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Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2017
4.5★ Audiobook⎮Royally Screwed wasn’t my normal type of listen. In fact, I had no idea what I was getting into when I began listening to it. But if it’s about royalty, real or fiction, I’ll probably give it a shot. That was the case with my first Emma Chase novel.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I was able to enjoy this romance novel. I largely credit that to the inclusion of fictitious royal characters. Royally Screwed reminded me of a grown up version of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries or The Prince and Me. A decent amount of suspended disbelief was required, but not so much that the story seemed fantastical.
Emma Chase managed to reinvent the modern Cinderella story, infusing it with realistic elements and fairy tale fun. I decided early on that Chase’s writing was good enough to warrant an emotional investment from me. After that, I was able to become fully immersed in the story and allowed myself to be willingly swept away by the romance. That isn’t an easy concession for me, which is why I seldom read romance. But again, royalty is my weakness, so allowances were made.
I don’t think that would have been possible if I hadn’t seen such potential in Chase’s characters. They were well-developed, distinctive, relatable and endearing. I was really intrigued with the way Chase developed Nicholas and Olivia’s world. Olivia’s world is essentially our own. She was born and raised in New York City. Nicholas, however, hails from the fictitious country of Wessco (which sounds like an oil company). It is briefly noted that Wessco shares roots with the UK, but branched off centuries ago. I’m not sure if that qualifies as Alternate Universe, but that’s neither here nor there. Royally Screwed blends reality with fiction, which creates the perfect setting for a light hearted, happily-ever-after romance.
Royally Screwed was fun, fresh and extremely sexy. The “prince falls for commoner” storyline may be an oldie, but it’s also a goodie. Chase didn’t do anything monumentally different with it, she just told it in an incredibly enticing way. If you’re one of the estimated 300 million who stopped what you were doing on April 29, 2011 to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton, then Royally Screwed is definitely for you!
Narration review: Emma Chase struck gold twice over with Andi Arndt and Shane West. I was beyond impressed with both of their performances. First of all, kudos to Shane for nailing the sexy British accent on the head. There’s a fine line between sounding sexy and sleazy, and Shane definitely fell on the better side of that line. But more than that, I was blown away by his ability to voice female characters. Characters, as in multiple. He performed multiple female character voices. And they were all distinct. I’m still pinching myself.
Andi Arndt is someone I’m itching to look up. I enjoyed her performance, especially as Olivia, enough that I’m already dying to hear more of her work. With this one performance, Arndt has proven herself to be a quality narrator, capable of appropriately conveying emotion and vocal diversity. Dual narration was definitely the right call for Royally Screwed. West and Arndt livened the story through the alternating POV chapters and embodied Nicholas and Olivia. That’s all a listener can ever really ask for.