AnHeC (I'm too fucking busy and vice versa)

Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly, #1)

Suddenly Royal  - Nichole Chase
Recommended to AnHeC by: Litchick
Read from June 22 to 24, 2013

Word count: about 100 000
Rating: Boy, that escalated quickly


*I’d like to point out that what you’ve read before affects your perception of the book to fallow. After finishing something awesome, this, especially the beginning, falls short. I’m not a giving person. I’m not your momma, I won’t cut you any slack. Slack has to be earned, ergo my ruthless review. Yes, I’m a judgemental bitch with a heart of stone. Additionally this was so not my cup of tea (or vodka for that matter), which didn’t help with my rating (but could do wonders for my ranting, if the time is right)

Here’s the link to an enthusiastic review that highlights all the awesomeness of that book much better than me:

Ok, so.
At first I was like:

At about 40% :

And the rest of it was:

At first I considered for a brief moment giving it two stars. I’m not even joking. In the end I did (kind of). I guess that for me there is no getting over certain things. But *** is well deserved. As the rating states “I liked it”. I liked the second half and CAN'T GET OVER MY ISSUES. 40% of pretty bad is A LOT. I feel like my head is going to burst. On one hand ** feels low, but *** is too damn high with all the problems. But their relationship in the second half of the book was so fun!

Firstly, about half of this book sucks hairy balls. Until she gets on a plane, writing and story are all over the place (like kids on speed that forget to mention things and just roll with whatever comes to their heads next. Therefore there will be both a rant and a prize and a reference to other review)

It started bad. It does steadily get better, but you accept their relationship only because you repress the knowledge of the first 100 pages or so (they were excruciating). But does a nice ending erase all that happened earlier? Not for me. It matters, it was there, I saw it, I remember and can’t ignore. WILL NOT IGNORE IT! Time to get my stick out and poke at things.

The premise itself. Nope. I’m not getting over that any time soon. I can accept people coming into money by getting an inheritance, or marriage, or business plan, or even winning a lottery. But I hate, HATE a half assed job of inventing a country, just so you can have a REAL prince. Because usually world-building in those books sucks and Suddenly Royal is a good example of it. It royally sucks at it (he he, I guess I like to insert a bad title-related joke into a review.) I don’t know why but books with that premise are usually poorly executed.

- The MC. Eh, I don’t like her. There’s no hate, but sometimes she’s unbelievably annoying/whiny/naive/childish, pick your epithet.

Example :

“Oh, do media check the facts before they run the story?” What are you, 5? That’s not cute, that is a step back on an evolutionary ladder.

“If I just act like nothing is different, they’ll surely live me alone” How can you be THAT stupid and still manage to simultaneously breath and walk/stand/peel a banana. Do you live under a rock? You’ve seen how much media coverage the duchess and the prince got. You’re a fresh meat. Figure it out.

“In all this time, I haven’t asked Alex much about himself.” (she felt guilty about it) Well, you knew him for TWO DAYS. So what ‘all time’ are you speaking of? A few hours that you’ve spent digesting the shocking news of your lineage? Yes, the whole world has shifted beneath your feet and you haven’t asked the sexy prince about his favourite ice cream flavour. How could that be!

You can’t be a confident, strong woman, that won’t be pushed around AND a gullible blushing cretin. You just can’t. Now, such discrepancies happen mainly at the beginning (she walks into the restaurant, kicks ass, and than... Argh!) Later it’s not that bad, she’s just nervous or tired, not naive or downright dumb.

I also have no very little respect for her. It’s one thing to drool over a hot guy, which is normal, healthy reaction. But she has no self-control. “He sat down on the other end of the sofa and my body automatically tilted toward him. It was like being caught in a gravitational pull. ”. Now, that is a reaction that would be understandable after knowing someone for a while, or just having contact (you know, seeing them often, spending time together and letting the fascination obsession grow) over time. But it’s a SECOND day she knows him. I understand the urge, but a little self-control would be welcome. There is seemingly no buffer between her emotions and actions. Brain filters, amazing thing, the glorious result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution; act like it, damn it!

She took on all those duties but then kept on whining (it gets better, she has her moments, but sometimes I just want to throw a shark at her and listen to soothing screams to follow)

Something positive? YES!

I liked that despite sex deprivation she didn’t jump his bones immediately. So in the end there was some semblance of control left.

She also makes a distinction between love and fascination. She knows it’s just her ovaries speaking.

She takes no bullshit from anyone, will snap and tell you what she thinks. No man will push around this woman!

She’s down to earth, practical, doesn’t like sparkly things, and recognizes her own shortcomings.

Her relationship with a prince isn’t teenage drama. In fact, there was very little angst involved. That was awesome!

She has the right priorities. Her family (father) is what matters. That was good. People we love should mean more than public opinion, money and fancy titles.

Speaking of titles, title of a ‘prince’ makes panties drop, but not in this case. Here we have a protagonist that is reluctant BEAUSE it’s a prince, and she can see downsides.

