American Royals III: Rivals, by Katherine McGee

Trying to review this book series is like trying to review a juicy TV drama. You cannot talk about why it’s good or bad without divulging some spoilers about each character’s arc, and honestly, just reading the book is easier than reviewing it. I guess I can just talk about where this book stands in the series, and whether I hope there’s another installment (which, apparently, there will be soon).

Beatrice Washington is still struggling as the new queen of America. But she might have a chance at redemption at the upcoming League of Kings, where she’ll meet other royals and gain confidence in a new climate control proposal. Meanwhile, her younger siblings, Samantha and Jefferson, try to find their own place in the monarchy, with Samantha navigating a public relationship with a black duke and Jefferson just trying to figure out his feelings for his childhood best friend Nina and her noble rival, Daphne.

Honestly, this series continues to prove why it would probably suck to be royal. Or, more broadly, why it would suck to be in the public eye. Samantha’s relationship with Marshall, a black duke-to-be, struggles to survive against people scrutinizing Marshall for his skin color, as well as the hope that their union will prove a point about progressive interracial relationships. They find themselves in disguise at a football game and imagining a life without their respective titles. And I don’t blame them.

And poor Beatrice. The odds are stacked high against her as the first reigning queen of America, since she doesn’t have many friends and people underestimate her right and left. She does make a friend in Louise, the future queen of France, but Beatrice’s fear of the future ahead, especially in her relationship with Teddy, her fiance, is palpable.

As always, I love the juicy drama between Nina and Daphne. Though this time, they find themselves teaming up against a snobby young lady named Gabriela, who tries to have Daphne’s family nobility revoked and Nina removed from school. If I thought Daphne was absolutely loathsome in the first book, Gabriela was an absolute monster. Besides, anyone who dares mess with my girl Nina deserves the worst.

And again, as always, Jefferson remains completely oblivious to Nina’s lingering affection for him. So many times, it looks like the tension between them may break, but the lack of broken tension almost becomes painful. If there’s going to be a fourth book, they had better settle this arc before that one ends, or this is going to get ridiculous.

It’d be boring to say that this book is the best one yet, but the series is doing a banger job developing these characters, and their journeys are still fun to watch. It seemed like this third book would wrap things up, but I won’t complain about seeing more juicy royal intrigue and drama. Especially not with the nerve-wracking cliffhanger this one ended on. Let’s just say someone’s future, and that of America, is at stake when this one finishes up, so…yeah.

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