ARC Review + Favourite Quotes: Royal Decoy by Heather Frost

Special thanks to the author for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Royal Decoy (Fate of Eyrinthia #1)
Release date: 18 June 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance, Romantasy

Panda Rating:

A SERVANT blackmailed into becoming a princess’s decoy.
A BODYGUARD determined to keep her alive.
A PRINCE forced to execute his father’s brutal laws.
A PRISONER used to keep him compliant.
A WORLD on the brink of war.

In one horrible night, Clare goes from kitchen maid to royal decoy. She has three months to become the princess’s perfect double so she can ensure her betrothal to an enemy prince. Desperate to survive, Clare throws herself into self-defense training, taught by her distractingly attractive bodyguard. The danger increases when a ruthless assassin begins stalking her, intent on ending the tenuous peace.

Across the northern mountains, Prince Grayson is his father’s ultimate weapon. He carries out the king’s harsh orders because the one person he cares about is his father’s prisoner. Grayson’s silent obedience is tested when his father plans to exploit the marriage alliance between two of their greatest enemies. If Grayson submits, the blood of thousands will spill. If he resists, the girl who means everything to him will die.

The fate of Eyrinthia hangs in the balance. Some want peace. Some want war. All will be thrown into chaos.

Amazon (US)

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

I can’t remember the last time I read a romance-fantasy (‘romantasy’) but I’ve been wanting to read one lately, so when this blog tour popped up and the story sounded intriguing, I immediately signed up for it. I’m a big lover of fantasy and of romance so the combination of the two is like a match made in heaven and I’m glad that I had the chance to read this one and discover a new author. It has made me more curious about this sub-genre and I’m now on the look out for more “romantasies” to read!

  • The story is told in alternating perspectives and I enjoyed all of them. However, I felt the world building was lacking as we don’t really get to the root of why these countries hated each other, nor did I get a very clear understanding about the politics. I hope we learn more about the countries in the sequel. I think this book could’ve also benefitted from a map, but then again, I always think fantasies should have maps 😂
  • The pacing was a little bit erratic. There was a lot that happens over a short amount of time but I did think that if some details were cut down further, there wouldn’t be any critical information that’s missed out on.

“Life isn’t predictable. Tragedies happen, and there are consequences beyond our control. But we choose the people we want close to us. We choose to be lonely, or embraced. Don’t choose loneliness, my dear.”

  • I liked the romance between Clare and Markham. I think I’m used to ‘fast’ romances in YA fantasy and I’m definitely not used to such chaste/wholesome interactions between two characters but I was into it! If you’re looking for insta love, you won’t find it here (*phew!*). This was a deliciously slow-romance that still moves at a fairly sedate pace by the time book one wraps up, but when the first more heated and romantic moments happen, you’ll be swooning!
  • There were some great found family vibes within the group of princess’ guards and I ended up getting attached to quite a few of them, especially Captain Markam and Venn! There was some great banter between these friends and you know we’re always here for that.

“Anyone can pretend to be something they’re not. I’m proof of that. But it’s who you are when you think no one is watching that reveals your true character.”

  • Clare was my favourite character. She’s big hearted, sincere and fiercely determined. She has spent the majority of her life raising her younger brothers, and her love and devotion to ensuring they have the best life is clear as day, and it’s something I could really relate to. Family is most important to her.
  • I thought Grayson was really interesting. I think I’m just a sucker for those “evil-but-not-really” characters! His family was… horrifying to say the least and I felt really sorry for him having to live with such purely evil people; it was a bit hard to wrap my head around. His loneliness and longing for love was palpable and with a family like his, not at all surprising. He has a silent strength about him that made him feel older and I actually forgot most of the time that he was not even 18 yet!

“Respect is earned. You told me that, back when your words meant something.”

  • That said, the characters experience little growth throughout the book and felt a little one dimensional at times. They’re also fairly ‘cookie cutter’ characters that don’t stray outside of their moulds. The evil characters were evil simply because they could be (and man, do they take evil to the next level!). The main characters were very much motivated solely by their romantic feelings (and I get, it’s a romantic-fantasy) but I wish that we got to know more of their motivations outside of that.
  • One thing that irritated me slightly and that I found implausible was the fact that there were so many opportunities for assassins to get through to the “princess”. It was like, what are all these bodyguards for then and also, Captain Markham, could you do your job pls? LOL I guess that’s what romance does to you though, eh?

“A woman’s heart should only be able to break once. But we’re never beyond more breaking; each shattered piece can break again.”

  • Overall, I’m glad that I got the chance to read this book. There were a lot of intriguing possibilities set up at the end of book one and I’m curious to see how they’ll play out in the sequel. The characters will also be coming together and I’m eager to see how and what will happen when they do!

Heather Frost writes mostly YA fiction and has a soft spot for tortured characters, breath-stealing romance, and happy endings. She is the author of the Seers trilogy. She has a BS in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore, which means she got to read fairy tales and ghost stories and call it homework. When she’s not writing, Heather likes to read, travel, and hold Lord of the Rings movie marathons. She owns two typewriters, sings in the car, and dreams of living in a castle someday. She currently lives in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering mountains in the wilds of Utah

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

There is a GIVEAWAY! You can win a personalised/signed ARC of Royal Decoy (softcover), 2 mood rings (for you and a friend!) and Signed Bookmarks (INT). The giveaway runs from 12 – 26 June!

Enter the giveaway ➡ HERE.

Have you read Royal Decoy or is it on your TBR?

10 thoughts on “ARC Review + Favourite Quotes: Royal Decoy by Heather Frost

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