Monday, 12 February 2018

The Royals 1-3 by Erin Watt

Paper Princess
The Royals Book 1
by Erin Watt


Summary: From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

I'm reviewing these three books in one review because the way the books are written, it doesn't really feel like they're individual books. Just one long story broken into three parts.

So. Here's the thing: I mentioned recently that the past year has been one of the worst reading years I've had in a really long time. Well, these three books kind of snapped me out of that slump I was in (or at least the first two did). I read the first two books in one or two sittings easily (the third was a bit more of a drag).

The first two kept me hooked and I was never bored. The third book had its moments but it didn't maintain the same pace as the first two, it really dragged in parts and felt so needlessly repetitive. For most of the three books, I felt emotionally invested in the characters and their relationships. For those reasons, I did enjoy the books.

But, this series has trope upon trope that I have some major issues with. Including, but not limited to:

  • Trivialization of statutory rape, sexual coercion (i.e. rape), and there were just little things littered throughout the book along those lines than irritated me (e.g. in the third book Reed, main love interest, makes a comment that one of the highlights of his night was seeing his friend grope the ass of a girl Reed didn't like while they danced even while she kept telling him to stop).
  • Using rape/attempted rape as a plot device (not even in relation to my first point, this was it's own separate thing)
  • Girl hate (there's maybe one positive female relationship in the book...though it does have its moments where it improves but there's still sooo much of the "catty girl cliche" and the "crazy ex girlfriend" tropes)
  • "You're not like other girls" vibes
  • That problematic romance between the two leads, where he treats her like crap but she falls for him anyway (I admit, those hate-to-love relationships are addictive but that doesn't mean they're healthy or that I don't feel bad for rooting for them) and he's kind of possessive and controlling (though not as bad in this as I've seen in other stories). This does improve once they're together, when he becomes kind and considerate towards her but still.
  • obnoxious rich kids
  • slut shaming (but only the girls)
  • MC being a virgin used to stop/counteract slut shaming rather than just "hey, slut shaming is wrong"
  • Trivialization of addiction (drug, gambling and alcohol).
  • Trivialization of violence (i.e. Ella actually finds it kind of attractive seeing her boyfriend fighting, rather than realising how dangerous it is and that one wrong punch could kill or seriously injure him or the person he's fighting).
  • Falling for the bully trope
  • Pretty much every issue is solved with either money or violence. 
And just...so many things that bugged me. They didn't necessarily get in the way of how entertaining the book was, they just made me wish I didn't enjoy the books because they're not the kind of books I'm happy to recommend to people knowing all the harmful tropes they pull. 

I did really like the characters for the most part. I really enjoyed reading the hate-to-love romance and the friendship/sibling relationships that formed between Ella and the Royals. The plot didn't really pull much of anything I haven't read before, but it was entertaining.

The third book was the only one I struggled with because it was so dragged out and the ending was so obvious right from the start.

Basically, this series was quite addictive and I love that it pulled me from my reading slump...but, if you read it, go into it knowing that it is really flawed and if any of the stuff mentioned in the bullet points is a deal breaker for you, maybe steer clear of the series.

Later.

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