I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Reign (American Royals #4) by Katharine McGee
Also by this author: American Royals (American Royals, #1), Majesty (American Royals, #2), American Royals III: Rivals
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 29, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Royalty
Pages: 432 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley
A queen's life hangs in the balance, and her siblings’ decisions—about what to do, and most of all, who to love—could change the course of history. Romance. Duty. Power...only one can triumph in this stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling American Royals series.
America's royal family is in shambles. Queen Beatrice is in a coma and Princess Samantha has gone missing—from the look of things, she ran away with her boyfriend, Lord Marshall Davis. Which means that Prince Jefferson is currently on the throne. For some in America, it's exactly what they wanted: a King ruling the country. And for Daphne Deighton, who has tricked Jefferson into dating her again, it's the ultimate dream come true.
Surely this is all just temporary. Won’t Beatrice wake up and reclaim her rightful place? Samantha can't really be gone…can she? And Prince Jefferson will never truly be over his childhood crush, Nina Gonzalez. Right?
For the Washington family, the stakes are higher than ever. Love might save the throne….if secrets don’t destroy everything first.
I’ve probably said this in every review I’ve written about the American Royals series, but I’m just fascinated by the premise. An AU where America became a monarchy and the Washingtons are in the royal family, still to this day? Fascinating. It’s what keeps pulling me back to this series, and makes me sad to see it end since there’s still SO much I want to know about how an American monarchy would function. Therefore, Reign being the last novel is bittersweet, for as much as I’d love to continue learning about this AU, it feels right that the story is coming to a close.
*Please note spoilers for the first 3 books will be mentioned beyond this point and a few minor spoilers for book 4*
Rivals, book 3 of this series, was my favorite hands down. The League of Kings conference was an interesting change of pace, and it left off on some major cliffhangers, the biggest one being Beatrice’s car accident. I was delighted to see that the drama seemed to continue in the beginning of Reign, with several soap opera tropes (I mean that in the best way!), including:
2) Fake pregnancy
3) Running away from home
4) Falling in love with someone not knowing that they’re secretly a royal
I live for mess in my books, so I was thoroughly entertained by these dramatic set ups for our four leading ladies. As usual, I enjoyed Beatrice’s and Daphne’s POVs the most, and was especially interested to see how their stories played out. I enjoyed seeing Beatrice get to fall in love with Teddy again (protect Teddy at all costs!!!) though I did groan when I realized we were going to have to deal with Connor (again). And Daphne. Cunning, ambitious, ultimate Slytherin Daphne. I wanted her to marry Jefferson so, so badly. I wanted her to defy the trope of falling in love with the “normal” guy. I wanted her to defy the YA tropes of “following your heart” and actually get everything she worked for (and I stand by what I said in my review of Rivals– her love for Jeff was still love, even if not the romantic, passionate kind).
Nina’s story threw me for a bit of a loop this time. I’ve never really liked her, and I DEFINITELY don’t like her after this installment (glass houses and stones and all that) but I really liked Jamie so I enjoyed reading her chapters just for him, lol. But she’s serving too much quirky-girl-all-the-boys-fall-in-love-with energy, and I’m not a fan of the not like other girls vibes I was getting.
As for Sam, her chapters have always been my least favorite, but I enjoyed them more in this book. I liked seeing the fallout of when she returns home after totally shirking her responsibility as a royal (especially in the wake of Beatrice’s crash and subsequent coma) and how it’s really strained her relationship with Jeff, as he’s had to act as Regent in her absence, and he was never really trained for it since Sam was the Spare. It was realistic (actions have consequences!) and it was fun seeing her have to try to live like a normie.
The last third of the book was very action packed and I couldn’t put it down- it all comes to a head at Jeff and Daph’s wedding and it was satisfying to see so many plot points finally woven together and exposed to the characters, and the twist they put on the ending was unexpected but satisfying. To be honest though, I would have changed a LOT of the outcomes for the characters (probably for 3 out of 4 of them) and ultimately wish there had been a more daring conclusion for most of them, especially Daphne.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite not my least favorite book in the American Royals series, and it still to this day is one of the most creative YA series in my eyes.