As popular as The Bachelor TV series and The Selection by Kiera Cass are there is no reason why an author should not be able to play off this theme of rags to riches while finding love through a competitive process. Michael Pierce, in Royal Replicas, uses Kiera Cass’s The Selection as a template for his futuristic, dystopian world with kings and queens that have reshaped society after the fall of America as we know it. To continue her family’s control, the queen creates clones of her only daughter who is ill with a terminal disease. At birth, these identical sisters, are sent to be raised by families in different districts; some good and others abusive who treat them worse than servants. When the clone sisters come of age they are brought back to the palace to compete for the hand in marriage to Prince Byron, from a neighboring country, and the identity of Princess Amelia. With its unique plot twists Royal Replicas is not a bad knock off, however it earned three stars from me because of its flat, predictable characters and stilted dialogue.
The heroine is the clone, Victoria, who was severely abused by the head of a well to do family she was placed with. He treated her like a servant and made his two daughters watch as he punished she took for their misdeeds as well as her own errors. While this background is supposed to make her a gritty yet compassionate person, her fight seems lackluster and her compassion seems canned. This also seems to be the case for a number of other characters, who have the potential to be more developed and make the plot fuller and more intriguing. The other aspect of the story that really takes away from the characters is dialogue that feels like you are watching an elementary school play. Just because the audience is YA/teen does not mean that the dialogue needs to be dumbed down or appear as if the characters are trying to act mature.
Even with these issues Royal Replicas is an easy read that entertains. The cliffhanger, while anticipated and staged feeling, does make you want to know what happens in the next book, Royal Captives, released October 13, 2017.