REVIEW ✧ CRACKED KINGDOM

“I wasn’t seeking a place, but a person. I’d come home.” 

☆☆

These Royals will ruin you.

Ever since Hartley Wright met Easton Royal, her life hasn’t been the same. There are enemies behind every corner and dangers beyond each door. When tragedy strikes and steals her memories, she can’t trust anyone, not even the blue-eyed boy who promises her that everything will be all right.

Because while Hartley’s memory is full of gaps, her instincts tell her Easton is dangerous. She doesn’t know if he’s the snake in the garden or her chance at salvation. The chaos he brings wherever he goes is too much to handle, the intense feelings he evokes are too confusing to unravel.

Easton wants her to remember. Hartley thinks it’s better to forget.

She might be right.

Tragedy. Treachery. Trust. Hartley has to face the facts—in this world, you can’t escape the Royals.

Either you live by their rules or you die by them.

This entire series by Erin Watt is definitely one of my biggest guilty pleasure series but I’m not ashamed about it at all. It’s got it’s trash, it’s sweetness, and overall it’s entertaining as hell and it’s why I love it so much. While I loved Ella and Reed’s story, I was hesitant to get into Easton’s story but I enjoyed the first of his two books and after that crazy ending, I needed to find out what happened next. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t what I wanted nor what I expected and honestly it kind of justified that feeling of not wanting or needing to read about Easton. I can’t even be nice and say that this book was fine because it wasn’t. At least not to me, anyways. I wasn’t a fan of where the plot went here and the major plot device they used because it’s one of my least favourite things. I was expecting this book to answer so many questions but I feel like it just raised more. A couple things about this were good but overall I wasn’t a fan.

Just to be safe, I’m going to enact a slight SPOILER ALERT in case my bitterness gets the best of me here and I ruin the whole ending.

THE GOOD

  • The one actual good thing I liked about this book was that Easton’s alcoholism was addressed and he started to realize why he constantly turned to the bottle, and to pills as well, and you saw him starting to get better. He realized that his actions hurt a lot of people and that it all spurs from a feeling of neglect and abandonment, which I can understand. But once he realized what he was doing and realized that Hartley provides him with all that he felt like he was missing, all that love and attention, he didn’t need to drink anymore. Sure, he still wants to turn to it but instead he turns to her and she helps keep his mind busy. While I do feel like it should’ve been addressed in a better way, perhaps with the entirety of his family and not just Ella, I still appreciate that Easton recognized his problem and I loved that he was proud of himself for going even a day or two without drinking. I also feel like he truly had great character development and stepped up a lot in this book, not just where Hartley is concerned but with his family. With his two older brothers at school and his father away on business, Easton was the only one left to be in charge and while he slightly objected at first, he grew into his responsibilities in the end and actually became an adult. He made sure his younger brothers were ok and getting what they needed and made sure that Hartley wasn’t in trouble with her lack of memories. I might not be a fan of the circumstances but I love that Easton grew up a lot in this book.

THE BAD

  • Using memory loss or amnesia as a plot device is literally one of my least favourite things and frustrates me to no end. I hated it when Ruby did it to Liam in The Darkest Minds, even though he got his memories back eventually, and I hated it even more here because Hartley will never get hers back. Honestly, this plot devices feels more like a copout than anything else. It’s like they didn’t really know how to continue the plot or move the characters towards their final development stage so this plot device seemed like the best way to go. For me personally, it was the worst thing they could do. I can appreciate that it made Hartley more sure of her feelings towards Easton and assured her that whatever they had going on was right, but all the crap in between was so unnecessary. After seeing person after person trying to fill Hartley’s head with lies and confusing her even more, it got beyond tiring. Felicity’s character especially frustrated me where this plot device is concerned because I still don’t understand her or why she’s the way she is. I don’t think Hartley’s memory loss served the plot in any way and it felt like the easy way out. My immense dislike for this device ruined this book for me, for sure.
  • There was a fair bit of mess throughout this book but the entire ending was beyond messy. It literally felt like all these factors and twists were thrown in last minute purely for shock value and I was not here for it. From Callum showing up last minute trying to buy Steve out of town to Steve confessing to be Easton’s bio dad to Easton getting shot, it was just one big ass mess that was barely the span of an entire chapter (side note: if Easton is actually Steve’s then that means he kissed his bio sister and that’s disgusting). Oh, and let’s not forget how Hartley’s dad made that throwaway comment of how he pushed her down, which is apparently what caused her memory loss, and everyone basically glossed over it. I was sitting there just being like “for real? This is the route we’re taking here? Alright then.” And then there’s the final chapter, or epilogue or whatever you wanna call it, which was so fast and blunt I don’t even know where to begin nor do I want to talk about it. I’m really disappointed in Erin Watt because this is not the typical ending I expect from them and I always thought Kennedy and Frederick were great at their book endings respectively, but not here.
  • Everything about and involving Felicity was a mess and I’d like to pretend it never happened. Thank you.
  • I don’t know why but I feel like the version of Ella we got in this story is disassociated from the Ella that I’m used to. I even noticed this in Fallen Heir but she didn’t really seem the same character that she was when I was in her POV. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me and I’ve forgotten all of her traits since it’s been so long, but it feels like I don’t know this Ella.

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • This book was a mess. I was expecting this to be some grande finale but Erin Watt really dropped the ball here and ultimately this book fell flat. Whether it was a case of trying too hard or not trying enough, very little of this book worked for me. I know that Erin Watt’s books are good so I’m not writing them off but they let me down just a smidge here. Oh well.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5)
Author: Erin Watt
Release Date: March 1, 2018
Pages: 305 (eBook)
Goodreads

Until next time,

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What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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