Red, White & Royal Blue Review

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started off really not liking this book and literally yelling at myself for reading it only for the hype (well, maybe not so literally, but you get my point). Stories involving royalty have never really been my genre (I say as I just read American Royals), but there have been so many coming out lately, it has been impossible to avoid them completely (more on that later). However, I actually liked the end of the story, even though the beginning was pretty uninteresting.
Spoilers Below
The problem I had with the beginning of the book was all the romance. Seriously, if there is a book with heavy romance in literally EVERY chapter for the first 70% of the story, I will systematically not like it. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, too much romance = me no likey. So that’s why I had a big problem with the first half; it felt like the author was trying to show how the boys were bonding, but it just came off a bit garish. I would have liked a bit more information about their personal lives, not just scenes of Alex and Henry constantly sneaking away to be together. The book was also too hyped to me; I went in with super high expectations and most of them were not met. I did like the boys’ meet cute though: knocking over a super expensive wedding cake is hilarious (for an outsider at least :P)
The thing is, I was prepared to write a terrible review about how much I disliked this book overall, but I actually ended up really enjoying the last 30% of the book. The climax was great and I didn’t see it coming at all. You see, this book was so long, that there were countless moments where I was like ‘this is it, this is when they are going to be found out’ but the author pushed it so far that by the time Alex and Henry were actually found out, I had stopped trying to predict it. I really liked that about the writing style. I also loved how much I learned about the American political system. I think I’ve taken in just about as much information as I took in during my semester long American government system. So kudos to the author on that!
Something that is pretty rare, at least in the books I’ve been reading lately, is a binge-able novel. This is one of those. I actually think this book is better binged because there are so many characters it would be a lot easier to remember them all if you don’t take long breaks between chapters. The book is super long though, so it might take a while to binge; however, if you can get thru the first half, the second half definitely makes the wait worth it.
There weren’t any reveals that shocked me in the story, but I’m ok with that. I had a feeling that Zahra’s boyfriend was the guy he ended up to be, the guy whose name I can’t remember (I said there were a ton of characters in the books, didn’t I? ;D). And I knew, that Raphael Luna was going to be the person who leaked the documents, the minute we heard someone had sent Nora the files on Richards. But even so, I liked the story. They were the good types of predictions where I wasn’t absolutely sure I was right and I believe the author did a good job on that aspect of the writing.
On the topic of Nora though, I was super confused as to her relation to Alex and June. I just couldn’t figure it out. There were multiple moments where I was sure she was just a friend then others where I was sure she was a sibling. My final deduction was that she was Ellen’s second-husband’s daughter, but if I’m wrong, feel free to point it out in the comments, I really want to know the answer for sure.
If she was just a friend though, this book was super similar to American Royals, where there were two royal siblings, whose best friend was from outside the ‘royal’ family. It seems that lately, tons of books have been coming out that have to do with royalty, or have some focus on it. I actually have a theory as to why this is happening: the royal wedding (Harry and Megan) was around a year and a half ago, right? Well, from my knowledge of book writing, it takes around that much time to write a book and get it published (Google also supports my timeline) so all the books that used the wedding as inspiration are coming out… **checks watch** right about now! And there are a lot of them! Its super cool to watch how culture affects YA lit!
Another thing I really liked about this book was how the characters were portrayed as imperfect. It was nice to see that most of them had a personalities who weren’t stock (for example: cute nerdy girl, or dumb strong jock). So far in my reading career I haven’t encountered a character who wanted to be a politician and that was kind of cool. I also liked how the prince of England was into Star Wars.
My favorite scene in the entire novel was the ending scene where Ellen won the election again. It was just so happy and when Henry showed up after they won, I was almost* in happy tears (*ALMOST not ‘in happy tears’ :P) I also liked how that climax included a huge regrouping of all the characters we saw in the novel. It was just such a happy scene and I am really happy Alex and Henry were able to get together (not just in secret). I really liked all the characters and although I was not super attached to any of them, it was cool to see their adventures.
In conclusion, this was a nice book. I wouldn’t say I really liked it, because of the slow beginning and because I’m not really into all those royalty books, but I thought it was a pretty nice read. The novel won two Goodreads Choice Awards after all, I would hope it is at least a bit interesting! I would recommend the book to anyone who is obsessed with the British royal family, or who liked American Royals, but it wasn’t really the novel for me.

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