I think if I had waited another day or so, I could have popped this onto my Review Roundup with Missing Hearts. I’ve said before that I liked Elise Marion because she writes black girls in regular fantasy, and it’s not a slave narrative. Although I chose The Rogue Prince based off of that, however, I ended up being a little mistaken as this series is about a brown girl.
I’m rooting for all the women of color.
In The Rogue Prince, Damien Rothchester is the black sheep of his family, so used to being a disappointment that he never bothers to change the public’s perception of him as a good-for-nothing. Esmerelda Amadour is a Romani woman trying to move forward from the tragic events of her past, and find a love as passionate as her parents’. Sparks fly when the two finally meet, but a terrible sequence of events makes it almost impossible for them to stay together. Can the two make their own happily ever after?
I just found out that this novel is actually nine years old, so I can confidently say that they do. Eventually. The Rogue Prince started pretty slow in the first half for me, but, once it got going, it was pretty good. On a technical level, this book only carries about two mistakes, so I would consider it excellently written. However, there are some problems.
Like I said before, Esmerelda is a Romani woman, so the g-word is all up and through this book, and they are not the type to be offended by it. If you are, just skip this series entirely. At least three books have the g-word in the title. The interesting part is Elise Marion has apparently done this series twice.
The Rogue Prince is actually just a repackaged version of Elise Marion’s 2011 novel, The Third Son. The entire Royals of Cardenas series is just the Kings of Cardenas series with either completely or slightly different names, and one extra book about Esmerelda’s younger brother. While I have heard of romance authors repackaging their novels for a plethora of reasons – many of them not good – I’m going to give Elise Marion a pass because the covers on the new books look a little better. They’re all bodice rippers, and I’m not here to stop Marion’s cash flow.
That being said, I hated that so many people had to die or be incapacitated for it to work out. Why couldn’t Esmerelda and Damien just get married in peace? Why couldn’t Alexandra love her two remaining children? Why did Morgana have to go crazy? These are things that kind of bothered me about the story, because the extra drama wasn’t truly needed or necessary. (And honestly, Alexandra’s behavior really needed to be answered because she really was trash to her youngest two for no good reason.)
I understand that Serge, the twin, gets his own book, but when I say this guy gets overlooked? Marion could have done a little more for Serge. He literally could have died, and I would have assumed Marion cared less about him than his mother did. Lionus’ demise may have been for plot, but I personally hate sibling deaths – thanks George R.R. Martin – and wish he and Damien could have reconciled well before Lionus was on his deathbed.
And Tristan?! Ugh, Esmerelda might as well have been an unwed mother.
So I didn’t exactly hate this novel, but I gave it three stars on Goodreads because it was pretty well written and the story itself wasn’t bad. Like I said, the first half was kind of slow, and the use of the g-word may be offensive to some, but Elise Marion delivered. I don’t really see myself finishing the series, though I might give The Awakened Prince a read. If anything, I’ll probably be returning to the Chained series to finish up the novellas that I didn’t read during my first run.
‘Til we meet again.
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