Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: DECEPTION’S PRINCESS by Esther Friesner




Title: Deception’s Princess
Series: Princesses of Myth
Author: Esther Friesner
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 5/5

SUMMARY

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.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo.




REVIEW

Set in first-century Ireland, Deception’s Princess is an enchanting tale of courage, intrigue and love. Maeve, princess of Connacht, became a local legend when she cleverly outwitted her father's fiercest bull at the age of five. Her father's favorite daughter, this feisty princess strives to help her father in his position as high king. Unfortunately, her efforts are thwarted time and again by those who think they know better.

This captivating book paints a vivid and enthralling picture of life in first-century Ireland. At a time when princesses were only deemed good for making marriages that would benefit the kingdom; clever, spirited Maeve wants to help her father hold the reins of kingship.

Brave and intelligent, yet vulnerable enough to be utterly realistic, Maeve is the kind of main character that I love to meet in a story. The very fact that she makes mistakes, misjudges situations, and is a victim of court intrigue, changes her from a mere character in a book to a person one can relate to. When adversity strikes and Maeve feels deceived and betrayed, she doesn't balk in a corner. Rather, she makes a new and better plan, always keeping the safety of her father's kingdom as well as the welfare of her family as her priorities. Even when love seems to be coming her way, she is willing to sacrifice it for king and family.

At times, animal-loving young druid, Odran, came across as a weak-ish character. Take into account, however, that crossing his father, master Íobar, could bring down evil curses, and I'm thinking: maybe the lad is simply being cautious. It is, in fact, amazing how much power those druids had over someone as powerful as the high king and his family.
 
From an adventure with a bull, to tending sick wild animals, and imitating a bean sidhe to lure the enemy away, the tale of Maeve, Odran, and life at the Connacht court is thrilling, enthralling and often sad. I highly recommend Deception’s Princess as a must-read to readers of all ages.







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ABOUT the AUTHOR


Esther M. Friesner was educated at Vassar College, where she completed B.A's in both Spanish and Drama. She went to on to Yale University; within five years she was awarded an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish. She taught Spanish at Yale for a number of years before going on to become a full-time author of fantasy and science fiction. She has published twenty-seven novels so far; her most recent titles include Temping Fate from Penguin-Puffin and Nobody's Princess from Random House.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, two rambunctious cats, and a fluctuating population of hamsters.



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