Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: The Royal We

I keep hearing a lot of chatter in the recent months about The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.  I'm down with a good fairy tale story as well as a bit of British wonderlust.  Heck, I watched that royal wedding at whatever 6 a.m.-ish hour of the day it happened.  And, I just worked through two heavy but significant modern interpretations of World War II atrocities.  Sometimes, you just need to fall a bit mindlessly into some good book candy.

The Royal We was not it for me.

I really wonder how so many are recommending this one.  As a society, are we this in love with saccharine glop and basic mush that wholly lacks depth?  Are we entirely ruined by re-tellings of what many argue are the same handful of plot lines in the entirely political business that is Hollywood?  It must be so, else why would anyone believe that this 456 page book has any value?

Come back again when it's been pared down to some purpose in 250 pages. 

There's an unlikely story, and then there's a so-completely-farfetched-that-we're-really-dealing-with-complete-and-utter-fantasy-housed-under-the-guise-of-a-romantic-fling.  It's ludicrous.

The heroine:  Is she beautiful?  It's hard to believe so.  If she's not, then why would this uber bachelor prince have any romantic desire about her?  Before you call me out here for reverting to gender stereotypes and shallow misconceptions, hear me out.  If the entire work is going to be based on beautiful people doing beautiful people things, then the heroine had very well better be beautiful.  She truly reads as nothing more than average other than when she's all tarted up after the seven year romance ultimately has led to the massive heirloom ring. 

The hero:  He's not that likeable.  And furthermore, there are oh so few characters in the book who really are.  Again, if you're going to weave a wistful fairy tale romance, there's some understanding that we're supposed to like these main characters.  (And I'm not talking about the guy who ultimately turns out to be the protagonist.  But riddle me this...he's no more disagreeable throughout than any of the others until he finally reveals his blackest soul in the 11th hour.  Too little too late to separate him from the pack.)

The story line:  Come flippin' on.  Iowa girl skips across the pond for a semester from Cornell to Oxford to study art history not realizing that she was moving onto the very same dorm hallway as the Prince William character.  Not only was she utterly oblivious (oh, but it made her so charming and bumbling!), but no one on the British side happened to mention it either.  Well of course.  Please, random American: Come live across the hallway from one of the most protected British citizens and we're not going to tell you because why would we?  Why indeed. 

The royal family: The authors chose to use all actual royals until Queen Victoria/Prince Albert and then alter the names but otherwise keep the same persons as the actual royal family.  For example, Queen Elizabeth = Queen Eleanor, Prince Richard = Prince Charles, and Prince Nicholas = Prince William.  Somehow Princess Kate turned into the aforementioned oft drunk, Cubs-loving random girl from Iowa.  (Sorry, Princess Kate!)  The royal family characters read of the authors' imposed characteristics based largely off of the rubbish that is often published in trashy rags about the actual people.  Those are the same trashy rags that these same authors try to lambast in the novel.  If you're going to spin a fictional tale, then start with fictional characters rather than your limited interpretation of actual persons. 

The ending:  I understand what the authors are trying to do by ending this book as they did (452 pages...452 pages...452 pages), but they essentially end with a cliffhanger.  'CAUSE THEY COULDN'T FINISH THE STORY IN FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY-TWO PAGES?!?  Oy vey.

In summary:  It's largely a pretty lame story line, heavily (heavily) reliant on cliches from start to finish, and has little imagination.  However.  Some people like that.  Those people also throw down $9 or more to watch sub-par movies with some frequency, I'd hazard a guess.

If you're feeling up to this royal romp, you might want to do so with several of the same drinks that are so heavily flowing throughout this behemoth of a non-story.  It might not help, but it surely wouldn't hurt. 

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