Rogue Princess, by B. R. Myers
Publish Date: January 21, 2020
Published by: Swoon Reads
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**
Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.
All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!
Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.
A genderbent Cinderella sci-fi retelling? This book instantly grabbed my attention when I read the synopsis on Edelweiss and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I picked it up. So I did. The beginning was a little messy and confusing at first, and I think the world-building could have used some work, but once things started rolling I couldn’t put it down. There were some really interesting twists and turns, a nice amount of homage to the original fairy tale, and characters that I truly loved and enjoyed reading about.
To be honest, in the beginning I was a little disappointed. From the synopsis this sounded like it was going to be taking place mostly in space on a ship. It doesn’t. They never even leave the planet’s atmosphere. That aside, though, the rest of the story pulled me along with mystery and intrigue and of course, a highly entertaining romance. There were a lot of parts to the story and sometimes it felt like almost too much at times, but at others, especially the more quiet and intimate moments, it was so darn cute and swoony.
It wasn’t a perfect tale, unfortunately, with a lot of plot points that felt incomplete or lacking something that caused me to feel like I didn’t quite get everything that was happening. This mostly came through the plot points about the resistance. I feel like part of this is because the majority of the first part of the book focused on the relationship between Aidan and Delia. I really enjoyed watching them fall in love with each other, but it also kind of pushed aside the rest of the plot and when things started to come to a head I felt like I didn’t always understand everything that was going on. It was all just so much and all at once that it was a lot to take in suddenly. I also felt that Delia’s mother, the queen, was not informing her heir of a lot of important matters, despite knowing that she was dying, and instead just kept insisting she choose a prince to marry in order to save the planet.
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THAT ONE. It was so completely frustrating and annoying. The most it did was act as the catalyst to make Delia want to run away on a space ship and therefore meet Aidan, but still, it was excruciatingly painful. According to Delia’s mother and the never-seen council, she had to marry another prince to gain resources in order to save the planet. This is apparently because their only “natural” source of power was depleted long ago and they can’t afford to keep buying another source from a different planet. Great, so why not try to find a different energy source first? Like, I don’t know THE TWO SUNS THAT ARE CONSTANTLY MENTIONED?? This is a sci-fi novel, right? Why isn’t that even a consideration in these people’s minds?
The messy plot aside, I really enjoyed the characters and they are definitely what pulled my interest along. Aidan, my love, had me falling for him instantly. He is a thief, he is snarky, he dreams of escape, and he makes me angst for him. There were some strange inconsistencies in his behavior that irked me at first – I couldn’t understand how he could be so suave and confident with Delia but meek and subservient with his step-family – but those things made much more sense by the end. And oh man did they make sense. Let me just say…there was a revelation about Aidan that slowly dawned on me while reading and it was kind of an amazing twist that I didn’t quite see coming until the clues started settling in. Loved it. Absolutely loved it.
Delia is strong-willed and determined. I love that she is willing to do whatever she must for her country, but is still also scared enough of marrying someone as part of a contract that she will try to run away. This action did seem to go against the rest of her nature, but in such a believable and understanding way. And then seeing the choices of men she was given made it very understandable. While I liked how she felt like she was learning new things about her kingdom (why is it called a kingdom actually? It’s been ruled by queens. Screw it, I’m calling it what is is) her QUEENDOM and realizing what really needed to be fixed, I hated that she didn’t already know these problems existed? If you are the heir apparent, why don’t you already know what the problems of the queendom are? She claims to have spent her entire life training to be queen, but I kept wondering in what ways exactly. I think this is partly what made me despise her mother, who didn’t seem to inform her about a lot of things and who so cold towards her anytime they talked and was constantly cryptic and single-minded. “Choose a husband, Delia. It’s the only way to save the planet, Delia.” NO IT’S NOT FIND ANOTHER SOURCE OF ENERGY STOP RELYING ON MARRYING MEN TO GET THE JOB DONE.
Anyway. Then there was Shania, Delia’s younger sister and an absolute thrill to read. She is funny, she is a romantic, she is unafraid to ogle men’s backsides. I love her and that’s really all you need to know.
There was a lot about this book that was lacking in detail and inconsistent at times, with characters doing and saying things that seemed to contradict the rest of their characteristics. I absolutely loved Aidan, Delia and Shania and thoroughly enjoyed the romance, but I felt that the world-building needed some more work, the plot was a little messy, and certain plot points were extremely frustrating. It was a fun story to read over-all, but I think it definitely needs some more fine-tuning in certain areas.