- Is having an annoying friend some kind of a requirement for heroines these days? Jess was responsible for the fucking ‘Prince Yummy’ nickname. Argh! She’s also a selfish, obnoxious bitch. When they went shopping for clothes for Sam, she didn’t immediately bring the right dress to her. Let me remind you, Sam had NO TIME, she was rushing to make everything work out, and in that situation Jess has the audacity to do something like that?! Just so she can act smug when she finally brings the right dress? Even though she knew Samantha hated shopping, was tired and stressed out? That is not a friend. Fuck her!

- Alex get’s called ‘the most eligible bachelor in the world. Not a cute exaggeration. Prince of some small nation in times, when royalty doesn’t have any real power. Riiiiiight. I’ll take a soldier or even a good, normal police officer over a ‘prince’ on any given day.

Beside sending her an article about freaking HOMEOPATHY, (like WTF?! How THICK do you have to be to believe in it? How about Santa? Or Lemuria?) He was great.

I liked him . He was charming, sweet and a flirt. (With real laugh lines! Now how often authors think to include a nice detail like that!). His behaviour was sexy as hell. I didn’t immediately like him, but then I’ve come to realise it was SAMANTHA I had a problem with. Not him. He rocked. Additionally to being a ‘panty-combusting hot-stuff’ he’s capable, responsible, caring, and compassionate. The more you know him, the more you like him. Oh, and he's no 'alfa asshole'!

The relationship - RUSHED

I kind of hate the author for what she has done. If the whole thing was better executed, it would’ve been swell. But it wasn’t. They almost kiss after their first meeting (no, not my problem), but there was no chemistry between them during the dinner with the duchess. NONE. Finding someone sexy is not the same as a spark of interest and fascination. And what he says to her during their second meeting? “I like your company”. You’ve barely experienced her company! Go fuck yourself! I would assume that if the dinner was better executed, we would understand why Alex is intrigued with Samantha (because what we’ve been shown is very unsatisfying, she acts like a dimwit.) But we aren’t.

Day two, love lust in full boom. (view spoiler)

In other words it’s too much and too little at the same time. We don’t see them really connect at the beginning, so being forcefully fed the ‘oh, I’m so intrigued’ bullshit is tedious.

It does get better (as everything in that book does). At no point was it all unbearable, but I need to subtract some points for how it starts. AND IN THE END ITS GREAT!

The world-building That was my biggest issue here.

Now, the world set up. I hate it. The concept itself was not perfect; the literal take on a ‘prince’ doesn’t typically do it for me. It would have to be amazingly well executed to win me over. What annoyed me? The lack of believability. I didn’t expect stark realism, but I like when things make sense. Is that too much to ask? Dear author, you need to tell me things. If the world you’ve created is different to the one I know, I must be informed. Otherwise all those discrepancies annoy the living daylights out of me.

The Lilaria itself and the black gold portrayed as the source of wealth are the problem. Now, everybody expects me to pat the author on the head and give her a cookie for being so thoughtful, right? WRONG! The country has a European/western culture feel AND oil wells. Now, oil can be drilled at the sea or on land. Any person/company could own an oil well (in the story), but it wouldn’t be where they live (same way people draw profits from diamond mines in Africa). The places that have oil are pretty hot (Middle East, Venezuela, Africa kind of hot). But there’s an effin snow in Lilaria! Ergo that doesn’t ‘compute’ in my head. The only thing that vaguely fits is Canada (and northern Russia, but I don’t see Mother Russia giving up any land, so freaking Lilaria can come to be. The behemoth is out of question.) “Oh, you’re such a party-pooper. Stop nitpicking! It’s not SO bad!” Yes it is. If you’re changing the world as we know it, go all the way. If it’s European put it there, but do it properly, so that things make sense. But where? Well, let’s pick a place that had a lot of different strains of aristocracy and was ridiculously divided. “*gasp* is that even possible?” I believe so, look at Lichtenstein, Germany, Holland... Let’s imagine one of the small territories gets emancipated. Now for the money we can give them, oh, I don’t know; a patent for medicine that prolongs live? Or maybe they have figured out some kind of safe nuclear fusion, but are keeping the secret to themselves while building and operating safe nuclear energy plants all over the world and getting profits. Or at the very least we can be told that in that and that century oil has been discovered here and there. Was it so hard to make it at least a bit logical? No. So can I cut the author some slack? No way, not even in the world of dancing elves.

The author didn’t give it more thought, which means she’s either inept, lazy, or doesn’t care. I could understand lack of skill when you give your utmost best; however, the frustrating thing is she seems capable of doing better. Which means she’s either too lazy (in which case someone should give her a good kick in the ass) or she doesn’t care (and that’s just unforgivable).

