Loved it! 😍

A rather solid fantasy series starter with memorable characters and a robustly built world.

The comparisons aren't entirely literature based, but Royal reminded me of a cross between Princess Diaries and Isekai anime. Mysterious men suddenly whip the main character, Lily, out of her office job and bring her to a dimension much like our own. Except this dimension has magic, cybernetics, enchantments, and a family she never knew she had. Still no dragons though!

For a young woman in her late teens, Lily seemed to fit that age pretty well. On the border between adult and the last of her childhood, many of her actions and emotions seem true to character. This is especially apparent after realizing just how dangerous the new position is that she finds herself in. Because even in a world with literal magic, politicking is the surest way to power. The author does a fabulous job describing and setting up a government that feels real, and with real stakes for the people it governs.

Both Lily and the world she finds herself in grew on me as the novel went on. The beginning was a bit of a slow start and overused the same plot device. Eavesdropping and being in the right place at the right time felt too convenient with how often it kept happening. A few discrepancies in the setup also bogged the beginning down compared to the end. But if the reader continues past that rougher start, the latter parts of Royal make everything worth it.

The power and ability structure used within the novel wasn't just an interesting backdrop but used, and used well, throughout. Each of the main countries buying into a sort of different "school of thought" only made the whole thing more interesting. This also made the characters from each of those other countries more useful to both Lily and the plot.

A rougher start but a smooth finish, I would highly recommend Royal to fans of modern fantasy. The magic hooked me in, but the political intrigue truly hooked me into wanting to read the second novel when it releases.

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About the author

K.T. Holder is an Australian writer living in Texas with her three tiny Pomeranian overlords. When she’s not writing (or pretending to) she enjoys reading, watching documentaries (mainly true crime), watching “documentaries” (ie reality tv), and fulfilling the needs of her fluffy masters. view profile

Published on October 24, 2023

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

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Genre: Fantasy

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