Reviewed by Tori
These Royals will ruin you…
From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.
Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.
What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.
Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.
She might be right.
Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.
Favorite Quote: “I’m available. Who wants a go with the trashy stripper? I know tricks even porn stars don’t.”
I am a sucker for melodramatic, angsty, campy, steamy, soap opera driven contemporaries. Especially if they fall under YA and NA. But they have to be done right. And that in itself is a tricky line for authors to balance upon. Erin Watt, the writing duo of Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy, have achieved that balance with their Royal series. Who doesn’t love the premise of a Cinderella-like story where Cinderella is an orphan and a stripper, her prince is really an emo self-hating arse, there are actually two wicked witches, four selfish brothers, and instead being forced to clean and cook for her new family, she has to do something much worse…she has to attend a private prep school filled with rich, snobby kids.
Watt continues to wallow unabashedly in the trials and tribulations of the rich and jaded with their latest installment. Readers will remember book one, Paper Princess, left us with a huge cliffhanger. HUGE. As this is an involved series and not meant to read out of order, if you haven’t read book one yet, I would stop reading this review now.
Ok, you’ve been warned.
Paper Princess introduced us to Ella Harper and her reluctant all expense paid pass into the Royal family’s inner sanctum. Her absentee father was best friends with Callum Royal. When her mother passes away, Callum comes to get Ella, claiming to be her guardian. Ella was essentially blackmailed by Callum into coming to live with his family and nobody was happy about it. We watch as Ella is forced to not only deal with the with the antagonism of the Royal brothers but also the students of her elite new high school, her guardian’s girlfriend, and her missing father’s creepy wife. Ella holds her own and then some to gain the approval and eventual protection of the Royals, especially Reed Royal. But in the way of all fairy tales, a wicked witch appears and places a spell on our prince and our princess finds herself alone and heartbroken.
Broken Prince opens right where Paper Princess left off. Reed is on the outs with the family as Ella has disappeared and everyone rightly blames him. The beginning is told from Reed’s POV. We finally get a peek at Reed’s emotional grid and his true feelings about Ella and his family. Lies, betrayal, and secrets all circle around as Reed takes a look back over the events that led to his and Ella’s break up and realizes there are dark forces at work.
He sees right off the bat that he and Ella were set up and his previous actions have come back to haunt him. In his defense, he does everything he can to prove he is still her prince charming though she likens him more to the ogre of the castle at this point.
“I’m am nothing to you, and you’re nothing to me…”
Watching Reed experience his own personal come to Jesus moment is an emotional catharsis that is enlightening, bittersweet, and somewhat humorous as he realizes how much he wants to be a better person for Ella. He has never loved anyone enough, besides his family, to care if he lost them and that changes with Ella’s vanishing act. Suddenly he is like a worried mama bear whose cub has wandered off. Every bad thing he can think of that could happen to Ella starts running through his head.
“…I’ll deal with the fallout best I can but right now, finding Ella trumps everything.”
Broken Prince is a book of growth and revelations. It’s the bridge that connects us to book three, giving us the information we need to understand certain situations while continuing to expand the arc and further flesh out individual subplots. Strong narrative, engaging dialogue, and a fast and furious storyline sets its hooks into you as you step right back into the minefield that surrounds this family. Ella is down but not out. Even in her angriest of moments; her inner strength, intelligence, and determination shines through. The Royals are her family now and she is going to drag them through the to the other side if it kills them all. Reed and Ella’s relationship goes through the wringer, experiencing some growing pains as they struggle to figure out the whos, whats and whys, emerging like phoenixes from the flames.
“I missed you every second you were gone. I thought about you every goddamned second. You want to hate me for what I did? Don’t bother-I was hating myself for it long before you showed up.”
Watt uses the current events to shed light on what each of the individual Royal brothers are going through and the secrets that weigh them down. Some of the intenseness that fueled book one isn’t present in here and there were times I resented that Ella and Reed had to share time with so many other people and their storylines. Regardless, my heart went out to all the Royal brothers. Money doesn’t buy you happiness…in fact it often covers up the festering rot that exists beneath the flashy designer exterior. Gideon and Easten caught between a rock and hard place and what will happen is anyone’s guess. Callum is still in his own personal bubble of self pity but we begin to see more parental awareness. Of course the twins, Seb and Sawyer, are continuing to fly their freak flag high and proud with their girlfriend but we soon learn they aren’t as oblivious as we thought.
“Mind your own fucking business. At least we can hang on to the girl we have instead of running her off […] Yeah, we know it’s your fault and not East’s. We’re not that dumb. And we know about her, too.”
YOU GO, BOYZ.
More twist and turns heat up the Royal family dinner table as Watt continues to pile on the outrageous, the unbelievable, and the sheer audaciousness. Previous characters all make strong appearances and help to up the ante on what looks to be the ultimate showdown. Fans will cheer and jeer as Watt hops right back on the crazy train and conducts it straight into to a jaw-dropping conclusion that leaves you speechless and more than ready for the next ride-Twisted Palace– set to release October 2016.
SPEECHLESS, I TELL YOU.
“I’ve spent years trying to destroy everything around me. Who knew success would taste so bitter?”