Goodreads: Rogue Princess
Published: January 21, 2020
A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.
Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.
All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!
Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.
Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi retelling of “Cinderella,” was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, so it was with a heavy heart I realized halfway through the novel that I simply was never going to connect with the characters or the plot. The book attempts to do two different things at once–be a romantic reimagining of “Cinderella” and offer readers a high stakes rebellion story–but it fails to meld the two strands together, and ultimately falls apart almost completely at the end.
On the surface, there’s a lot I could like about Rogue Princess: a spunky princess, an awkward but also kind of dashing love interest, space pirates, sandworms, legends, handsome princes coming to compete for Princess Delia’s hand. I could go on. Yet most of the elements are never fully fleshed out; they’re good ideas that lack a masterful execution. I want to know more about why Princess Delia is a badass warrior (besides plot convenience). I want to know more about the pirates and what they do and what they steal. I want to know why the monarchy thinks “Pirates were outlawed” means…everyone stopped being a pirate. I want to know more about the various planets in this solar system and how Princess Delia’s planet can be so intertwined with them yet…she doesn’t seem to know much about their royal families before being set the task of marrying someone from one.
Essentially, the book has what for me is always a fatal flaw: a lot of it simply does not make sense. It might be exciting and interesting if you’re willing to throw any logic out the window, but I’m not. And while I was somewhat able to deal with it during the first half of the book, the final chapters completely threw logic and various character motivations out the window and dropped this from a potential three star read to two stars for me.
Something might have been saved for me if I had become invested in the romance, the “Cinderella” aspect of the novel, but I never did. Princess Delia and Aidan have some fun adventures together, and they exchange some romantic lines about being unable to live without one another and whatnot, but I never felt the chemistry–something it’s always difficult for me to fully explain in a review. I don’t really know why I didn’t care about their romance, only that I didn’t and it didn’t feel fully real to me, even though its realness is a major theme of the story.
Add to this the fact that the construction of the book is a bit clunky (For example, Aidan apparently “doesn’t know” the creation story of his OWN PLANET, so people sit down explicitly to tell it to him, er, the reader, er, him), and Myers seriously included a set of creepy twins who are never apart and seem to be actually one person, one of my major literary pet peeves, and I just don’t have much positive to say about this book. I love fairy tale retellings, but this did not work for me at all.