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Book Review: Paper Princess trilogy by Erin Watt

Hello Readers & Friends,

A weird sort of review today. I had seen the Paper Princess book recommended as people's 'guilty pleasure' on a ton of Booktube videos, so I ordered it for when I needed something easy. I was expecting something similar to The Selection, but it was actually very different. I assumed from the title it was fantasy, but it's actually a contemporary. The basic jist of the first book is that an orphan called Ella who is working in a strip club underage to support herself is one day picked up by a man who explains he was her paternal father's best friend, and has been searching for her since his death. He is her new legal guardian, and also a bajillionaire who owns private jets and the likes. Also he has five hot sons. So you can see what kind of story this is going to be.

The first book was very problematic for me, but similar to After by Anna Todd, I found it very difficult to put down. We have a classic enemy-to-lovers situation where Ella is falling for one of the sons, who is (of course) an asshole to her. Whilst not as problematic as After, there were several things which made me uncomfortable enough to give it a 2-star rating. There are several instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault, particularly with one son called Easton who goes on to become Ella's only friend in the house somehow. There is a bunch of slut-shaming as Ella is bullied at her new posh boarding school, and in general the way that women are depicted in the book seems to be purely either as bitchy or for sexual tension. The saving grace which makes it much better than After is that Ella is a stronger character who defends herself and stands up for her lifestyle and choices. However, in general, the depiction of women and sex in this book was just really a big red flag for me.

Book two we start to see things develop more. By this point **SPOILER!*** Ella is in a relationship with Reid and so most of the troublesome sexual references are now gone. This book I gave 3 stars to as it begins to explore the relationships deeper and starts to really round out the boys characters. Whilst the twins to me seem like a spare part who don't need to be in the books at all other than to continually reference their shared girlfriend (gross), the other brothers begin to develop and we see some interesting sides to them. It was an okay book with a big BOOM of an ending. It passed time nicely, but I can't remember much of anything really happening other than boring school dramas.

The third book was unbelievable in comparison. I gave it a four star rating as we suddenly see the trilogy turned on it's head and we are in the midst of a whodunnit murder, with Reid accused and some damning evidence supporting the idea that he is the killer. We see Ella struggle to come to terms with this and to find out who the real culprit is - with even more shocking results. It was a really pacy, decent storyline with lots of hooks and twists and we really get to enjoy the characters we've spent the last two books getting to know. 

So for me, despite a poor and problematic start, this trilogy gets better as it goes and builds to a fantastic end. That said, I won't be reading the Easton spin-off, due to how he behaved in book 1 putting me off wanting to get to know him and his sleazy nature in much more depth.

Have you read this series? It was a decent time-passing trashy read. 


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