Series: American Royals #2
Author: Katharine McGee
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Alternate History
Published: September 1st, 2020 (Random House BYR)
Synopsis: Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.
As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.
A new reign has begun…
A huge thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Following the death of King George, Beatrice, Sam, Nina and Daphne are all adjusting to the new status quo. Beatrice begins to step into her role America’s first queen, but obstacles are already popping up and her engagement to Teddy looms over it all. Sam, used to being the spare, is now unexpectedly the heir and subject to even more unwelcome scrutiny, making her even more determined to live up to her party princess persona. Nina, well, she is resolutely trying to put recent events behind her – especially Jeff – and avoid the palace to live as normal a life as she can, which definitely did not include Jeff’s best friend suddenly trying to get close to her. And where royalty is, Daphne is not far behind, and she is determined to get back together with Prince Jefferson, but her darkest secrets come back to threaten everything she has worked for.
Fair warning, minor spoilers ahead. I really tried not to, but it’s impossible to review this book without giving away a few things. I also want to say thank you again, to Penguin Random House Canada for the last minute ARC of this book, which I’m really happy about since I expected to have to wait atleast another month to be able to read it. I binge read this entire book in about 3 hours and it was quite the journey. Where American Royals was all about these characters trying so hard to fit into who they had to be, Majesty is about these characters coming into their own to become who they need to be.
Beatrice’s arc was, by far, my favourite. Yes, it did take her far too long to understand that there were people in her inner circle who didn’t have her best interests at heart – which also begs the question, what exactly was her mother doing in this book instead of supporting her? She appears about two times in the entire book. Regardless, watching her character develop was the best part of this book as she deals with the grief of her father’s death, coming into the heavy responsibilities as a queen when people are waiting for her to fail, and not least, maneuvering a very complicated relationship situation. The decision she made at the end though, was the perfect way to round off her story. We also get more insight into Teddy’s character which made Beatrice’s arc all that much better.
Sam at the beginning of Majesty, is basically in a huge tantrum because Teddy didn’t choose her, but she does a lot of growing up, particularly after she meets someone who has just as wild a reputation as she does. I was quite impressed by how maturely she was able to handle things by the end, though I don’t know what to think about the sort of friendship she strikes up with Daphne – because apparently Nina never told her about what happened between her and Jeff for some reason? Now Nina is just naive. There really isn’t much to say about her, since she seems to exist mostly to further Daphne’s arc and the aspects of her that I enjoyed in the first book were all missing. She is honestly very nearly a side character, which I’m a little disappointed with, because I was hoping she might team up with Sam (and maybe even Himari) to expose Daphne’s true character.
As for our social climbing Daphne…consider me impressed, yet let down. Not for her scheming and backstabbing which were as always, fascinating, if only to see how low she could fall in her quest to win a crown, but rather that none of her underhanded deeds were revealed. It was interesting to see her moments of clarity, so to speak, as she begins to realize what exactly she is giving up in her quest and how many relationships she is ripping apart to get there. There were hints of this in the first book, but it really hits her only now, and as we see, far too late. I guess you could say karma, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as an appropriately dramatic reveal. Can I also say that what little respect I had for Jefferson is completely gone. He’s an idiot and seems to be completely oblivious about what is happening around him. We don’t have a POV for him, but I’d love to find out what exactly is going on in his head.
But having read Majesty, my big question now is: is there a sequel? If there is, I can accept that ending which left several threads hanging – Daphne never got her just deserts, Ethan and Nina’s path ahead is uncertain, and is Jeff really that…dumb? Beatrice and Sam’s plotlines are the only ones that are semi-resolved, but I would have really liked to see Beatrice actually ruling – less relationship drama, more Queen Beatrice fighting the system, which is another reason for a sequel. After all, firing one condescending aide is a start, but it’s hardly going to fix the problem.
The fact that I keep coming back to Katharine McGee’s books proves that I have not yet tired of drama filled books, though they are far from my go to genre. Majesty, just like her other books, is one that will keep you reading if only to sate the irresistible urge to know what happens next. There is so much in this book that could be considered cliche, but McGee spins the story beautifully and knows how to keep the reader’s attention. In terms of pacing and narration, there is a huge improvement from American Royals, which made it that much more enjoyable. Overall, even if I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, this was well worth the wait and I would highly recommend it.
Majesty releases today, September 1st, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: American Royals