Book #1 Ruthless Royals
Published 17th August 2021
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Briar Monroe’s life is about to change forever. Her mother has just moved in with her wealthy, good looking beau, and Briar is going too. She’s not afraid though, she’s looking forward to the change and to get away from the past that haunts her. However, once she gets to her new home, she meets the Kings. Hunter, Ash, Ledger and Samson. Four of the most beautiful men she’s ever laid eyes on and the cruelest bunch out there. They rule Ravenwood Academy, and no one questions anything they do. Thats not the worst part, the worst part is that the meanest one of all is Briar’s new step brother, and he hasn’t taken kindly to his new family. Briar is not afraid though, she’s already looked the devil in the eye and lived to tell the tale. These four kings can try to break her, but it’s hard to break someone who’s already been broken. They’re about to find out what a real Queen looks like, and before the story is out, she’ll have them kneeling before her, or die trying.
TRIGGER WARNING: mention of rape that happened previously, flash back to incident but not in detail.
I’ve realised that I have a love for the bully genre, and it didn’t even bug me that this was a highschool bully story. Sometimes I feel like I struggle to connect with the characters due to them being half my age, but I didn’t have this problem with this story, I really enjoyed it and absolutely flew through it. I’d seen it recommended in a few book groups, and also had a bookish work mate recommend it to me, so I figured why not give it a go.
I enjoyed the relationship dynamic of the new family Briar and Hunter were trying to deal with. I found it super refreshing that the mother and step father in this book were super supportive, genuinely in love and all about family time and making sure that everyone was happy and working together. It’s quite rare, I’ve noticed, that the parental figures in these stories give a crap, or believe the protagonists. So it was super refreshing to read a story where the parents are super present and actually care. Especially after what had happened to Briar in their previous town. The fact that her mother believed her, hands down, and wasn’t one of the stereotype “dead beat” mother who doesn’t believe her own child about her partner (at the time). The four Kings have super distinct personalities, and while they’re all initially dicks, they do grow on you and you realise that their characters are quite complex. Each having their own inner demons that they’re battling.
Another thing I loved in this story is how it focuses on image and assumption. A lot of people may just see this as yet another highschool bully book, in a sea of the same. But I feel like this story stands out because of it’s differences, like those mentioned above and the way it touches on the image that people want to see, when it comes to others. The Kings are treated like royalty and are feared because of rumours and stories that are false, yet they never bother to correct because it allows them to be left alone and it’s just easier to let people believe what they want, especially if they’re not interested in actually finding out the truth in the matter. I think this was a great addition and I’m really hoping that this theme continues throughout the series and we get to see characters opening up and going against the status quo in the form of actually talking to the person the rumours surround.
The characters were well written, as said above, each of the Kings have very distince personalities and voices, and they’re quite the mismatched group, in my opinion, which worked well for this story. One thing I loved was that our female main character is no push over. She has experienced trauma, and while she still deals with the after effects on a daily basis, she never lets it beat her. She fights it every step of the way and it was absolutely amazing to see such a strong female lead in this story. I love that she fights the Kings and refuses to bow down to them, just because everyone else does. Strong female charaters who are still relateable and believable are important and Briar is one such characters.
The story is strong enough and I feel like it’s very character driven. Which works fine for me, I’m invested in these characters and their stories, and I’m definitely invested in seeing how all the relationships develop. There’s heaps of room for where this story can go and there’s so many things that I’m hoping get resolved with all of the characters, so I’m looking forward to continuing this series.
All in all, this was an engaging, page turning read that I could not put down. I was keen to see what would happen next and I loved how strong the FMC was. There’s a lot of room for where this story can head and I’m definitely here for it. If you’re looking for something that has some different elements than your other bully books, try this one out, you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.