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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Breaking Dawn: A Review of Leigh Walker's The Finale

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

We’ve suffered through The Pageant. We begrudgingly attended The Gala. And now, we’ve made it to The Finale.

Book cover for The Finale by Leigh Walker.

That’s right folks, we are at the end of our three-part mini series. We end our journey into Leigh Walker’s Vampire Royals series with book number three: The Finale.

Ava Davis putting a tiara on.
I hope you all have your tiaras on, darlings!

When we left off, Prince Dallas had asked Gwyn, Tamara, Blake, and Shaye to remain in the competition as the final four competitors of the Pageant. The good news is that our cycle of Gwyn and Dallas fighting and making up is over!

Standing ovation.
If you listen closely, you can hear a Hallelujah chorus in the distance.

The bad news is that no one gets any true character development; what else is new. So let’s talk about that.

I’m only going to focus on Gwyn once again. Let’s be real, Gwyn is the only character in these past three books. Dallas has been the charming, charismatic, kind prince for the entirety that readers have known him. All the supporting characters were static, stock characters who offered nothing to the plot. Gwyn at least has some personality even if she’s just a whiny and selfish young woman. Throughout the first two books, Gwyn has only cared about getting to eat delicious food and getting her way whether she admits to that last point or not.

Veruca Salt
In my mind, Gwyn is Veruca Salt.

Gwyn feels the need to see Dallas at least once a day. While she claims to understand that he needs to spend time with the other women for the sake of the competition, she needs to interfere with the dates, or Dallas’ day in general. She’s just soooooo in love with him that he needs to spend every waking hour with him. Outside of one notable time in The Pageant, she doesn’t do anything to give the royals advice on what they can do to better the nation. She doesn’t inform them of what life outside the palace is like. She knows the struggles people have gone through, yet she does nothing to help the public.

Miss Piggy banging head on table.
Why do people like her!

When her sister was sick in The Gala, it was Dallas who sent medicine. And now in The Finale, he’s the one who has set up a community hospital and education center in settlement four. He does so in Gwyn’s name, and it’s supposed to be this grand, romantic gesture, but she hasn’t done anything to truly spur him to do so. All she’s done is stand around and look pretty while he does all the work. She didn’t bring up the lack of medicine and healthcare in the settlements; she waited for the issue to directly affect her and had Dallas fix said problem so she wouldn’t be upset anymore.

By the end of The Finale, Gwyn is supposed to be “The People’s Princess” as she’s brought betterment to the settlements. That is a massive lie! She hasn’t done shit. Dallas is the one to implement all the changes. It should also be noted that all these changes only happen in Gwyn’s hometown because Dallas is desperately in love with her and would do anything for her; he doesn’t care about anyone in the rest of the settlements apparently. Yet everyone in every settlement are in love with the idea of Gwyn and Dallas as a couple. It’s said that they basically have a one hundred percent approval rating.

John Travolta being confused in front of a green screen.
How?! What!? Why!?!?

What is this insanity?! I can understand Dallas having a high approval rating, he at least has done some good things for the population, but why Gwyn? She has done nothing but been a pain in the ass this entire series. She’s done nothing to prove she’d be a good ruler so why is she so popular? Anything that would make her approval rating increase is done by Dallas or at his persuasion.

I made it through three books with an insufferable main character just for her to coast through life. She went from being a poor little rich girl to a poor little royal girl.

Fat Amy yelling "Enough."
I'm so done with this. I think this series broke me.

Oh yeah, I guess a spoiler alert is in order. Although, is it any shock that she ends up winning the Pageant? She’s been the only viable option for Dallas since the beginning. I’m just glad I don’t have to read any more books from Gwyn’s POV.

Gwyn was always the worst part of the Vampire Royals series. I never cared for her and what she would do because I always knew she would be saved by Dallas. She’s one of the most static characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about.

There is some improvement between books two and three; although it certainly isn’t because of our main character. Where time was a massive illusion during The Gala, there is actual pacing and time in The Finale. Walker makes the events of book three happen over the course of a single week, and I know when every event takes place. Time finally has some meaning!

Standing ovation.
A standing ovation for some okay pacing please!

That’s great. I love it. Pacing can make or break a book and it made this one. I do have to say, book three is the best of the three books I’ve read in this series. I don’t have any immediate plans to return to the Vampire Royals series any time soon, but I can say book three is the best out of the first three.

That’s still not saying much as there is still a lot wrong with this one. Firstly, werewolves and gnomes, which were mentioned in book two, are never brought up in The Finale. I still have so many questions on these other races. Do they actually exist? Did Walker throw them in just because she could? Do they serve any purpose to the plot?

By the end of The Finale, they do not. From what I have learned about this series, werewolves do indeed come into the plot in future installments, but they sure as hell aren’t in the first three books. I’m kinda glad they didn’t make an appearance because I cringe thinking about how Walker would not flesh them out. Vampires still aren’t fleshed out by the end of this book so I can only expect the same from werewolves. Same goes for the gnomes should they actually exist. Don’t know why Walker brought them up in the first place but I am very glad they didn’t appear.

