***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***
Synopsis: "Princess Amelia is dead... and one of you will replace her."
Seventeen-year-old Victoria Sandalwood has served the Duke and Duchess all her life. Over the years, she’s learned to make due with what she has and endure her surrogate father’s awful punishments. She dreams of escape, but never expected it to come in the form of a message from the Queen of Westeria. Victoria learns that she’s the Queen’s daughter, the younger sister to Princess Amelia, and it’s time to come home and claim her birthright.
When she arrives, she discovers she’s not the only one who received the royal message. Victoria must compete with six other girls to earn the affection of both the Queen and a princely suitor… and to replace the secretly deceased Princess Amelia. If she fails to win the crown, Victoria may just have to fight for her life…
Royal Replicas is the first book in a YA dystopian series. If you enjoy courtly intrigue, heart-pounding adventure, and sweet romance, then you’ll love this captivating story. Perfect for fans of Kiera Cass, Bella Forrest, and Veronica Roth.
Opening line intrigues you from the start, making you want to know more. “Beatrice Ramsey stood against the wall by the bookshelf while the doctors were working on her daughter; the girl was still lying unconscious from the procedure and so peaceful lying in her bed.”
Author Michael Pierce's style is brisk but not brusque; most of the time gets right to the point and has a grasp of grammar and spelling- shame nowadays that’s something you have to take note of. The setting is in a dystopian future America built upon the salvaged infrastructure and divided into districts similar to PanEm and other works. This got a little confusing at first as the story was billed as steampunk, but it’s not.
Characters were almost cookie cutter typecast; I never really felt a link or connection to any of them, but I did enjoy their personal quirks and habits- the little touches that made them more believable. The MC, Victoria, was the standard ingénue- always reading Pride & Prejudice, but also Twilight. The cast of characters rounds out pretty much the way you’d expect in a story like this, but a few surprises emerged- such as the darker nature of Victoria’s stepfather, Duke Ramsey.
The driving conflict- to be the last girl standing- is a prime motivator, naturally. But the fun lies in some of the twists the story takes- like the clone angle- and goes a few places I didn’t expect which helped to keep things fresh. Beyond the obvious plotline, there are some wrinkles to the tale that’ll keep you interested in things. Despite some plotholes in the story, it’s pretty tight overall and a fast read that’ll entertain you for a bit
with a sequel already in the works.