We aren’t told ANYTHING! If the history had been re-written, we MUST be told! (At least I must, because I KNOW THINGS about history and shit, so I notice, and it gets to me) But it’s actually worse. Author tells us NOTHING about the world. The sad scraps of info have to be hunted down with a magnifying glass. You stop paying attention for a while and you miss the only spot where something gets mentioned. Like the whereabouts of Lilaria.(view spoiler) Or where does Samantha live and study? What city? I did figure it out (we are told it’s cold, she has to wear a thick coat, so it’s north. And then somewhere in the middle of the book we find out it was Minnesota. But that’s IT. ) Name of the university? Nada. Zilch. Zip. Basically we get NO details whatsoever. It’s incredibly frustrating (for mental bitches like me).

In other words – world building is virtually nonexistent. We suspect that the author made changes to something in the human history /the reality; because things DON’T MAKE SENSE. It wouldn’t take much to fix it. JUST TELL ME, DAMN IT! Tell me there is oil someplace (when I know it to be false) and I’ll roll with you (happy like a pig in a mud). But everything was fuzzy. My sub-consciousness has been frantic, constantly on a look out for details that will bring the image into focus. I was edgy, and I didn’t even know why, until the realisation hit me. Something was missing. Things like whether Sam lives in a flat or a detached house kind of go unmentioned, until they do appear, and you go “Oh, that’s why it all felt wrong”.

THE FUCKING ENGLISH IN LILARIA: That one got to me. Again, easy to counter (which is exactly why I feel like scratching my eyes out), Lilaria could’ve been an old part of the British Empire or sth... There. Done. Let’s move along. But no. They speak Lilarian. If so, then tell me WHY THE FUCK IS EVERYONE FLUENT IN ENGISH to the point of using obscure silly colloquial idioms? Why does a prince give a speech in English (to the people gathered there, just normal citizens)? If he doesn’t, how does Sam understand it? And how come there were books written in English in a store? I live in Poland, I know how hard it is to come by books in English. They’re there. Just not an amazing selection. And certainly not in some obscure little store selling used books. NO. ” i will forgive but i won't forget and i hope you know you've lost my respect Nichole Chase.

The writing

If everything in that book was better thought out, it would be good.

Sounds pretty horrible so far, right? Well, let’s get to the GOOD PART

I liked the practical problems Sam has with running things. How much to pay stuff? What are her responsibilities? How does she even go about hiring a security for her father? It’s nice that a ‘fairy tale’ is a serious commitment and comes with a price. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I loved that.

Sam hesitates before she lives for Lilaria. It is so awesome; she didn’t just mindlessly jump on it. She recognizes that that her life, the one she built with so much effort, the one she loves, has to be left behind, that there will be no going back. She is searching for reasons to go to Lilaria, to live her comfort zone. I mean, why live a good life, friends, a promising academic career just to face problems, expectations, and craziness connected with being the duchess. I loved the emphasis on what she would have to give up all she knew. It takes a lot of courage to be that vulnerable.

In fact once she gets to Lilaria and tries to settle in, it is fun! The second part of the book was a real treat, and yes, getting to it was worth suffering through those 40% (only about first 80 pages were cringingly bad). Her relationship with Alex gets better and better by the minute. And then it’s really hot and awesome! And then it’s dramatic and awesome! And then it’s sweet and awesome! The part where she meets the queen, the other aristocrats, gets a really fun secretary (kind off, it’s a guy that manages her life and they are so much fun together!); gets to see her estate, meet people that manage it, goes to public functions... All of that was fantastic. The world development debacle is all but in the past and we can sit back and enjoy the ride by that point. And the story is no longer all over the place. Things connect and flow.


*The sex scene. Mechanics of it got on my nerves. He is significantly taller than her, yet when she bends over the kitchen counter he manages to take her from behind. Height difference is the biggest hassle when you do it standing (trust me, I know, I’m only 5’2). Especially legs are longer, ergo, it’s really hard to do it. Doable sex scenes are just one of my pet peeves, I guess. It was not horrible. Apart from that little bit that didn’t make sense the scene was amazing.

*Author is an idiot that believes in homoeopathy. Title of the chapter nine : Lilarian Healthcare Makes Headway with Homoeopathic Medicine . *sarcasm ahead* Water has an infinite memory of a single drop of a herbal essence but forgets all the shit that was in it, apparently. What a theory!

*I HATE the name Lilaria; sounds sickeningly sweet and silly, like it came from a children’s fairytale. Blah!

Did I hate it? No. Did I love it? Not as a whole, but kept on greening like an idiot throughout the second half. Picking up a book after reading something amazing is always a challenge. And now that I’m done with the exams my standards went up. If I’ve just read a tone of crap it would be breath of fresh air. In the end it wasn’t horrible (can’t forgive the first half, the other part was giggly and fun). Perfect for a day on the beach or a long train ride. Or, naturally, for the fans of that kind of stories (which I’m so not). A piece of mindless fun, no depth here (which is not a criticism, just an observation; that is not a fault). Also no heavy drama, no emo shit, no dark secrets, no tormented pasts. Just normal reasonable (on the most part) people having a normal (apart from the ‘royalty’ part) relationship. Fun, I tell you!