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  • Really gay Dynasty

    That is a full gay "Dynasty" story, and you can't change my mind. I didn't know what to expect from this book. I was curious about the premise, but I don't think I read anything from this author before. The standard trope of arranged marriage (of convenience) and a smart multi-billionaire was enough to get me curious. Was it worth it? That's... A hard question. "Royally Indebt" isn't a standard love story, first in the series. The first half of the book seems like that, but it's only an illusion. In the first half, we get to be with MCs for about two years of their lives. Then, we have another eight years, usually as one-two chapters for one year. Because of that, the pacing of the story changes drastically, and we feel more like viewers of another episode of a soap opera show and not readers. It doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. There is a lot of action, twists, plot twists, short cliffhangers, and dramatic changes of the status quo. Everything, that can happen - happens. Well, maybe not EVERYthing, but A LOT, trust me. Sadly, because of that, more things end up without a satisfying conclusion that I can count. Okay, now we can focus on the writing. It is surprisingly good. Because of the weird pace, I lost interest in the story, but there was not even one moment when I thought that I'm wasting my time. Or when I facepalmed because of the errors, weird dialogues, or descriptions. The story is uncanny, and the characters are unlikable (I will come back to that in a minute) but it's written OK. The sex scenes (or kinky scenes) came in the weirdest moments, and because of that, I couldn't focus on them, but they were OK too. Unexpectedly short, or intense, but OK. So, summarizing: the author's style was easy to read, the story was captivating (could be edited differently, but it was hard to put the book down). What about the characters? Oh well. That is where my real problems begin. There is a ton of secondary characters. They all have their backstory, their moods, looks, but their motivations? They always are explained in exposition or short dialogue. Some of the characters are good, some are bad, but they still feel less like people, and more like cardboard stands with stick notes on them. And most of them are unlikeable or appear one or two times in the story and then vanish. The main characters are... weird. I can't say that there is consistency in their behavior. I started the book liking both of them - they were cute, young (-ish), and naive. They had their traumas, but they were open and ready to love and be loved. Eric was the nicer one. He seemed like someone worth taking care of, smart, kinky, unrestricted. He was ready to forget about his life goals; to make his husband happy, and his legacy repaired. And then there were times when his decisions didn't make any sense. Or when he suddenly was deeper in the BDSM scene than we were let know before. Robert was a douchebag. There were moments when he was acting almost borderline, smashing people standing in his way. Yes, this can be explained by his past, but it wasn't. Yes, he was a rich person, and he didn't succeed because of his gentle nature, but there were times when I just wanted to kick him and scream at him. There were times when I truly hoped that he will die or lose his husband for good. I stopped rooting for him even before his wedding, and it was hard to make myself care again because of everything he had done later. Maybe this is an asset - to make the reader hate one of the main characters and then make his redemption. For me - it isn't. I can ignore a lot of mistakes when I love the characters: when they make me smile, laugh, and when I cry at their misfortunes. When I start hoping that they will end up two feet under, it's the end of my fun. "Royally Indebt" isn't a bad book. It isn't a mediocre book either. It's far from perfection, not exactly my cup of tea, but it isn't bad. It's different, and it would be better with more focus put on the characters, their motivations, goals, traumas, and ways to love each other. Because of the more serialized second half of the book, it's more confusing and full of ideas that never have time to fully "burgeon". Was it worth it? It's still a hard question... I received an ARC of this book from the Gay Romance Reviews, and I am voluntarily leaving an unbiased review.

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