Having saved Princess Evelyn (and become her new BFF) Sam must accompany Evelyn on a world tour, so she can keep the princess (and everyone around her) safe with a power-binding potion. But Sam also has another reason to scour the globe. Someone has tampered with her grandad’s mind, and Sam is the only one who can unlock his memories to save him and the family business. And that’s not all that’s at stake. The stolen memories contain the recipe to a potion which many would kill to get hold of. With the post powerful people in the world desperate for the recipe, Sam must save her grandad in order to save everyone else…
I read and reviewed the first book in this series earlier this summer. Royal Tour, the sequel, actually isn’t available in the United States yet, but if you are impatient like me it can be ordered via amazon UK.
This book had a lot of the same bubbly energy as the first. The plot was fun, and we got to see more of the world that Alward has created. I do wish we could see even more of it, because I’m a nut for cool worldbuilding, but I’ll be content with the knowledge that this is a series so we will likely see more as more books come out. With many of the scenes, I felt like we could have spent a little longer in them and gotten more detail, and in that way things did sometimes feel a smidge rushed, especially given how much was going on in the plot! Perhaps the author was limited in her word count based on the expected target audience for this book. The plot clips along at a modest pace, and there were several twists that I did not see coming. I appreciated being surprised because I have read a lot of YA fantasy and am usually genre savvy enough to work out what’s going to happen.
I still don’t love the romance between main character Sam and Zain. It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly I don’t quite buy it, but I think part of it is that a lot of their interactions involved talking about how much they loved each other and how awesome the other person was. Sam claims that they’ve grown very attached quickly due to a situation where they were placed in mortal danger together in the first book, but I wish we could see some scenes of the two of them hanging out and talking about shared interests. Part of this stems from the quick pace of the book – most of their conversations are plot related (or a scene where midway through Zain is suddenly missing his shirt so we can hear about how hot he is), but a few words here and there about a shared interest other than potion making or each other would go a long way to adding more realistic chemistry to this couple. I’m still holding out for Evelyn/ Sam since their interactions feel much more natural and interesting, but given the teen based audience I think it’s unlikely that this will happen.
Speaking of the twists I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to give too much away but I was very intrigued by what Alward did with Emilia’s character. Rather than the wholly black or white version of her that we saw in the first book, this one offers a few more shades of grey to her character.
I was glad we got to see Anita and Arjun again. They were a little neglected at the start of the novel and I was worried that now that Sam had a sparkly boyfriend and a princess best friend, she would drift from bff Anita. Luckily, these characters were brought in a little later and served a very important role. Also, shout out for diversity in YA literature!
The book ended on a cliffhanger. Of course. Why can’t Sam have nice things? Here’s to waiting for the third book to come out next year.
Stay magical readers!