Deception's Princess (Princesses of Myth Series) by Esther Friesner
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 circleit'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 closebut 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.
Nebula Award winner ESTHER FRIESNER is the author of over 40 novels and 150 short stories. Educated at Vassar College and Yale University, where she taught for a number of years, she is also a poet, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies. Her Princesses of Myth books include Nobody's Princess, Nobody's Prize, Sphinx's Princess, Sphinx's Queen, Spirit's Princess, Spirit's Chosen, and Deception's Princess.
Esther is married and a mother of two, harbors cats, and lives in Connecticut. Visit her at sff.net/people/e.friesner and learn more about her Princesses of Myth books at princessesofmyth.com.
Deception's Princess 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***
Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner
Book One of the Deception's Princess series
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Public library
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
First thing's first: I have not seen Brave. So if I'm supposed to expect Brave to be like this book or this book to be like Brave... well, I wouldn't know. I'm not entirely interested in seeing Brave. I did see Frozen though, and liked it. Anyway.
In this novel, Maeve must discover herself and worth, as she is not just a youngest daughter, the apple of the High King's eye, the heir of sorts. She doesn't just want to be won, or bought, or claimed. She wants to discover her own destiny, on her own terms. But she finds that even her beloved father doesn't hold her opinions in as high a regard as she thought...
I think I liked this book, but probably not enough to want to read the next book. The story/plotline wasn't that interesting, in my opinion, so it took some effort for me to finish this book. There was the plot involving Maeve finding herself, Maeve's relationship with Odran, Maeve's future... I honestly didn't care much.
I liked the creation and crafting of Maeve's character - I could see her growth from a naive child to a strong young lady. I also think she could have had some more backbone, but I suppose because it's "historical-fiction"-ish, she needed to be in character with the times.
I kept reading this book, because I wanted to know what would happen, with Maeve's mother, the romance, the druids... but honestly, I didn't really care that much. Read on!
What I Did Not Like:
Meh. That's the general feeling I got from this one. I heard a lot of people were excited about this one because it's like the movie Brave, or something like that, but I could care less. Still, it's fantasy, so I was like, why not give it a shot?
I didn't really care about Maeve. I didn't care about her trying to hold her father's approval, so live for her kingdom, to help her parents, blah blah blah. She wants to follow her heart, but she doesn't. We get it. I was a little sick of her fickle nature, honestly.
The romance was soooo poor. I thought Odran was a bit of a wimp, and who likes wimpy guys? Not me, anyway. I'm definitely an alpha-male-loving female... but I don't mind your average Joe. But wimps? Nahhh. No, thank you. I'm not saying Odran needed to be a warrior, or a brooding druid, or mysterious, or whatever. But... he gave off an almost feminine touch, which didn't appeal to me.
Anyway. The romance. Ew. It was there but it wasn't. You can just TELL from the beginning that Odran and Maeve won't have a happy ending... and I won't spoil anything specific, but let's just say that the romance doesn't end nicely in a neat package. I didn't like the romance, anyway.
I didn't care for the plot involving the animals - in which Odran and Maeve took care of wild animals. Cool, bonding time, but it was so boring. The plot with Maeve's mother, and her condition - boring. I don't care. Honestly, I think parents that have kids at an old age, especially when they have grown twenty-something-year-old children, are selfish and stupid. Especially in this implied time period! Talk about difficult labor.
Maeve is such a daddy's girl... and she never sees that her father treats her like property, just like each of her siblings were treated. I'm sorry, but the entire book deals with this disgusting attitude, and I wasn't having it. I GET IT - in "historical times", sexism was totally a thing. But I didn't like Friesner's portrayal of it. Whether it occurred like that or not, meh.
Would I Recommend It:
Nahhhh, keep leaving your life and read something else. I don't think this author's books are for me.
2 stars. It was a good attempt! And hey, it's a library book - I'm supporting my public library system, yo!
More than 1 year ago
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. (Ellen Fritz)
More than 1 year ago
I like how the story starts with a younger Maeve and follows her as she grows and learns from her experiences. It's been a while since I read a book does this. Initially, time moves at a more rapid pace, as the focus of the story is on an older Maeve, but it didn't feel rushed at all. And looking back on the story as a whole, I can say that the parts of Maeve's childhood that we learn about are important to understanding what happens in the present.
In some ways, Maeve reminded me of Aileana from Elizabeth May's The Falconer. Both are high-born women who are braver than their stations allow them to express and must present a false front to society. Both turn away unwanted advances by men interested in their dowries. And both know that their fathers expect them to fulfill their duty through marriage. I was afraid that Maeve would allow her emotions to rule her like Aileana does, but Maeve has a cooler head on her shoulders and is better able to follow societal conventions. As she notes, when she cannot use a son's weapons, she uses a daughter's wits to fight.
I love how the family plays an important role in the story. Maeve obviously gets along well with her mother, and her father maintains a strong presence in her life. In fact, I'd opt to say that Maeve's family is more involved in her life than Odran, her friend and romantic interest, and equally influential in shaping the young woman she becomes. It's interesting to watch how her relationship with her family and others around her changes over time as she matures into a young woman determined to forge a future for herself. The most beautiful and poignant scenes, however, definitely go to Odran (with her friend Kelan coming in a close second). There is so much complexity to the young lovers' relationship because of who they are and what their fathers expect of them. I don't want to go into too many details for fear of spoilers, but know that there was much smiling, giggling, and near-bawling on my part.
The writing is beautiful and filled with vivid descriptions that bring the story to life. It isn't over elaborate or embellished. Rather, the key is in the carefully chosen details that Friesner gives us to portray a clear picture of characters, events, and the passage of time. These weave together amidst wonderful dialogue that give the characters life and personality, at the same time showing their relationships with one another. Select details further bring the culture to life through the peoples' customs and superstitions.
In a book with so many beautifully crafted elements, what really stands out to me is the emotions this book made me feel. While good books make me feel for the characters, the great ones make me feel things myself. Alternately, it made me laugh and smile, rage with barely contained anger, and cry tears of despair. It made me wonder if there was any hope at all for Maeve's happiness. There is so much complexity in Maeve's life, and I admire how she burns brightly with hope in the midst of all this darkness.
While Deception's Princess has historical roots with Maeve being an Irish princess, it also has an appeal for fantasy readers, and I would recommend this to readers of both genres with enjoy a book with a strong female protagonist. This has been one of my favorite reads of the year. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next installment in Maeve's adventures!
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