Title: Acts of Treason (The Line of Succession #2)
Author: Harry F. Rey
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Page Count: 160
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Four months have passed since the birthday party where Princess Katyn came into James’ life and gave the country hope of a royal wedding. Andrew is now a journalist, but he’s still up to his old tricks, spinning stories of the impending engagement of James and Katyn. Fortunately, the public are lapping up the fairytale royal romance. In reality, James and Andrew’s relationship is struggling to survive the weight of their separation, always one bad headline away from disaster.
The expected engagement has cornered James, and he’s acting out in ever more dangerous ways. The Queen has made it crystal clear she wants a wedding and an heir, and will stop at nothing to achieve it…not even murder.
As Princess Alexandra ramps up her feminist plan to forever shift the line of succession, she tasks her husband Faisal with roping in Andrew to her schemes by promising him a normal life with James. Only, it comes with a high price…treason.
Meanwhile, Lizzie pursues her own, far deadlier agenda. She’s finished holding onto secrets, and these particular secrets are the kind which, if they ever got out, could blow the entire line of succession wide open.
The title says it all; this is book #2 of a series and as such cannot be read as a stand-alone novel. Don’t even try—you will be lost. Luckily, I read the first book just before I received this one, so the whole plot as well as the different characters were still fresh in my memory. And made sense. Nothing has to be added to the blurb, which traces the major lines of the plot very well, so I’ll plunge immediately into the discussion of this book’s merits and flaws.
First of all, I have to admit this was a real page-turner. I wouldn’t call the series a soap opera as those tend to come in a more sugary, pinkish, unrealistic package. No, this story turns out a teensy bit bleak and chilling; so much so that it could well be taken from real life. As in the first book, there are twists and new developments galore, so that I simply couldn’t put down the book, reading on with bated breath. Of course, none of the main characters is really endearing per se. On one hand, we have the heir to the throne, James, and his lover Andrew, who remain major dimwits stumbling through their lives clueless and hapless. Sometimes it feels almost cruel to witness how little they grasp of what’s going on around them. They only react, never act. The prince is basically a spoilt brat who simply cannot seem to get a grip on his life. Andrew is meant to protect him and help him, but all he ever does is indulge his lover’s every whims (and in this book, to a certain extent, his own, too). Why anyone would have given him the job he held in book #1 (James’s press officer) is a total mystery as he doesn’t have the foggiest of how to do it. Now he’s working for a tabloid, distilling bits and pieces about the upcoming royal wedding he has provoked in book #1. Not that that will do him any good… ah, well, I won’t say more (would be a spoiler). Princess Alexandra is still as ruthless and cold-blooded as in the first book; her husband seems no better, but I have an inkling he has a hidden agenda we might discover in the next book. Lizzy looks like the almost caricatural archetype of the fag-hag, what with being secretly in love with Andrew and still hoping, but at least, she’s a loyal person. Through flashbacks, we get a better idea of her own plans, however, and they are not unambitious either. As for the queen—well, we get it what a heartless, plotting woman she is.
So, yes, the intrigues we have encountered in the first book continue and multiply. We get glitzy scenes, brainless partying, shags, betrayals, drugs, alcohol, politics, all presented in perfectly sized snippets. The whole adventure ends with yet another cliff-hanger, just as in book #1, so the readers can just hope Mr. Rey will hurry up finishing the next instalment (this reader does for sure). The writing is fluent and pleasant, seemingly effortless, sure, and efficient. The author knows his job and does it well, he knows how to construct his scenes, how to make his dialogues come alive, how to tell his tale. For those looking for a sweet romance, don’t pick up this book, because the author is certainly not milking that cow. If you like your “House of Cards” with the extra-flavour of royals and celebs, this will absolutely be your cup of tea.
The whole book should have been more thoroughly proofread (why do so many books have comma-issues? Plus, I stumbled upon “here” instead of “hear”—I mean, seriously?). The major flaw of both books 1 and 2 is: they are way too short to be novels in their own right. I don’t know if this is planned to work as a trilogy or if the series will consist of even more books, but to me, even if books # 1 and 2 had been released together as one novel, I would still have had the feeling something was missing (book #3, perhaps). That said, it was still a wickedly entertaining gosh-what’ll-come-next read.