When we got word that Katharine McGee was writing a third American Royals book I was ecstatic. I wanted more of this story and felt like there was so much more to be told. There were a lot of ways McGee could've taken the Washington family story and I was really crossing my fingers for a continuation. 

Well, we got it in the book "Rivals" which comes out next week on May 31st. I was able to get an ARC from Netgalley and read it a few months ago. Rivals pick up where "Majesty" left off so I do recommend reading the first two books before diving into this -- it's essential to understanding the story. 

I was excited to get back into this alternate universe and while I have a few skewed opinions, I did like the book and we better be getting a fourth because Rivals leaves off on a huge cliffhanger.

Publisher's Summary

Beatrice is queen, and for the American royal family, everything is about to change.
Relationships will be tested.
Princess Samantha is in love with Lord Marshall Davis—but the more serious they get, the more complicated things become. Is Sam destined to repeat her string of broken relationships…and this time will the broken heart be her own?  
Strangers will become friends.
Beatrice is representing America at the greatest convocation of kings and queens in the world. When she meets a glamorous foreign princess, she gets drawn into the inner circle…but at what cost?
And rivals will become allies.

Nina and Daphne have spent years competing for Prince Jefferson. Now they have something in common: they both want to take down manipulative Lady Gabriella Madison. Can these enemies join forces, or will old rivalries stand in the way?


My Thoughts

I have a lot of feelings about this book and not all of them are good... somehow, I still enjoyed it and would still recommend the entire series. 

Let's start off with Beatrice: I didn't care much for her story this time around. It felt odd how she pushed Teddy away and how she became such a follower of the other royals. I know that she has been insecure being a young Queen but something just felt off. However, I did love seeing other royals from around the world and seeing them come together. I loved how McGee added more characters to this alternate universe. 

I felt like Bea's story was really slow and not a lot happened... I also found the beginning of her story, with the royal convention, very confusing. I couldn't follow the setting and it wasn't explained very well. 

Moving onto Samantha... I hated her story. It felt so out of character. I didn't love her and Marshall together. I liked them so much in the last book but something felt off about them this time around. No spoilers here but the ending of their story didn't do it for me either. It felt like Sam got too wrapped up in their relationship and lost sight of herself.

Now, for Nina and Daphne... I loved this so much and that is where the title, Rivals, comes into play. These two characters have spent two novels hating each other deeply and Daphne, to me, is evil but to see them come together with a common goal of taking down another evil teenage girl was awesome. I loved their dynamic, I love how they were still very wary of each other but were finding common ground amongst their interests. It was so cool how that all came together.

Jefferson was really irritating throughout the book. His denial of Daphne's true character and his feelings for Nina feel super immature and silly. It's giving off goofball vibes and it was annoying. I think that was intentional though, to set up for the ending.

The endings of the other two novels were incredibly intense but this one takes the cake. I have never read a cliffhanger like this; my jaw was dropped, my heart raced and I had to re-read to understand what was happening. It was perfect and the ideal setup for a fourth book. 

All in all, I really love how McGee keeps things unpredictable. I had no idea where this story was going because she has shown throughout the first two novels that she is not afraid to go the surprising route. Things are held close to the chest and then the story goes in a completely changed direction...it is awesome! 

I had my issues with this book, for sure; it felt like a lot of filler stories that didn't add to the core message of the series. I wish the story moved a little faster... not a lot happened until the last few pages. I also feel like I forgot a lot of stuff from the previous books so I would recommend re-reading the first two books.

This was not my favorite American Royals novel but Rivals is essential to the story and I adored Daphne and Nina's story. It was definitely my favorite part, along with all the other royals. 

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