Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) – Erin Watt

cracked Kingdom
two star

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 
Publisher: Timeout LLC

These Royals will ruin you.

Ever since Hartley Wright met Easton Royal, her life hasn’t been the same. There are enemies behind every corner and dangers beyond each door. When tragedy strikes and steals her memories, she can’t trust anyone, not even the blue-eyed boy who promises her that everything will be all right.

Because while Hartley’s memory is full of gaps, her instincts tell her Easton is dangerous. She doesn’t know if he’s the snake in the garden or her chance at salvation. The chaos he brings wherever he goes is too much to handle, the intense feelings he evokes are too confusing to unravel.

Easton wants her to remember. Hartley thinks it’s better to forget.

She might be right.

Tragedy. Treachery. Trust. Hartley has to face the facts—in this world, you can’t escape the Royals.

Either you live by their rules or you die by them.

I think I might have outgrown these novels because I found Cracked Kingdom to be tedious, annoying, and problematic.

Cracked Kingdom picks up almost immediately following the aftermath of Fallen Heir. The Royals find themselves at the center of another crisis, but this time there are devastating consequences. Hartly has lost three years of her memory and is forced to weather the storm that is Astor Prep alone while Easton is expected to pick up the slack and care for his family while their father is off minding the family business.

When I first started reading the series, I enjoyed it for its ridiculous and over the top plot and characters. Paper Princess is fun in its high school setting and shenanigans yet mature in its depiction of sexuality and the surrounding world. Cracked Kingdom does continue this maturity, but not in a fun or enjoyable way like its predecessors. Easton is an interesting character, as are all the Royals, but he is in serious need of a present and mature adult. I’m all for on the edge characters who struggle with various issues that are eventually dealt with using mature coping mechanism, however Easton’s addiction and depression become so erratic and dangerous that it’s hard to reconcile how the novel concludes and his actions. I think it’s naïve and irresponsible to create such a character and have him quit his addiction because of love. Though this does happen, the problem is that addiction is a much more complicated and important topic that deserves to be better written.

The ending of the novel is full of twists and turns and almost makes up for the lack of action throughout the rest of the novel. The key word being almost since the ending is rushed and convenient.

Overall, Cracked Kingdom is more of the same. If you enjoyed the previous novels in the series then you’ll most likely enjoy Cracked Kingdom as much. Unfortunately for me, I’m beginning to realize the young adult genre isn’t for me anymore so I won’t be continuing with The Royals.

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