The Royal Treatment, by MaryJanice Davidson

>> Thursday, December 09, 2004

I've very much enjoyed what I've read by MaryJanice Davidson. She has a very distinctive voice, which I enjoy. Mad was kind enough to send me one of her latest releases, The Royal Treatment.

In a world nearly identical to ours, Ben Affleck is the sexiest man alive, Martha Stewart is a better pastry chef than insider trader, and Russia never sold Alaska to the U.S. Instead, Alaska is a rough, beautiful country ruled by a famously eccentric royal family, ostracized by the other royals, and urgently in need of a bride for the Crown Prince. In fact, anyone would do. But they have no idea what they're in for when they offer the job to a feisty commoner...a girl who's going to need...The Royal Treatment. Now, in this dazzling, delightfully wacky tale from MaryJanice Davidson, a tough commoner and a royal prince are about to discover that who they truly are...and what they desperately desire...may both be closer than they ever dreamed...
The Royal Treatment was a fast, entertaining read, with lots of funny moments. It was, however, empty calories, and some things I'd previously enjoyed about Davidson became a teeny bit too much and began to be irritating. My grade would be a C+.

The reason I felt this one was empty calories was that as entertaining as it was most of the time, I just didn't get the satisfaction I usually get from a nicely done romance (or, for that matter, from a book with a well done romantic subplot). There was very little real emotion involved here. The characters are just terribly shallow, with very little motivation. The love story came out of the blue. I never got the feeling that either of them was really in love with the other.

Christina was like practically every other MaryJanice Davidson heroine that I've read: sarcastic, no-nonsense, very much a smart-ass... you'll recognize her if you've ever read the author. I liked her very much in the beginning, but, problem was, she started to really grate on me at some point. She took absolutely nothing seriously. Ok, sure, many things people give so much importance to are just stupid and it's fine that she didn't care, but everything?

I think what tipped me over the edge was her complete lack of curiosity about the world around her. Penguins? Ugh, boring, geeky! Opening of Parliament? Yawn! She's the type of person who says proudly that she doesn't watch the news, who refuses to learn anything about what will be expected of her once she becomes princess. I'm not saying she should have bowed down and accepted a traditional role, but an intelligent person would have at least listened and then decided what she was going to do. She had absolutely no idea of what she was getting into.

As for David, well, David is basically one-dimensional. Even though we did have some scenes from his POV, I never felt I really understood why he did the things he did. And the secondary characters were just as lightly drawn. I liked them all very much, though, what little there was to them. I was especially fond of David's brother who only spoke in haiku ;-)

Reading what I've just written it seems like a review of a bad book, but it's not, of course. As I said, it was often very funny and witty, and I had a very good time reading it.


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