Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for The Pageant (from Goodreads):
Who’s the fairest of them all?
Young women from every settlement in the land are being handpicked to enter The Pageant, a beauty contest reminiscent of Miss Universe from the old days. Gwyneth West’s social-climbing mother wants her to compete, by Gwyn isn’t so sure…
The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.
And then there’s the prize…
The winner of The Pageant gets a marriage proposal from Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and now governs the new settlements. The Royal Family is mysterious. Rumor has it they don’t sleep. Rumor has it they eschew the sun.
Rumor has it they’re immortal.
When Gwyn is thrust into The Pageant, she fights to survive the competitive nature of the other contestants.
But even if wins…can she survive a vampire fiancé?
Series: Vampire Royals
Books #6-8 are a part of the Shifter Royals Series
Author: Leigh Walker
# of Books: 9 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological but Connected
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2018 – ongoing
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
So I actually picked up The Pageant (#1) because the cover drew me in when I was browsing audiobooks to borrow on my library’s Hoopla. The bold colours and the haunting background of the cover called to me every time I scrolled by. And once I read the synopsis, I thought it would be a great new audiobook series for me to read!
The Concept / The World:
I think the best way to describe this series is as the perfect hybrid baby between The Selection (girls competing for the prince’s love from different social classes) and Twilight (the vampires and werewolves). Basically, it’s all about human girls finding love with dangerous paranormal creatures who capture their hearts despite the many obstacles in their way.
The Reading Order:
In terms of Chronological Events, it’s best to read everything as it is listed on Goodreads for the Vampire Royals Series. The book number corresponds to the order of events.
But, not all the books follow the same heroine. Books #1-3 follow Gwen; Books #4-5 follow another girl from the competition; Books #6-8 follow another girl (and they are often grouped under the Shifter Royals Trilogy); Book #9 follows a third girl from the original competition of Books #1-3.
For Books #1-3, the overall feel is very much like the TV show The Bachelor — if you had teenagers competing for a vampire bachelor since that’s what the drama stays focused on. You have girls trash-talking each other; interfering parents and dates.
Yes, there is a subplot of the humans vs vampires but it really takes a backseat to the drama of Dallas finding a bride…at least I felt like that was the case for those 3 books–and I was OK with that. However, when I compare the “rebellion” subplot featured in The Selection Series, this one is much better executed. In the Selection, I felt like the rebellion plotline came from nowhere but with this paranormal series, we get it in the right doses so that you never forget that it is actually happening outside the competition.
Books #4-5 have a different approach where they lack that reality competition aspect and I really missed that. I didn’t think the politics of the world and the rebellion were strong enough to carry the two books without the Bachelor-esque storyline.
If you take Katniss (The Hunger Games), America (The Selection) and Bella (Twilight) you’d probably get Gwen. She seems to have some of the best and worst traits of all these heroines–though she wasn’t the worst heroine I’ve endured. She was likeable in a lot of ways. She worries for her family and she knows how to play the royalty game. Of course, she is a little all over the place with her feelings for Dallas but given the nature of the competition, I can understand how she would be put in that position.
I liked a lot of the side characters (who end up being future leads) which is something I always enjoy in my book series. It’s great to see some characters redeem themselves…or get their just desserts.
It’s really cute and sweet. There isn’t much else to it besides attraction and some stolen moments, but I liked how the couples communicated with each other. These books are very clean in terms of sexual content (really, it’s a lot of hand-holding and kissing) so I find that refreshing in a paranormal read. Adult paranormal or supernatural series can get a little smutty (Black Dagger Brotherhood for example) so it was nice to read something that kept things PG.
My Audiobook Experience (Books #1-#3):
I really enjoyed the audiobooks! They were quick and addicting to listen to. It made it feel like I was watching a TV show. I could only find audiobooks for the first 3 novels, so I read the others that way though I would have loved to have continued with the audio versions.
The Shifter Royals Spin-Off:
Series Rating: 3/5
The Pageant 3/5 | The Gala 3/5 | The Finale 3/5 | The North 3/5 | The Siege 3/5 | Shifter Royals Series | The Rebel TBP
If you are looking for an uncomplicated paranormal romance that reads more like a reality TV show, this is a fun series for you to pick up!
Read if You Like: vampires, love competitions
Avoid if You: want more action
- The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection Series #1)
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1)
- The Vampire Heir by Juliana Haygert (Rite of the Vampire #1)