Genre: Fantasy, YA Publication Date: April 22, 2014 Pages: 336 Published By: Random House Books for Young Readers Website Deception's Princess on Goodreads Esther Friesner Website My review copy: Provided by publisher in turn for an honest review
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Some lies lead to true adventure. . . .
Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle--it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.
Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close--but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.(Goodreads)
Whenever I felt men's eyes on me, I met their stares with the full force of my gaze. It was impossible to mistake it for flirtation. When I did it, I stepped into the feathered skin of the kestrel, small but bold, and looked at them as if they were my lawful prey, free to live or doomed to die by my decision.
I remained on the bench where Father had left me, forgotten, dismissed, and made invisible by the power of two men talking. And so I learned that it doesn't require the spells of the Fair Folk to make a girl vanish.
Hear yourself! I thought. You're seeing deception where there might be done. You'll know soon enough if he's playing with you. Give him a chance.
I am glad that this series of books is more of a duology for each girl. I was really attracted to the synopsis of this book, but was concerned that I might be missing out by not having read the other books. However, to my relief the books take place in different places and different times. This was also a shock to me because I loved Friesner’s writing and couldn't believe that I had not picked up anything of hers prior to now. She spins a captivating tale with a heroine that you can really connect with, and is vibrant.
This is not a book that takes its precious time setting everything up. No, it jumps right into the real story. This is not saying that the characters and the world wasn't well done, because it was. The thing is that you kind of get to watch it grow, you get to start out with Maeve young and her world before it changed. She may have always been a princess, but she is a princess with a spirit and a mind of her own. I loved watching her grow and figure out how to do as she wished, while still pleasing those around her. This also ensured that the pacing keep up at a steady rate, as you watched the progression of both Maeve and the world around her.
There is no way anyone could dispute Maeve’s strength. At times she may have acted before thinking things through, but I believe part of that was her position in life and the fact that she was the youngest of six daughters. Most youngest children seek the attention, and being the youngest of six Maeve has a lot she feels she needs to prove that she has the strength that none of them seem willing to recognize. She is wild, strong and free spirited. This is not the expectations when it comes to Princess' but Maeve is nothing like what is expected. I loved and admired that she stood up for what she wanted and was willing to problem solve for herself. This means she did it in such a way that it was proper and acceptable for royalty, and yet it served her purposes. Honestly, there is nothing I could complain about when it came to her. She wasn't perfect but she was an extremely well built and well rounded character. She is the girl you may not be able to relate to but you still want to know more about her.
What was sweet about this book was that the romance was more of a friendship that developed between Maeve and Odran. Well, that is what it was to start. There was no rush for the two to fall in love, and they still may not be. However, by the end there was a recognition that there was attraction and neither one wanted to lose the other. Like Maeve, Odran was well developed, but maybe just not to the same extent. I did like him but found him to be a little submissive for my liking. He is not the guy you swoon over, he is the guy that you place permanently in the friend zone because he is sweet and not quite the one that you want to chase. The reason I believe these two worked so well is because they did start off as friends, and no expectations was not something that the young princess was used to.
I feel that after reading this book that I have not give enough credit to this author. I have overlooked her previous works but will never do so again. This book was well written, imaginative and structured in such a way that I did not want to put it down. If Deception's Pawn is as good as this book, I will undoubtedly be trying to get my hands on the authors previous works. This is the perfect read if you are looking for something that has a little bit of magic and a well built world, that holds wonderfully designed characters. Don't hesitate to pick this up, you wont regret the time you spend living amongst these pages.