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There’s openings and then there’s hooks. Openings ease you into the story like a mellow rowboat ride. Hooks, on the other hand, grab you and heave you off the nearest cliff right into the story. Return to Royalty had a very nice hook.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” in book form. Betrayed by one kingdom, only to be employed by another kingdom, Jet comes to Earth in search of a princess. A powerful one. He must keep her safe while they wait for their time to return to their homeland. Honestly, I’m sure you can see where this is going.
As far as fantasy novels go, I liked how this one was set up. The world building between Gexalatia and Earth was balanced and connected smoothly. I liked the blend of fantasy and the modern world. Characters transitioned between the settings rather well. I really liked the fantasy world that was created. There was depth to the brief time the reader spent there. The brief tease, however, was a good way to draw the reader in.
This was a very character-driven novel. Things were good as far as characters went. Relationships were predictable. They weren’t bad, though. While the character roles filled the formula for most young adult novels, the characters themselves weren’t badly written. Personality, range of emotion, and dynamic interactions kept the formula from feeling too overused. Things didn’t happen nearly as fast as I expected them to. Because of that, there was a lot of exposition. Lots of time to get to know the characters as individuals.
I will say that, compared to the beginning of the novel, the rest seemed slow. So, while the time to get to know the characters serves a purpose later on in the novels, it leaves the reader with some downtime. To that end, the author didn’t rely on an info dump to tell readers about characters. That was a very nice change of pace.
I’m definitely intrigued by where this novel is going. There’s many different directions it could go, and I’m really hoping it will take paths unconventional. A way to break away from Young Adult stereotypes. The close follow to the formula makes the novel predictable, but the fantasy world-building makes up for it; along with the characters. I can’t wait for the next one—the reader gets to explore Gexalatia. There’s a lot of potential there.
Buy it here!