Review | Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston.
Length: 421 pages.
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
If I had to pick one word to summarize this book, it would be hope. This clearly is the message that the author attempts to convey throughout it. Do I love it? Do I hate it? I’m still not sure. I feel like this book has two sides: the romance and the politics. Unfortunately, I don’t think that these were balanced properly.
What I loved:
I definitely loved Alex and Henry.
I think that Alex’s character is amazing. I understand why some people didn’t like him, but here’s the thing: not everyone is nice and submissive and scared of expressing their feelings. Some people are just outgoing and eccentric, which I think Alex definitely is. Honestly, he is a breath of fresh air. I love his humor, his attitude, and how confident he is with himself and what he wants to do with his life. I acknowledge that he can be pretty weird and maybe most of you won’t like to read about a character that’s kind of mean to everyone, but… The truth is that everyone is different and that shouldn’t take away their right to be the protagonist in their own stories. Anyways, I loved this character so let me just share with you what I think is my favorite quote from the book:
What does Jedi have? Fuckin’ Ewoks.– Alexander Claremont-Diaz.
Though I think this one gives the Ewoks a run for their money:
Was it a meeting about which of your cousins have to marry each other to take back Casterly Rock?– Alexander Claremont-Diaz.
Honestly, Alex is hilarious.
Henry it the total opposite. He is quiet, reserved and so sweet. But, I love him all the same. This is a character that has struggled and been through so much, but still finds the ability to remain strong. Throughout this book, we see Henry grow and fight for his happiness, and that’s beautiful. I think, somehow, he is the main character that we are used to and who’s point of view we usually read. I really appreciated how we were able to watch his journey from a new perspective. As outsiders. We were never in his head, but we were able to meet him and fall in love with him in tandem with Alex. So, to be fair, I feel like I should include some of my favorite quotes from Henry as well:
Alex, First Son of Off-Brand England…– Henry Mountchristen-Windsor.
Yes, that is his real last name.
“I’m not a coward,” he says. “And I don’t want to fix it.”– Henry Mountchristen-Windsor.
What I didn’t love:
Basically, I did not like the politics in this book. I understand why the author included them and the statement she was trying to make. However, I think everything was a bit over done. I enjoyed reading about the issues regarding Alex and Henry’s relationship, I didn’t mind those at all. However, the actual election between Alex’s mom and, essentially, Donald Trump, not so much.
The author wants to sell us this alternate reality as a way to give us hope that change can be achieved. I completely support her purpose, but I think she tried to cram a lot of issues into one book. I mean, in this story the United States’ president is a woman, her children are half Mexican and her son is bisexual and dating the gay prince of England. Those are a lot of social issues. I’m not against her including all of this, but I think she could’ve balanced them all better or focus on one or two of these, so that she could truly expand on them and explain how people feel in regards to them.
However, at the end of the day, in spite of everything I consider is wrong with this book… I don’t care. I mean, I gave it 4 stars. I don’t care that it’s a tad unrealistic. I don’t care that it has a happy ending. I. DON’T. CARE. In the world we are living in today, we need hope, and we need to know that we are not alone. This is a book to show us that everything we dream about can happen. It probably won’t happen as fast as it did on this book, but it can. We can change the way our world works.
Lastly, I just want to point out that this book takes place, mostly, in 2020 and I think it’s funny. If the author only knew how life would be like in 2020 when she wrote this…