*mild spoilers. Probably don't read if you're going to pick up the novel*
This is the first Disney-Hyperion book I've read that has really dropped the ball.
What starts off as a beautifully written, lavishly different take on history quickly becomes a historical Days of our Lives - and not in a good way.
The quotes by Beyonce and Lorde at the beginning of the parts (again, another book that needed part 1, 2 and 3 for no discernible reason. I don't like that this is becoming a trend) felt strange and out of place. It felt like putting a Backstreet Boys quote at the beginning of a Game of Thrones novel. Weird. Didn't like.
What could've been an amazing story of four young women coming into their own turned into a complete mess of 'I can't accept your proposal... oh you're rich?? DAMNIT'. Seriously. That's the premise. Or Marie changing her mind five friggin times and screwing Gill over, who by the way was risking his life to be with her.
Marie asking Aelwyn to take her place as princess just outlined how self-involved these characters are. She just asks her to give up her looks, identity and any hope of her own future. Meanwhile, Aelwyn is eying off Marie's betrothed like 'mmmm gonna get me some of that... even if he is marrying my best friend. But they don't love each other anyway, so may as well'.
Then there's Wolf, who I liked to begin with, but then became the biggest sap. "I'm sad this girl I just met and don't know from a bar of soap isn't marrying me. Teehee, imagine if she said yes and then discovered I'm a crown prince! What lolz will be had. WAIT SHE SAID NO, WTH."
Leo who should've been shot directly in the groin for being a rapist.
Isabelle who was the only character I continued to like, getting royally fucked over (pun). Having her beloved killed by the man who'd raped her since she was nine, finding out she was pregnant with the rapist prince's child. Here was me thinking she'd devise some amazing plot to become Queen of France, but instead she was just a barbie doll.
Ronan, I liked. I did. Until she became so two-faced I couldn't figure her out. "I like Wolf. Oh wait, here he comes to dance with me and propose, better dance with everyone else and be a bitch to him." There's playing hard to get, and then there's Ronan.
Urgh. Also, was the second half of this novel edited AT ALL? There are three events in the last twenty pages which were skimmed over like 'they put the barrels of magefire out to sea, they exploded, kah-blooey, then this engagment was announced, also btw the first prince was a sorceror which suddenly clears up, like, three plot points not previously discussed - never mind that magic has never been seen anywhere else in the world. Oh wait, that's coz he wasn't the REAL prince, so it was just lucky he was shot tbh.
There's a second book. I kind of want to read it. To quote the Sith Warrior character on Star Wars: The Old Republic:
"It's like a starship collision... you can't help but want to watch."