Speaking of not appearing, the rebels didn’t appear at all in this one. Balkyn is the only rebel to make an appearance and that’s solely because he’s a prisoner in the castle dungeons.

Balkyn is a highlight in this book. He has a good character arc compared to the other characters. He’s very anti-vampire, and therefore anti his sister given her relationship with the prince, but over the course of the book he overcomes his distrust towards his sister and the pair can begin rebuilding their sibling bond. Unlike Eve, his feelings towards vampires don’t change overnight; he actually struggles with his thoughts and feelings for the vast majority of the book. It’s actually refreshing to see someone struggling with something in this series. His problems aren’t going away overnight which is great.

Standing ovation.
Another standing ovation because a character did something!

Alas, Balkyn is the only rebel with anything to do with the plot. The actual rebel group? I don’t know them. I don’t know what they want outside of taking the royal family out of power. I don’t know what their plans are when it comes to taking control of the country or how they plan to overthrow the government. I have no idea what type of government they wish to instate in the future. They just exist. They’ve always just existed in this universe.

Are they a threat? Maybe. Do I know that for certain? No, absolutely not. Will we ever find out? Who knows. They exist so that must be good enough for Walker.

I still have so many questions about this world though. I still want more backstory as to how the royal family came to power. I think the Settlements were at war with someone, other than the vampires, prior to the royal family taking control of the land. At some point the war turns to being between the vampires and humans over the land…I think. Somehow the vampires take over and they rule the United Settlements. That’s all I know about this world’s history. Again, it’s been three books and I know nothing.

Elmo shrugging.
I wish I knew literally anything when it came to this series; sadly I do not.

Another massive issue with this series is the abject poverty the Settlements are in. No one really has any money for medicine, food, and shelter. Everyone is struggling in some way or another. Yet when Dallas falls in love with Gwyn he’s able to begin a state of the art health clinic and education center in the middle of Settlement 4. Where does this money come from?

The royal family clearly had no interest in taking care of the public as they were basically letting everyone starve, but they have to be extremely wealthy to begin this health clinic. Since the general public lives in poverty, the royals can’t be gaining that much money from their people. They also don’t seem to have any allies in other countries to the best of my knowledge. So where are they getting their money?!

How is it possible that Dallas has millions of dollars to begin a state of the art health center and education center in Settlement 4? He doesn’t bat an eye when he does it, and he acts like it was nothing. Where does this money come from, and how were you able to accomplish these feats in what feels like a week? He also wants to build one of these centers in each of the other 24 settlements. Where does this money come from! The points about this world's finances don't correlate in the slightest.

This book makes no sense! This universe makes no sense! So many things don’t correlate in this series! No offense, but how are there nearly a dozen books in this series? I just have so many questions.

Wendy Williams saying, "you're exhausting me."
Me at Walker...again:

There is one very sweet moment in The Finale though; like I said, this one wasn’t all bad. Walker does introduce Gwyn’s father. Sadly, I was wrong and he wasn’t turned into a vampire. I’m pretty sure none of my predictions turned out to be correct, but readers still get to meet Gwyn’s father.

As I stated in last week’s post, Gwyn’s father is gravely ill. Balkyn and the rest of the rebels don’t have the means to care for him any longer so the father is sent to the palace. It’s there that Gwyn sees him for the first time in many years.

It’s a very sweet, very heartwarming moment as the pair have been separated for quite a few years. The father’s first thought isn’t “holy shit, I’m surrounded by vampires,” instead he’s just elated to see his daughter again. He doesn’t care that she’s in love with a vampire. He’s not upset that he’s in the palace. He just wants to see his daughter again.

Lead from Gossip Girl giving a smile.
It's a much cuter moment than any scene between Dallas and Gwyn.

I imagine that should he have been introduced earlier in the book, his thoughts about the vampires would have turned as quickly as Eve’s did. I imagine that he would realize that vampires are people too and they have emotions, wants, thoughts, and a driving force just like humans do. Thankfully, the pair’s reunion comes at the end of The Finale so we don’t have to deal with that issue again.

Eureka on RuPaul's Drag Race saying "thank god."
Race is an issue I never want Leigh Walker to talk about.

Once again I do have to say, the racial aspect of these books could be the greatest part of this series had it been treated well. Instead this aspect gets treated as throwaway lines peppered throughout the books. There is no nuance, no care, or thought when it comes to the issue of race.

At this time, I have no predictions as to what will come next with the Vampire Royals series. I have no more Vampire Royals books to read at this time. This three-part series sadly must come to a close.

Next week we will not be talking about royalty or vampires. Instead we’ll be talking about a new supernatural mystery. Until then, take care all!

Bye, all!

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