Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes | Review

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: November 27, 2017
Source of my copy: Netgalley/author
Series: standalone
Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.

But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.

Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?

Having read and absolutely LOVED Julianna Keyes's Undecided and Undeclared, I was hyped for Bad Princess. I love royalty themed romances and I knew Julianna Keyes can write one heck of a new adult romance based on reading Undecided and Undeclared. Unfortunately, Bad Princess didn't live up to my expectations.

Don't get me wrong, Bad Princess wasn't all bad. I liked the concept of a trouble maker princess suddenly inheriting the crown after her perfect older sister abdicates the throne, and then being quickly married to her sister's ex-fiancee, a neighboring prince, who she's secretly in love with. Then, they'd have to navigate their newfound roles crown princess and prince as well as their new marriage. All this pretty much ticked off all my buzz romance words: royalty trope, married in haste, a scandalous but lovable heroine and a stiff and proper hero a la Mr. Darcy--swoons for days, right? Not quite. 

While the concept was everything, the execution wasn't quite there. To put it bluntly, it fell flat for me. I found the characters one-dimensional, especially Finn. According to the author's note, he's inspired by Colin Firth's Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones and I can definitely see that. Typically, I'd be all over that because I love me a Mr. Darcy-like character, however, he didn't feel... fresh. Finn felt more like a carbon copy rather his own character. As for Brinley, she's likable, but what I got was that she's a bad princess because she likes playing with swords rather than having tea parties, she's a bad princess because she's clumsy rather than poised and dignified at social events. I guess when I hear "bad princess" I was expecting her to be more scandalous (though we're told of some minor scandals like hooking up with a professor from her college, but this happened off page so it didn't really make much of an impression) rather than very clumsy.

It wasn't all bad, though. There were some cute moments between Brinley and Finn, and I'm total trash for the forced marriage trope, especially when it's done in a contemporary setting so it's hard for me hate Bad Princess. I was just expecting more, especially after reading Keyes's previous works and knowing what she can do. I think with a bit more polish Bad Princess could've been amazing.

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