Book Review: American Royals by Katherine McGee

Publication Date

3rd September 2019


Fiction, Alternate History

Star Rating



Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking rules, so Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either… except the one boy that’s off limits.Then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their handsome prince… but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

New York Times bestselling author Katherine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded- and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

I want to start off this review by telling you all that this is not my usual read. I wanted to read something some sort of light-hearted love story for Valentine’s Day and this was recommended to me. I read the blurb, and wasn’t really sold on it.. the promises of love triangle after love triangle didn’t appeal to me, but after reading lots of glittering reviews, I decided to give it a try.

American Royals is set in an alternate version of reality, one in which George Washington became Americas king, and not president. There isn’t much a of plot to the book. Instead, it is driven by the characters.. Who are they? What do they want from life? How will they achieve their goals?

Unfortunately, the character motivation felt a little bit too predictable. Beatrice, the future queen who is struggling to come to terms with all that is expected of her. Samantha, the second daughter, who knows she is ‘the spare’, feels it deep down, and resents it. Both girls would prefer the life the other leads, but lack of communication leads to them misunderstanding each other. And then there is the youngest; handsome Prince Jefferson, who has plenty of girls vying for his love.

Ok, so I know it makes sense that each character would feel the way they do. They suit their roles and personalities exactly how you’d imagine. But, I think that’s the problem.. if I can imagine it, then it’s not new and it’s not exciting. I want to read about people who don’t do everything the reader expects them to do. Obviously, their motivations still need to make sense, but I just needed more from them. It all felt a little bit obvious. A little boring. Lacklustre. And for a character driven book with minimal plot.. it’s a problem.

The story plays out much in the way you’d expect it to in the real world. In my opinion, this was the only way it could have ended, anything else would have been unrealistic. But, just because it was the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it was good. The last few pages in particular were, well, annoying. The characters, who have all grown and matured throughout the story, all end up reverting back to their old selves. And then we end on a cliffhanger. Yes, it sets us up for the next book, but at the cost of the first book having any sort of satisfying ending.

I gave it 3 stars. It’s not bad enough for anything below that. It has a good premise and the writing flows nicely. It was somewhat entertaining throughout, but it just had no sparks and no magic. For me, it fell flat. I won’t be reading the sequel.

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