like) that this strange boy put his life at risk for her.
The petting. Neither boy created a single moment that said to me – I’m falling for this man. Yet any time either guy was with Victoria he was all over her touching her and kissing her. It was disgusting. They hadn’t even talked one date worth the entire book!!! It smacked of instalove!
The abuse was an aspect of Victoria that I was drawn to immediately. This was not developed well… when this kind of story is used we need to show an accurate portrayal of what that emotionally is like as well as an accurate way to overcome that treatment. It isn’t nearly as easy as portrayed and that is dangerous for a teenage girl.
So why 3 star and not a 2 star rating?
Totally all about ease. I didn’t like Victoria but I didn’t hate her. I liked Kale but only wanted to see them interact more. I just wanted more! It’s not a book that I felt should be trashed… it had so much potential!
BOTTOM LINE: Sci-Fi Royal Bachelor Knock-off!
One of the problems with Royal Replicas is that you are totally puzzled why Victoria thinks anything about Kale! Yes, he’s good looking but what motivates her when she has no history with him and many more problems plaguing her and taking her attention!? I was hoping this novella, Reset, would solve that question… it doesn’t, it opens more questions as to why Kale is motivated!
That isn’t to say that this is a throwaway story. I quite enjoyed it and it is in line with the first book as far as quality writing and storytelling goes. There is something here that is compelling. It needed to be massaged into Royal Replicas though. I would have taken it from the beginning and started it the same but then created situations where Kale walked her through similar experiences at the palace as they shared before. Of course different experiences would have to be developed that could be managed at a palace but it would have shown Kale’s connection while also sharing with Victoria a reason to linger over Kale. That would have fit nicely in place of that aborted escape.
One change necessitates other changes but through these a writer becomes more creative as they cast off their initial ideas and stretch their storytelling capabilities!
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.