Royal Blood (Royal Blood Trilogy, #1) by Aimée Carter
A stellar start to this new contemporary young adult trilogy!
When Evangeline Bright was eleven years old, she was finally told the truth about the father she had never known. He was actually the King of England and a married man at that, and Evan had a half-sister born the same day as she was. Her mother had had an affair with the young prince who was destined to sit on the throne one day, but his father, the current monarch, was still a young man and expected to reign for years to come. However, when he suddenly passed away, Alexander was rushed home to take up his royal duties and position, leaving Laura Bright, an American commoner and an unsuitable marital prospect back in the states.
Heartbroken, Alexander had married appropriately, hoping love would follow. But a few years later, while visiting the U.S., Alexander and Laura rekindled their romance despite his marriage to Queen Helene: the result being Evangeline. As time went on, Laura began to suffer from schizophrenia, requiring treatment, and Evan was raised by her grandmother. But when her grandmother died, her father, now king and father to Evan’s half-sister, Maisie, stepped in and sent her to what would become a series of stateside boarding schools. Unhappy to be separated from her mother, Evan diligently devised ways to be expelled from each school in the hope of being sent home for good.
Accidentally causing a fire at her latest school, Evan is arrested for arson. The king’s personal assistant, Jenkins, however, shows up at the police station, gains her release, and rather than Evan getting her wish, whisks her to Windsor Castle to become part of her father’s household. Unfortunately, in acting so quickly, he hadn’t cleared his plan with the king, and before he has the chance to break the news, Evan comes face to face with the father she’s never met.
Royal Blood is the first book in author Aimée Carter’s new contemporary young adult series of the same name. The book is exciting and full of intrigue, and definitely not the typical fairy tale or rags to riches story; it addresses some very serious topics. Evangeline, or Evan as she is called, is a wonderful heroine with a quick wit and a kind heart and carries some heavy issues on her young shoulders. I was rooting for this unique and engagingly sympathetic underdog from the first page.
Evan is surprisingly resilient and very understanding of the Queen’s and her half-sister’s feelings, even as they treat her horribly. So much information about her past, including her parents’ history with each other, had been kept from her, and it is no wonder that misunderstandings occurred. With the death of her grandmother, her mother’s mental illness, and her absentee father, she has way more hanging over her head than a child should ever have to handle alone. She deals with her situation the only way she thinks will be successful; she purposely acts out and gets expelled. Other than her having to change schools, though, her actions have no consequences.
Once ensconced at Windsor Castle and among the family and their coterie of relatives and friends, Evan is targeted by the media and attracts all manner of abuse from the press and their followers. But the intrigue starts immediately and although, Maisie, Gia, and Rosie start out as typical ‘mean girls,’ they eventually start to relent, especially when Evan holds the key to keeping their princess out of serious trouble. However, she finally has something she’s not had in the past: a friend her age.
The story includes an incident of drugging, attempted date rape, and death, and the author presents the events from Evan’s point of view without excuses from the perpetrator. As the tragedy unfolds, readers will recognize and relate to how easily the awful events happened.
Each chapter starts with either a text message exchange between characters, a news story, or a media interview related to what is happening in the story. These add some fun insight or extra needed information in an interesting way. Each chapter ends on a small cliffhanger that worked like magic on me to keep reading! The story completely hooked me from the start, and those teasers had me reading page after page until done. I am looking forward to the next book of the trilogy with great anticipation.
With its exciting plot, family intrigue, and great characters, I recommend ROYAL BLOOD to readers who enjoy contemporary young adult fiction, especially those who like a secret baby or fish out of water theme.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author or publisher through TBR and Beyond Book Tours.