Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: January 26th 2017
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.
There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.
If she wins, she will inherit a throne.
And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her. (from Goodreads)
NOTE: this review contains spoilers for this book, and the ending of the series. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read this review.
It saddens me to say it, but I was disappointed with this book. I really enjoyed the previous instalments, and have always been a huge fan of Ally Carter, but I had a lot of problems with this book and unfortunately, there wasn’t enough good to outweigh the bad this time.
I’ll start with the things I did like; Grace’s friends, that wonderful bunch. They were so loyal to her, and so helpful. They were always willing to hear her out, to listen to her side of the story, no matter how crazy the situations got. Megan especially, and Rosie, I loved those two so much! I also really liked Grace’s grandfather and her brother, Jamie, and I was really glad they both managed to survive (it was shaky for a while there). I also really liked getting to find out more about Alexei’s mother, Karina, and what actually happened to her. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I found her story very interesting.
Moving on to what I didn’t like, I think the biggest problem I had was the plot. I have to get into spoilers here, but I didn’t really understand why Grace and her brother couldn’t just renounce their rights to the throne publicly right at the start of the book, if that was what they wanted to do? They ended up doing that at the end anyway! The rest of it seemed so unnecessary and pointless. And I never understood how somehow, Grace always seemed more important than her brother (by the fact that there were always people chasing her and not him, despite the fact he was injured and an easy target!) when he was the heir to the throne, and she was only second in line? And don’t even get me started on this whole 63 heirs stuff that came up at the end – suddenly there were all these random descendants of Amelia? How on EARTH did they find them all, when there was supposed to be a secret society DEDICATED to concealing this information? Even the Society didn’t know where the other descendants were! Ann admitted it! And how did they find them all, contact them all and get them all to agree to renounce their rights to the throne so quickly? Plus, it’s so unlikely that they would ALL even want to – surely some person would be like, “Ooh I quite fancy being a royal!” And having all these heirs just diminished the entire story which was based on Grace being the heir of Amelia, and that’s why all these people were trying to kill her. Now it was just like, oh well, who cares, look how many people there are that could claim this title? Ugh.
Another thing that really bothered me was how Ann was dealt with. Why the hell did they think that was a good idea? Instead of prosecuting her through a democratic justice system (which Grace should have supported since she was giving up her right to the throne for these ideals), they made out she was Karina?! WTF? Karina had been wrongly imprisoned in a mental institution that wasn’t a mental institution but more of a torture facility for years. Instead of freeing her justly, letting her recover from her years of trauma, letting her live freely as her own person under her own identity, they instead forced Ann (who deserved to be in a real prison, because the people of Adria deserved to know their princess was a bloody murderer!) to take on Karina’s identity and be sent back to the facility. Well what the hell was going to happen to Karina then?! Did she have to live as someone else? How was that going to help her fragile state of mind? She was already suffering from what had happened, and now she had to pretend to be a different person? Who would actually buy the whole “Ann is Karina” story anyway, I mean, photographs exist, and they couldn’t possibly look that similar? One question and a DNA test is all it takes! And what did everyone think actually happened to Princess Ann? There’s only so long they could go with the “taken ill from grief” story. Would some eventually announce she had died? Or went missing? She would be remembered as a loving and caring princess instead of the murderer she actually was. I just didn’t agree with it at all.
Grace herself was also somehow even more dramatic than usual in this book, her narration just got on my nerves at times. And Alexei became a bit too controlling and annoying in this book, I lost any love I previously had for this romance, and that’s a damn shame because I really used to like these two.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book half as much as I wanted to. The endings to Ally Carter’s other series are far superior and I’m not quite sure why this book took this route.