Royal Wedding: Meg Cabot
Genre: Fiction- Chick Lit
Pages: 435 (large paperback version)
Hogwarts House Recommendation: Gryffindor/Hufflepuff
Previous read, not eligible for 2019 Book Awards
Princess Mia is finally getting married. Finally able to escape the craziness of New York, Michael whisked her away on a private vacation where he proposed. But with all the wedding preparations and Grandmere wanting to plan everything her way, getting a wedding together isn’t as easy as it seems. Then a royal scandal comes to light that will impact Mia’s family life forever as she knows it and could put a terrible cousin on the throne. Add in a royal stalker and you have a can’t miss royal conclusion to a timeless series.
This is the book that Princess Diaries fans had been waiting for. Only this time, Mia’s an adult living in the palace for the most part. Though in this book, she’s mostly in the States. Once again, she’s journaling accounts of her life. But instead of simply being a princess, she’s also working on a community center back home. Of course, she’s getting so much attention that she isn’t able to leave her New York apartment.
I was also surprised to see that Mia sounded exactly the same as in the regular series, though she aged pretty well. That could be because I did think she sounded older in the original series, but I was still impressed with how in character she was. She’s still obsessive about her health. She still worries about how the public sees her. Some characters, such as Lana, did not age well (really, she’s a Rockefeller now?). I honestly am not sure why these two characters are even friends now in the first place, though I still use that term pretty loosely. Otherwise, I thought it was fascinating to see where everyone was now and how people change. It was pretty accurate to real life.
What this book does struggle with is the pacing. The first 100 pages are pure fanservice, updating readers on where Mia is and where other characters are. It was fun…for a while even if the exposition wasn’t always written well–there was a particular FaceTime conversation between Mia and her friend Tina near the beginning that very expositiony–nobody talks like that. “You’d never believe that Boris is now a pop star with followers who call themselves the Borettes, would you, and how his followers drool after him everywhere? And you definitely wouldn’t believe that Tina is in med school and that Lilly is in law school and that Michael owns his dog’s ashes, right? Life is so crazy!” Etc. etc. Additionally, everything seems to be going a little too well for everyone. After Mia is trapped in the consulate for days upon days catching us up on her life, it gets pretty dull. Then it does speed up… from 10 mph to 100. That’s when Mia discovers her dad’s illegitimate child, which you’d think would be a corny plot twist. But it works very well here because the situation is actually plausible (Mia’s father having another kid after the divorce). She goes to New Jersey to meet her half-sister Olivia, whom to my surprise was really excited to be a princess. Olivia had a story of her own that I thought was worthy of further exploration–she is mistreated by family and bullied by peers to be picked up by a princess and barely even questions it–but the story doesn’t delve too far into much of that. Actually, the plot with the sister starts and resolves itself in about two or three days. Two days! If this happened in real life, this might take weeks or even months with lots of lawyers involved. So yeah, there’s definitely a modern day fairy tale fluff aspect here, especially with Olivia getting up and leaving her unloving family. Also, am I the only one who wonders how Mia can write that much at once? Especially in that two-day span?
On the other hand, royal life also feels a lot more real. Michael had to really pull some strings to get privacy for their vacation, including renting a private island, and they were still concerned about drones. As this is an adult installment, readers will realize that royal life isn’t all glamorous if they hadn’t before, though it still retains all the charm of the originals. There are events to plan, and yes, Grandmere is still a royal pain in most of them as she tries to overrule most of Mia’s decisions about the wedding. Actually, the wedding itself doesn’t take up most of the book. I would have liked to see more accounts of that…especially because the book is called Royal Wedding. The stalker plot is also interesting, though many readers will probably figure it out.
However, readers who enjoyed Mia’s journals to begin with won’t find much to complain about. They will enjoy her list making, recounts of text conversations, conversations with her terrible yet entertaining grandmother, and obsessive thinking. As a fan of the previous series, I thought this story was a real treat, like being hugged by a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Even though parts of the book are slow and a little fluffy, the fanservice and style of her writing will make up for that as Mia tries to navigate some political problems and the prospect of a little sister. It’s all the royal drama that fans will remember.
If you were a fan of the series, I’d definitely suggest picking this one up. Actually, it feels so true to the series that teens could probably enjoy this one too. It never felt like a truly “adult” book, and it wraps up the series nicely.
Best points: Being back with the same characters–feels truly authentic. Mia’s quirky journal entries. Believeability of scenarios despite it being a “fairy tale.”
Could be improved: Pacing, exposition.
SONG OF THE NOVEL: Royals