I didn’t know Alyssa Cole could write a boring book, but I am very sad to be proven wrong with HOW TO FIND A PRINCESS. Now, I love her, but no author is perfect, and this book just didn’t work for me – it might work for someone else! As always, Cole’s main characters were fun and easy to root for. Unfortunately, the plot was a total slog, and the ending made no sense.
An Anastasia reimagining, the book follows Makeda, a woman with unfortunate doormat, people-pleasing tendencies scraping by after another failed relationship. Her life is turned upside down when Beznaria, a sexy, blunt royal investigator, barges into her life, claiming Makeda is a long-lost princess who needs to go to Ibarania to claim her crown – something Makeda has no interest in doing.
It took me a while to warm up to Makeda, but I liked Beznaria right off the bat; she’s funny, determined, and way too blunt for her own good sometimes. Her Ibarania phrases and attitude were the highlights of the story. I thought Makeda and Beznaria had decent chemistry; it just wasn’t explored even a little bit until way too late in the book. By the time they actually start to develop and work through real feelings, the book’s plot is a mess, and I didn’t care about them as a couple like I wanted to.
So let’s get into the plot, Makeda meets Beznaria in New Jersey, and they spend a good amount of time going round and round about Makeda not wanting to take the trip to Ibarania – that’s all fine. When she is finally convinced to go, I thought, “oh good, the plot is finally going to get going.” But then they weirdly have to take a cargo boat to Ibarania where a whole new cast of characters is introduced, and then… nothing happens. Makeda and Beznaria are fake dating for a free passage, Makeda has minor personal revelations, and another royal is inexplicably on the boat with them (it felt like the start of another book/series but that also didn’t really go anywhere as a subplot). And that’s about it. I kept checking how far into the book I was and thinking, “they’re STILL on the boat??”
Makeda and Beznaria just sail slowly to Iberania, so there is about 10% left in the book when they get there. The excruciatingly slow plot we have been following is basically tossed out the window, there is a weird twist, and the book ends. It didn’t even feel like much of a happily ever after for Makeda and Beznaria because the odd plot twist completely took away from what little romance we had at the end.
Additionally, there were too many subplots that felt rushed and incomplete by the end of the book. While they were technically all tied up, it felt like many plot points were just glossed over within a page or two, which means they probably shouldn’t have been in the book to begin with.
Overall, I think this book tried to do too much. Makeda and Beznaria were strong characters, but I wanted more time developing their relationship and less time on the dang boat.
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**