Book Review: The Ex-Princess (The Borderline Chronicles Book 1) by Fiona West

Princess Abbie ran away from her queendom years ago and is content making a life of her own until two people show up and tell her that her father is dying, she's still contracted to marry Prince Edward, and that it's their job to bring her back home. She has no plans of going through with the marriage, but when Edward himself comes to aid her journey, feelings start getting in the way.

Book Review: The Ex-Princess (The Border Chronicles Book 1) by Fiona West | reading, books, book reviews, high fantasy, fantasy romance
Title: The Ex-Princess
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 270
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

This book was a lighthearted and fun fantasy about royals, romance, and life with chronic illness! I loved some things, I had issues with others, so this is a good time for some lists. As usual, I’ll get the negatives out of the way first.

Things I Disliked:

– I was so confused about the world. It had modern Earth things and alluded to products/books/phrases/etc. that we have, but it wasn’t Earth. There was an area inside the Veil and an area outside the Veil, but I have no idea what the difference was. They had cell phones and social media and airplanes, yet they traveled by horse instead of car. There was clearly magic of some sort since there was a talking horses, sand ships, and people with sparkly skin, but none of that was explained. Maybe this was supposed to be the “modern fairytale” aspect mentioned in the blurb, maybe I just wasn’t supposed to think about it too hard, but it felt like a discordant mishmash. Not enough to ruin the story though, and of course this is subjective, so other readers may love this combo of real and fantasy.

– There were some writing choices that also made me confused at times. It wasn’t always clear who was speaking. At one point, the narration went from referring to the prince as Edward to referring to him as Parker; that was his childhood nickname and the name he was going by while they were traveling, but the way it suddenly changed in the narration was jarring, and I’m not sure what I should call him now. There were a couple times when information was withheld and then popped up at a random time, and then I was left trying to figure out how it fit with everything or what the characters were talking about.

Things I Liked:

– The romance was great! I’ve been shying away from romance-focused books lately for various reasons, but this romance worked so well for me. From their very first phone conversation, I could feel the connection between Abbie and Edward. It felt natural and realistic. The flirty banter was fun and exactly what flirting should be, and the more intimate moments (no sex, just hand touching, kissing, that sort of thing) were just the right amount of serious and pulse-pounding. It’s been a while since I’ve had those beginning-stages-of-a-potential-relationship feels, but this book captured them perfectly. The other great thing about the relationship was that it was imperfect. In most books, every kiss is mind-blowing, the hero is always smooth and has swoon-worthy speeches ready at the exact right moments, etc., but not in this book. Which is not to say it was bad! Quite the opposite. The romance was very sweet, and I loved it even more for how realistically and endearingly imperfect it was.

– Edward was adorable! Any girl would be lucky to have him. He was so earnest, open, patient, and sweet. He was a big nerd, and I loved it. But he could also be playful and flirty, and I loved that too.

– I liked Abbie too. She had more rough edges, but she was good-hearted. To the other characters, it might’ve seemed like she just shirked her responsibilities, but she didn’t do it because she was callus; she did it because everyone else was, and she had to look out for herself. I liked how she didn’t let anyone pressure her into doing things she knew would only hurt her.

– The disability rep was wonderful! This is the first SFF book I’ve even found, let alone read, with a main character who has a chronic illness somewhat similar to my own (she has lupus). I loved how the rep included things the average person doesn’t think about or realize about living with chronic illness. It didn’t so much focus on symptoms but rather how the illness impacted her life and how she was treated because of it, and I could relate to much of that. I also found the ending to be very satisfying not only in terms of the romance but also the chronic illness. It didn’t just brush it aside as though it suddenly didn’t exist or matter, and it was all the more happy of an ending for it (and don’t worry, it was in fact a happy ending, one that could easily be enjoyed as a standalone even though there will be more books).

– There were some other types of diversity as well. Edward had very dark skin and wore glasses.

Overall Thoughts:

Although I did have some issues, all the most important things were great and easily outweighed the negatives for me. Most importantly, I had a good time reading this! This was a lighthearted fantasy romance with a fun romance, likeable characters, and great chronic illness rep!


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  1. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    This sounds like maybe the author tried to put too many elements in one story. I also have issues with stories where the world is confusing and doesn’t make sense. But it’s nice to see chronic illness represented!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Not necessarily too many, just that I couldn’t find any rhyme or reason to the world and what was in it. But I really liked the other things at least! It’s always great to see good chronic illness rep!

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    This sounds pretty dang good, Kristen. I know you had issues and I can understand them and would probably feel the same. But it’s great that you loved the characters so much and that the chronic illness element was, apparently, done so well that you could relate to Abbie. And the romance sounds perfect for the story. Great review! I’m so happy you found a SFF book with a character with a chronic illness!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was! I know you’re a romance person, you might enjoy this one! But yeah, I definitely was happy to find a book with good rep, and the romance was so cute. Thanks!

  3. Greg

    This sounds fun but I do have trouble sometimes when it’s unclear if the world is Earth or something else. I kinda hate that ambiguity sometimes. The realistic romance and awesome disability rep sound amazing though! Glad this was so good. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      At one point I thought maybe outside the Veil was Earth, like this was another plane, and that would explain why they had certain things, but that didn’t track either. Oh well, I still loved the other stuff at least, so that made it enjoyable!

  4. Angela

    This sounds so fun and cute and clever! I think the world-building sounds a bit odd, but I’m glad the characters were a hit for you!

  5. verushka

    I adore the sounds of Abbie, rough edges and all. She sounds strong too, and doesn’t take BS from anyone. I think good would have helped smooth over any issues from the bad, which I hear ya — that stuff would annoy me too.

  6. Laurie | Bark's Books

    I recently read a book about woman with two chronic illnesses – lupus and EDS – told the husband of a woman suffering from both. It was a devastatingly good story. I shared it with my sister who suffers from EDS.

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    The cover alone had me interested in the book because it’s such a cool cover, but The Ex-Princess actually sounds enjoyable too. It does sound like there are flaws (don’t overthink the not earth magic realm this exists in) but it sounds like far more was done right than wrong and some of the flaws sound like they aren’t book breaking. The great part is this book is on Kindle Unlimited as well so I’m totally checking this out. I love that there’s good disability rep you can relate to and I like the sound of these characters.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like you’d really like this one! There was definitely more done right. And ooh yay, that’s great that you can read it on KU! I look forward to your thoughts!

  8. Eline

    I want this. It’s a bummer that the world building isn’t a bit better, but I can’t pass on a sweet romantic fantasy with chronic illness rep. Thank you for telling us about this book 🙂

  9. Olivia Roach

    This is one I have been hearing a lot of positive things about and I want to read it, so I was so happy to see your review of this one! It sounds like the world building could’ve used a bit of tightening up, which is a shame :/ But yay for the romance being so good and being able to like the male and female lead characters a lot. Whoop for good diversity and chronic illness rep! I haven’t read many (if any) books about characters with chronic illnesses so I might read this one for that if for nothing else.

  10. Lola

    This sounds like a fun read with how it’s lighthearted and has royals and romance, but also touches upon chronic illness. Sounds like the world building could’ve been a bit clearer so you would have had a good image of what this world has and doesn’t. It sounds a bit confusing indeed when you explain it like that. I like to have a good image of the world.

    The romance sounds really well done with how natural and realistic it feels. And that’s great it captures that beginning staged of relationship type of feelings well. I usually like those imperfect moments on a romance, it make sit more realistic and not as smooth. Abbie and Edward both sound like fun characters to read about. That’s great the chronic illness rep was so well done with how it impacts her life and also shows how she was treated because of it. Great review!