Browsing through Facebook, I mostly see book ads on my feed. One of them stood out to me and I earmarked it as a future read.
The Royal Replicas series by Michael Pierce.
“Princess Amelia is dead and one of you will replace her.” – The opening tagline-
With one friend telling me she loved the series, I got copies and dove right in. I devoured books 1-3 and part of book 4 in one day (I’m a speed reader), and finished book 4 over a few days after that. Worth every hour spent in my chair with my tablet, and I ached to have them in paperback because I loved them that much.
So let me break it down, and keep in mind, I can’t promise no spoilers. Onward!
The story opens with a girl named Victoria. There’s a lot of physical abuse going on in her home with her adoptive father, who beats her feet until they’re bleeding and broken when she does something wrong. Now, I know that’s off putting, and trust me it was hard to get through. It was worth reading, because the rest of the series more than made up for it, and Victoria eventually was able to rid herself of her abuser.
Even though the abuse bothered me, I felt like not enough books touch on abuse because it’s a very sensitive subject, and I think that seeing it was good. If you’ve never been abused, you can get a sense of what it’s like for those that have. Just because a subject is taboo doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write about it, and this series not only had the abuse, but also getting justice for it, which I appreciated.
Victoria soon finds herself at the royal palace in her nation Westeria, where she discovers she is a clone of the “dead” Princess Amelia and it competing with six other clones for the right to “become” Princess Amelia. Not really spoilers since it’s in the book description. What follows after is a very clear imitation of the tv show “The Bachelor” in order to win the heart of Prince Byron, the handsome prince that has agreed to marry whomever wins the contest, and that part had me rolling my eyes. “Oh we only have so much time together so you not letting me make out with you isn’t very cool.” Like, really?
Ignoring that bit, I did like seeing the romance develop between Victoria and Byron *spoilers*. Her relationship with the other love interest Kale was kind of meh, and when that eventually dissolved I thought the reasoning behind it was stupid. Still, as I said, I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet. I thought it could’ve been a bit more physical, but that was fine.
After the abuse and the Bachelor, the real story starts to take place. Conspiracies and plotting, and all that good stuff was very enjoyable. Where book one was very safe, the rest of the series has a danger to it that I liked. I think the plot progressed well and I was very unwilling to stop reading for anything, even forgetting to eat because I was so absorbed.
On a critical note, I will say that the writing could’ve been a bit more polished, even though it was very engaging. Words were repeated, like a sentence having the same word twice. “He swung around to face the door and then moved around the couch.” (not an actual quote, just an example) It might be just me because with my writing I try not to do that, but it wasn’t so obnoxious that I was brought out of the story. It just felt a bit unpolished, as I said. There were several typos, but no one is perfect and it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. Honestly I take typos with a grain of salt.
The covers are masterpieces, and I can’t wait to have paperback copies to read next time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series, the good and the bad. I felt it was up there with the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (one of my favorites). It had elements from other books but merged everything successfully, and even if it was something I’d seen before, I still didn’t see some of it coming and I liked that.
The ending felt nice. It wasn’t what I’d expected, though before it happened I could see it coming. It felt right, and I was happy. It was a full circle ending.
This series had its flaws (honestly, what series doesn’t??) and it was also very enjoyable. I loved the writing, I loved the story. It’s definitely worth the read, and a delight to finish.
10/10 would read again!