Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Heir and the Spare
by Emily Albright
Evie Gray is on a journey of self-discovery. One that will take her all the way to Oxford to find out just what kind of person her mother was. Through her mother's letters, Evie is set on an adventure that will find her running into a real life prince.
While I was charmed by the writer's hope that I would like her story, I sadly did not. The book sounded cute and exactly like the fluff I usually love reading. I gave this book one star because the reading experience from the beginning was unsatisfying.
While the author created a story that is fast paced, I believe a lot was sacrificed in order to do this. For one, any emotional connection the main character would have built with her classmates at Oxford. She made friends in an instant because one of them happened to notice her. Their loyalty towards her was also instantaneous and wholly unrealistic. Sometimes it is okay to slow down a book if it is needed. Build that foundation.
This book also suffered from a romantic male lead that liked the main character because "she wasn't like all the other girls". Indeed, why? Because she is a rare breed of female that enjoys museums. That already is suspect and he is the guy we're supposed to hope the girl wins? Yikes. And while that belief is addressed, it does not feel like there is truly any resolution to it. You do not get points for just addressing it. The person who holds those beliefs has to actually change (spoiler: he kind of doesn't).
The main girl also falls for the main guy as soon as she sees him. Call me old fashioned but I appreciate relationship foundation and meaningful buildup. All I received over and over again was how cute and alluring he was. The main character herself even questions at one point if she trusts him while also contemplating wanting to touch his body. Not to mention that I felt no spark or connection between them despite the many descriptions of their eyes meeting in the window. This romance was as awkward and unbelievable as Black Widow and the Incredible Hulk.
The author also had no real concept of what English culture is like. Apparently, throwing in some stereotypical British words means you have yourself an authentic novel that transports you to England. And this is the not the most grating thing, I feel like so much of the story was underdeveloped (i.e. characters and setting) and too focused on, frankly, an undesirable Prince. And the supposed emotional crux of the story? It was executed better in 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.
Overall, the novel felt like the author's own wish fulfillment in book form. Seriously, there are similarities between her and the main character that are actually written into the book. Something that I could have read on Quizilla in the days of yore instead of in a published novel.