What a shame! Such a serious grown-up engaged in such an adolescent pop scam! While the mind kept upbraiding my recent reading choice, my curiosity continued to turn page after page, though still acknowledging my poor will. I spent three days in a row reading The Royals series (Paper Princess, Broken Prince, Twisted Palace) by Erin Watt and laughing at myself for being hooked up.
The plot of the novels is centered around a seventeen-year-old orphan Ella who has no clues about her farther and has lost her mother (a stripper) to cancer. Trying to survive on her own, including semi-nude stripping shows in a club, one day Ella is approached by Callum Royal who presents himself as the best friend of her just recently deceased father and a current Ella‘s legal guardian. Actually, a very rich guardian who builds military planes and lives in a huge mansion with his five teenage sons. Against her own will Ella is brought to the Royals‘ house where she has to deal not only with a new posh environment but also with five hostile creatures intimidating her from the first encounter. Especially the second son Reed who seems to be the leader of this wolf pack. But as they say, it takes only one step from hatred to love...
This childish and rather primitive story with explicit erotic inserts is no news. And you don‘t have to be a relentless reader to sense it. A fairy tale of Cinderella is enough to add two to two. Even the name Ella sounds similar. A poor girl enters a richman‘s house where everybody resent her. But then suddenly a prince falls in love with her. However, let‘s continue comparing.
Remember Twilight saga? There‘s a seventeen-year-old Bella who falls in love with a vampire Edward who in the beginning tries to push her away. He also has a large family which gradually accepts Bella as its member and all of them become her defenders. In the Royals series there‘s a seventeen-year-old Ella (what a coincidence!) who engages into a severe fight with Reed and his family but, oh well, there‘s this enemies into lovers motive and in no time Ella becomes one of the Royals herself.
Or the famous Fifty Shades of Grey? The Royals do have the same I love you – I leave you – You betrayed me – I forgive you merry-go-round. However, the most obvious accent is Ella being a virgin - like Anastasia, only the latter loses her virginity in the very beginning of the story while we have to wait to the third book and be content with teenage hand and mouth tricks (stuck in boring repetition) until Ella finally does it.
So what makes this synthetic story so attractive? Probably the same drivers mentioned above. There‘s no need to invent a bicycle. If the previous literary pop products turned into bestsellers, there‘s a room for another one. Everybody loves a story with beautiful young characters, pockets full of money and a happy-ending. And sex scenes, of course.
I already hear the young ones snapping about me being too old to judge and simple enjoy the reading. But frankly speaking, I really did! Thanks to a rhythmically pulsing storytelling, non-biding style and sentiments of my own. Nobody is too old for a fairy-tale – it just have to pop up in the right moment.
It‘s not only a story that is non-credible. The author of the series Erin Watt is also a non-existent person. She is a project of two female writers Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick who kept writing around 2000 words a day until they made a novel. While one of them expressed a wish to write a guardian/ward story, the other loved exploiting an enemy to lovers angle. Hence we have the Royals with princesses, princes and palaces.
Despite this puffy rose dream that trails around the story and forms your lips in a sardonic grin, there‘s something that glues your fingers to the pages and all the arguments of your rational mind are silenced with a so what? counter-retort. Nobody tells me what to read!