Author: Meg Cabot
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I thought to myself ‘Ah, I loved these books when I was younger, I should re-read them and fall down a nostalgia wormhole, then finish up with the new story’. This took longer than I thought it would because I completely forgot that Cabot has something in common with the much beloved Pratchett, in that while her voice is original and fun, it’s basically impossible to read the series from cover to cover. Unlike Pratchett though, this is not the case because so many comedy books get a little grating, but because The Princess Diaries wavers in quality like a night of speed dating.
But on to the final instalment, is it one of the bad ones? Nope.
Is it one of the good ones? Not really.
It’s fine, and I did have a few good laughs with it, for who can’t laugh at the image of someone saying ‘Let those without nude photos cast the first stone’ in front of the pope.
But and this is strange to say about Cabot of all people because she’s usually funny without needing this particular crutch, a lot of the humour relies on topical references – this book’s going to date faster than a Call of Duty game. So yeah, it’s funny(ish, it’s not her best work) but in a few years’ time, I’m either not going to remember why or it’s going to be the equivalent of listening to my Dad do stand up.
As someone who started following the Princess Diaries from the release of the second book in 2001, I must say it was nice seeing how everyone’s story turned out. Although while this was nice, it did come at the expense of knee-capping a lot of the writing early on, dialogue so expositional heavy it sounded like characters were reading from a Princess Diaries fact sheet. We must know how everyone turned out, no matter how irrelevant. Remember Kenny Showalter? No, no one does. Yet even he gets a shout out.
The writing does get better when we move away from wallowing in, sorry, paying tribute to the original series, but it’s still not Cabot’s best, characters are introduced messily and at a lot of points I wasn’t sure why Mia behaved in the way she did, a little more tell would have been nice.
Assuming you can get over the fact one of the plot points kind of spits in the face of the original series AND that you are a long-time reader (because this is certainly not a book for newcomers) you may well enjoy reading The Royal Wedding. You’ll have a bit of a laugh, enjoy Mia’s romance to an unbelievably perfect man, then put it aside and forget about it completely.